Current school board member Roberta Grande Reynolds is a Burbank native, and a member of a three-generation Burbank family. As a child she attended Franklin Elementary, Luther Middle School and Burbank High School. Her two adult daughters also attended Burbank schools.
Reynolds has a degree in chemistry from Cal State Northridge, and a pharmacy degree from USC, and currently works as a pharmacist.
Reynolds was first elected to the board in 2007.
Why are you seeking reelection?
I have a passionate commitment for public education and for the community of Burbank. The quality of our schools is one of the reasons why people choose to live in Burbank.
Over the last 3 ½ years that I have served on the Board of Education, our schools have continuously improved as measured by our standardized test scores. In spite of the budget crisis, we have maintained our programs while keeping the district fiscally sound. I wish to continue to serve to provide the strong leadership that we have already demonstrated to bring our district through this crisis.
What is the district doing well?
As a district, we have maintained our commitment to arts education through maintaining the position of district arts coordinator and the elementary music program. While districts throughout California have been cutting arts programs, we have actually expanded our course offerings through our Community Partnerships, such as the partnership with Woodbury University, through which we can offer concurrent college credit to our high school students.
We have maintained or improved on student well-being by implementing an elementary PE program and by re-establishing the breakfast/nutrition program in all of our schools. Despite budget struggles and increased class size, we have improved Academic Performance Index scores and continued to have more students test at the proficient or advanced level each year.
What does the district need to improve upon?
We need to improve upon our use of data to help drive continued student achievement through collaborative professional learning communities. We need to improve our technology infrastructure and better integrate current instructional technology tools and programs into our classrooms.
We need to find ways to maximize our curriculum opportunities in the face of decreasing resources through increasing the offerings of online courses and through the use of computer driven differentiation of instructional strategies to individualize learning for all of our students.
Long-term planning is needed to anticipate future capital needs and the study we have begun of replacement costs of modernized infrastructure needs to be completed.
What solutions can you propose for the ongoing budget crisis?
Solutions for the budget crisis will need to be a combination of increasing our revenues and managing our operational expenses. Adequate, consistent and reliable funding needs to be provided by the state every year. Being underfunded by $70 million over the last four years has led the district to increase class size and reduce staff, none of which would have been needed if we had just received the funding Proposition 98 supposedly guarantees.
Moving forward, we need to keep the community engaged in our budgetary plight and consider all local possibilities to fund our priorities. Those possibilities include maintaining and strengthening myriad community business partnerships that provide generous donations and in-kind services for so many of our programs, while also working toward a bond extension to help keep our infrastructure in good repair and a parcel tax to create a dedicated funding stream to keep the programs up to our community values that are always at risk when the state cuts funding.
If you are not elected, how will you continue to be involved with local schools?
I have been involved in our local schools for almost two decades from the time my daughters were first enrolled in school. I have served as a volunteer and a leader in a variety of roles in parent volunteer and booster organizations, and I have supported our many community organizations that serve our students and their families.
I have advocated in Sacramento through those organizations on behalf of our schools. If and when I am no longer serving as a trustee on the Board of Education, I will continue to fight for public education and to volunteer in our community organizations, just as I have been doing for more than a decade.
Name: Roberta Grande Reynolds
Endorsements: Did not solicit endorsements.