Burbank schools approve budget

Burbank school officials on Thursday approved a new budget amid and are optimistic about an uptick in revenue and a decrease in deficit spending through 2016.

The school district for years has been spending more than it has received, despite instituting furlough days, pay cuts and staff reductions. It has also borrowed close to $13 million to pay employees when the state failed to pony up on time.

Burbank Unified’s General Fund will see an estimated $3.8 million more in state funding next year, which means a total of six furlough days for the next school year could be restored, allowing teachers to earn pay for four days they would have otherwise had to go without.

For classified non-teaching staff, the influx will allow for two additional paid days, according to the district.

Employees in management positions who took a 2.5% salary cut will see that pay restored.

The district still expects to endure a more than $2.1 million loss in 2014, but the district will see less deficit spending over the next two years, said Christine Statton, assistant principal of administrative services.

“We definitely know the direction we’re going in, and at some point the ship will turn, and we won’t have a structural deficit anymore,” she said.

She also estimates Burbank Unified will receive more than $6,000 per student it serves in the 15,000-student district, compared to about $5,200 it had been getting.

“This is one of the first times I think we’re actually going to start seeing an uptick in funds as opposed to a reduction in funds on an annual basis,” school board member Larry Applebaum said.

Even so, the budget is still “subject to interpretation” until the state finalizes its spending plan.

“The devil’s in the details and the details change depending who you talk to about it,” Applebaum said.

Next year’s budget also assumes that close to $7 million in Measure S funds will be spent on updating facilities.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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