Bragg was raised in Eagle Rock and moved to Burbank in 1998 when he married his wife, Holly Roy, a Burbank native. He is the father of three children, who attend Burbank schools. Bragg has been involved in numerous service organizations and groups, including the parent teachers association, SELPA, Parks and Recreation, AYSO and the Burbank Traffic Commission.
Bragg ran unsuccessfully for Burbank Unified school board in 2009.
Why are you running for school board?
I am running for a seat on the Board of Education for many reasons. As the only candidate with children currently attending Burbank schools, I have a vested interest in district direction and success. As a parent, I have watched as our district has stumbled without a clear direction and plan. We should be concentrating on the future of this district, not reflecting on how great things once were. The incumbents do not have a plan for the future, and I do.
What is the district doing well?
There are many great things about Burbank Unified. We have a very loyal staff, parents and community at our core. This strength is exactly what will help lead us out of trouble. Test scores in our district have risen steadily over the years. These results speak directly to the strength of our teachers and staff. We are very fortunate to have a community that understands the importance of our schools being strong. Time and again the Burbank community has come to the aid of our district to support district programs.
What does the district need to improve upon?
We can and must do more to reach our parents. Parental involvement is the key to student success. As a PTA president and parent, I have seen firsthand the success stories resulting from involved parents, as well as the failures due to the lack of that same parental involvement. I believe that in many cases, increased parental involvement is as simple as education. We need to reach out to our parents, educate them on how they can help and hold them accountable for their student’s academic career.
As a member of the school board, I will hold regular town-hall-style meetings so that our parents, community organizations and public have an opportunity to communicate in an informal setting with our board and senior administration.
Like many districts, Burbank Unified is falling behind in the technology arena. This district and board has failed to modernize our tech infrastructure, and because of that we are way behind on all fronts. We still deploy the same basic teaching methods we have for the last 50 years. Everyday technological advances can and should be introduced to our classrooms. New technology introduced into the classroom will benefit our students and teachers, and linking that same technology to the home will allow our parents to be that much closer to student progress.
What solutions can you propose for the ongoing budget crisis?
The serious financial situation our district faces is real and very frightening. We all know that our schools are dependent on state funds, and that adequate funds are not there. If we continue to wait for the state to bail us out, we will fail.
We must search for corporate sponsorships to help backfill our financial shortfalls. Burbank Unified has not done enough to locate corporate sponsors outside of Burbank. Corporate America will invest in our children if we show them a need. The founder of Facebook just gifted $100 million to Newark schools. Money, services and volunteer hours are out there, and all we have to do is ask. If elected, I will work with my colleagues to convince them that this district needs a staff position with the sole responsibility of managing corporate dollars and donations.
This board likes to say that waste is under control, but the fact is, that is just not true. Site by site, there are still areas that are in need of control and increased compliance.
Finally, I will look at our district office staffing and costs. Where can we assign multiple duties? Where can we cut perks, cell phones and allowances? Is the superintendant’s office too large, and do they make too much money? How can we introduce merit pay to our executives in lieu of guaranteed pay?
If not elected, how will you continue to be involved in local schools?
My motivation to be involved in our schools does not end with a failed run for office. Our oldest child began in this district in 2003 and our youngest will graduate in about 2025 — I am not going anywhere!
I will continue in 2011-12 as president of the PTA at Washington Elementary and as a member of the John Muir Middle School association. My wife and I will continue to challenge our children and assist them with their academic careers, extracurricular activities and life skills. I will continue to be an advocate for all our students, including those with special needs through my involvement with SELPA. I will continue to identify those parents who struggle with the politics of our school system and help point them in the right direction. I will continue to reach children beyond my own through my involvement with recreational sports and coaching.
Name: Gregory Bragg
Occupation: General manager of network sales, Bexel Broadcast Services, 1995 to present.
Endorsements: Local Sierra Club chapter