Burbank Unified awaits final impact of state budget outlook

Local school officials are still uncertain about how the state budget — and rosier financial forecasts — will impact Burbank Unified next year.

A new funding formula proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown could bring a 5% — or $2.7 billion — increase in state funding next year, representing the first increase to education funding in five years. Of that funding chunk, $400 million would support energy efficiency projects across California.

Additional funds would keep kindergarten through third-grade classes at a 24-student minimum average.

“We all feel like recovery’s starting now,” said Christine Statton, assistant superintendent of administrative services, at a recent school board meeting.

But Statton remains skeptical of the local impact since funding for schools would remain at 10% less than what the schools received in 2007-08.

“It’s unlikely that everyone’s expectations will be met,” Statton said.

Under the new proposal, base funding for each district depends on the number of English language learners, foster children and students who receive free or reduced-fee lunches.

Some districts could earn 35% more per student in those groups.

But in Burbank Unified, where 35% of students receive free or reduced-fee lunches, additional funds may not be allotted to the district because the student group doesn’t comprise more than half of the total population.

“It actually sounds good until you start diving into the blades of grass,” said school board President Larry Applebaum. “It really irritates me that there’s no conversation about making districts whole for years and years and years of not having money.”

Burbank Unified currently received $2.1 million for its Burbank Adult School, but the new proposal would shift the responsibility of adult schools to the community college system.

Core classes, such as English as a second language, citizenship and vocational education would remain free of charge for students, Statton said, but overall details on the shift are still vague.

Within the next two weeks, Statton said Burbank Unified would acquire more information on the budget from state officials, but it’s likely the district won’t piece its own budget together until May.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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