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Community forming a solid Foundation

Jackson Bell

Michael Hastings is one of those residents who want to help Burbank

schools cope with financial insecurity. Hastings, a former Burbank

mayor, is organizing a select group of parents, community members and


former students intent on seeing students and teachers prosper.

The group, which numbers about 40, recently attended the inaugural

meeting of the Burbank Priority in Education Foundation, an

organization created to raise additional funds and materials for


classrooms affected by state and local budget cuts.

“If we can help with providing resources for the schools, that

will help to free up more money for staff and maintenance at the

schools,” said Hastings, the foundation chairman.

Conceived nearly two months ago, a joint subcommittee of the City

Council and the board of education created the foundation, which

planned to hand it over to a diverse body of residents.

Foundation members range from those who belong to the Burbank


Parent-Teacher Assn. to businesspeople and even Burbank firefighters,

said school board member Ted Bunch, a subcommittee member.

A board of directors will be formed at the foundation’s next

meeting in either January or February, Hastings said.

In the meantime, the foundation is accepting ideas and donations,

Hastings said.

Travis Knowles, a 24-year-old foundation member, said one of the

ideas being considered by the group is to ask local retailers to


collect in-store donations for schools.

Knowles, a Burbank native and graduate of John Burroughs High

School, wants to eventually raise a family, which is why he became

involved in the organization.

“I know that if I wait [to get involved] until I have kids, the

schools won’t be at the level I want them to be,” he said. “I’m

starting now so they’ll be at that level when my kids are old


For more information on the foundation or to suggest ideas, e-mail

Hastings at