GUSD, homeowners meet

The Glendale Unified School District played host to the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council on Monday night.

The council is comprised of 19 different homeowners associations throughout Glendale. School Board President Greg Krikorian initiated the meeting to share some of the successes and the challenges of the GUSD.

“One of our board initiatives is to open more lines of communication with the community and what better [organization] than the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council,” Krekorian said.

He added that the success of the school district directly affects real estate values. The council's first vice president Robert Getts agreed.

“The educational system is a very important factor to all homeowners throughout the city,” Getts said. “The stronger the school district is the better it is for all property owners and homeowners. And there are some areas that are in high demand because of the school district.”

Strong schools are the one constant in a home's value, Krekorian said. But keeping those schools strong and the district on its high achieving path has become more difficult throughout the years, especially this year with an expected state deficit of $18 billion.

“The most challenging thing we face in our state is the fact that California ranks 44 out of 50 states in funding for public education,” Krekorian said. “We get nearly $2,000 less a child in this state than the national average. We get about $5,800 per child. In Connecticut, where I'm from, they get $10,600 per child.”

He added that because of budget cuts this year the district is expected to only receive $5,500 per child.

Superintendent Michael Escalante and board member Mary Boger in a power point presentation that highlighted the schools achievements joined Krekorian.

The presentation showed examples of how the district has increased their test scores while fighting the ongoing declining enrollment.

Boger said that the budget cuts proposed would cut 10% off across the board.

“You don't do that to public education,” she said. “If I am having budget problems I don't say I will buy 10 % more clothes or cut back on my vacation by 10%. I just don't buy clothes or take a vacation. I am under the opinion that there are less important areas in the state budget that can be cut more than public education,” Boger said.

Krikorian said the district has been fiscally conservative in the past, which is helping them face this new storm of economic crisis.

“We are OK for a couple of years but any more than that and we will really be in trouble,” he said.

He added that now, more than ever, the district needs support from the community and city officials. He shared a few things that other cities do to help their districts like cutting utility costs and joint use projects. “We have to consolidate our resources,” he said.

At the end of the meeting, members of the homeowner's council asked what they could do to help the district.

Boger and Krikorian both urged residents to write letters.

“The budget isn't set in stone yet. Write your legislation, senators, the governor. Let them know that this budget is not good,” Boger said.

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