Burbank Board Of Education Selects Burbank YMCA As New Operator Of Horace Mann Child Care Center

Horace Mann Child Care Center. (Photo By Ross A. Benson)

The Burbank Board of Education selected the Burbank YMCA as the new operator of the Horace Mann Child Care Center in a unanimous vote 5-0 on Thursday, April 15. The Burbank YMCA will take over operations as of July 1, 2021.

“For several years, there has been a conversation about whether the District should continue to run the Horace Mann Child Care Center,” explained Burbank Unified School District Director of Elementary Education Peter Knapik. “The Child Care Center is located at 3401 Scott Road within the Burbank Unified School District boundaries. The Child Care Center is a State of California licensed child care facility.”

“The typical enrollment is about 110 – 120 children; however, during the 2020-2021 school year enrollment is at approximately 40 students. In 2019-2020, the infant room ages three months to one year of age was closed.”

“Over the past three years, weekly fees were increased to reflect market rates. Rates had not been increased for more than seven years. District employees receive a reduced rate at the Center,” Knapik continued. “The Center has annually run a deficit that has been offset by District funds.”

“The District has an interest in finding a new operator for the Horace Mann Child Care Center,” he added. “A Request for Proposal (RFP) process ensued on February 1, 2021, with the RFP being posted on the District’s website and then mailed to child care centers within Burbank.”

The RFP operator bids required several conditions. The operator must be eligible and submit for State licensing and could offer child care for children ages three months to five years. Burbank Unified School District would not provide any financial support, as the submitting organization must be self-supporting.

Burbank Unified would provide the facility consisting of a school office, health office, staff lounge, supply room, up to eight classrooms including an infant room, an auditorium, a playground, a boys and girls restroom and an adult restroom. The Center has its own entrance and parking lot available for use.

Current Center staff would be offered the opportunity to be hired by the outsourcing organization, with salary and benefits to be determined by the selected organization, which must follow State law regarding payroll.

The child care program must operate from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday and current instructional materials would be maintained at Horace Mann Child Care Center, Knapik continued. The selected organization would provide professional development for staff and if allowed, the selected organization could possibly continue to work with Child 360 for staff support.

“Two proposals were subsequently submitted,” he told the Board. “An RFP review team evaluated the submitted proposals, held a meeting to review ratings, and then made a recommendation to the Superintendent.”

Earlier in the April 15 Board of Education meeting, Sarah Niemann, BUSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Services, detailed the elimination of Certificated and Classified positions for Board approval, related to the anticipated change to the Burbank YMCA as operator of Horace Mann Child Care Center.

One Supervisor and seven Teacher positions, along with 26 Instructional Assistants, one School Office Manager and two Typist Clerk positions were approved for elimination by the Board.

“We’re going to be working with the Horace Mann employees… to look at all of their options, whether or not they want to stay with Burbank Unified or whether or not they want to accept the position at YMCA,” Niemann told the Board. “Depending on the number of employees who want to stay with BUSD we may have to bump or possibly lay people off.”

“When you transition a program or a school it’s a lot of work and there’s people who have worked for us for a long time so we want to do this process as smoothly as possible and be as helpful as possible.”

“Horace Mann employees are guaranteed a job with the YMCA,” she also said.

“These are the worst votes,” commented Board Clerk Steve Ferguson. “For a few years now we have really worked to try and find a solution that got us to a better location than this. I am very grateful for the YMCA to stand up and make sure people have jobs right now. It is heartbreaking.”

“So much of the case in public education anymore is sacrificing today so you can survive tomorrow,” he added. “To all those whose lives are affected by this decision I can’t apologize enough. I wouldn’t be taking that vote… if we didn’t have any other choice.”

“The Burbank YMCA has always been a quality child care provider within the City of Burbank,” Ferguson also said. “I’m proud of the work overall but I realize how heavy this decision is for many.”

A Memo Of Understanding (MOU) detailing the financial details and fiscal agreement, including custodial services and required quarterly reports to the Board, will be presented to the Board for approval on May 6.

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