Current school board member Dave Kemp has lived in Burbank since September 1966. He was employed by Burbank Unified for more than three decades, working as a teacher, coach and athletic director. Kemp served for years on the Burbank Teachers Assn. negotiations team, and was part of the committee that helped develop school-site councils in the mid-1990s.
Kemp was first elected to the school board in 2003, emerging from a field of 15 candidates. He was re-elected in 2007 after his seat went unchallenged.
Why are you seeking reelection?
The majority of my adult life has been in the service of Burbank Unified School District, having served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, mentor teacher and Board of Education member.
I wish to continue to serve the district and the community of Burbank. In these very uncertain economic times, I believe experienced leadership is important to the future of the district and the students we serve.
The academic gains over the past several years have been the result of hard work by teachers, administrators and board leadership. We are on the correct path, and I do want to be at the forefront of leading Burbank schools to even greater academic success.
There is much to be accomplished, including keeping up with the technology revolution in education, future modernization plans to ensure all schools are readied to become schools of the future, and providing for the needs of all children in achieving maximum academic, social and economic success in their lives.
In order to continue to provide the great education our students deserve, we must remain fiscally sound, while maintaining the very high quality of teachers and staff we currently have. My children received an excellent education in Burbank schools, and my grandchildren will too.
What is the district doing well?
Burbank Unified is providing a great education for our children, as evidenced by the significant rise in the Academic Performance Index score. Graduates from our high schools are attending the most prestigious universities in America. The dropout rate in Burbank Unified comprehensive schools is among the best in the state, as well as our student attendance rate of 97%.
The district offers a well rounded academic program, as well as being an “Arts for All District.” We offer extracurricular programs that meet the needs and interests of all students. Students learn in a safe and clean environment.
The district provides a wonderful elementary physical education program. Vocal music programs are among the very best in the United States. Students are taught by outstanding teachers and have outstanding administrators and support staff. Burbank Unified excels at providing the best for our students.
What does the district need to improve upon?
Perhaps the greatest area for improvement lies in the communication between employee groups and district administration. The nature of public education places the board and senior administration in a position to implement mandates from the state — Legislature, state Board of Education and governor — with little provision for collaboration with teachers and classified staff. Improvement in the [Academic Performance Index] is always a target, even for high-performing districts such as Burbank.
What solutions can you propose for the ongoing budget crisis?
The public education budget has been a target in the legislative quest to solve the fiscal crisis in California. We have a generous community that supports our schools in many ways, such as financial support of programs and volunteer efforts.
Public education is a state responsibility, and has been since the enactment of Proposition 13 more than 30 years ago. Local general obligation bond and parcel tax elections become the critical issue in funding for school building and modernization. These are options and may be considered, but at present, I am not in favor of either option.
Thus, while considering the fact that more than 85% of all district expenditures are for salary and benefits for employees, we must be prudent in negotiations to lessen the impact of budget cuts. We must continue to seek ways to curtail operating expenses for the physical facilities and grounds. We need to continue to seek funding sources for technology that reduces our long-term energy costs.
I will continue to explore options for solar energy for heating, use of reclaimed water and drought-resistant landscaping, as well as other energy- and cost-saving measures.
If you are not reelected, how will you continue to be involved in local schools?
Burbank is a great community. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of what makes this city what it is. In being selected by “America’s Promise Alliance” as being among one of the 100 best communities for young people, Burbank stands out. Burbank schools are a very important aspect of the selection.
As a “civilian,” I will continue to advocate for our young people and volunteer where needed and asked. I am vested in this community; I will always do as much as I can to keep Burbank as the best place to live, work, play and raise families.
Name: Dave Kemp
Occupation: retired Burbank Unified teacher, coach, athletic director
Endorsements: Did not solicit endorsements.