Burbank school board race starts early

Though the nominating period has yet to begin, two people have pledged to run for a seat on the Burbank school board — with one already snagging endorsements from local elected officials.

Two seats on the Burbank Unified School Board will be up for grabs next April. One is held by President Larry Applebaum while the other is held by John Dilibert, appointed in August after former board member Debbie Kutka resigned to become interim treasurer for the city of Burbank.

Neither incumbent has filed the required election paperwork; the official nominating period does not open until Nov. 5. But Steve Ferguson and Armond Aghakhanian, both of whom applied for the seat now held by Dilibert, have declared their intent to run.

Aghakhanian is an adjunct professor at Woodbury University while Ferguson — who has gained the endorsements of board member Roberta Reynolds and City Councilman David Gordon — is a political strategist.

Dave Kemp, who has held a post on the board since 2003, cautioned any candidate against “making bold promises you can’t be deliberate on” in the face of the district’s fiscal crisis.

“I think it would very wise for them to gather information, but try to demonstrate an understanding of what we’re facing,” Kemp said. “The last few years, we had just absolutely been devastated by budget cuts.”

Ted Bunch, who has also had a seat on the school board since 2003, said he will endorse his colleague if Applebaum chooses to run for re-election.

“I don’t endorse anybody unless they’re incumbents.” Bunch said. “Since we already work with Mr. Applebaum, I will endorse him.”

With two positions open, Bunch hopes for a healthy candidate turn-out.

“When you have more people running, it’s much better for the process. You get better debates. I’ll be disappointed if there’s only three or four [candidates],” he said.

Last August, Ferguson narrowly lost a bid to fill the interim board position. Applebaum and Reynolds supported Ferguson while Kemp and Bunch preferred Dilibert. Applebaum, noting the stalemate, changed his vote to Dilibert.

Reynolds said she will remain in Ferguson’s corner as the election progresses.

“Mr. Ferguson has a different perspective than the other perspectives we have on the board,” Reynolds said. “We have parents covered, we have parent volunteers covered and educators covered at this time. He represents the voice of recent students. I find that to be very valuable.”

Bunch, Kemp and Reynolds will be up for re-election in 2015, although Bunch has said he will not run.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @kellymcorrigan.

Copyright © 2019, Burbank Leader
EDITION: California | U.S. & World