Burbank Unified Superintendent’s Update Addresses Budget, Reopening Concerns

By On June 26, 2020

In his weekly Thursday evening email home to parents, caregivers and staff of the Burbank Unified School District, Superintendent Matt Hill noted some positive progress regarding the school budget for the 20-21 school year, as well as recent developments with the Reopening Committee regarding the upcoming school year.

Hill noted, in the email sent on Thursday, June 25, that while the proposed 10% cut the schools were initially facing from the State government has been taken off the table, BUSD still faces a lack of adequate funding. He encouraged continued advocacy with federal government representatives to “approve a stimulus package that focuses on safely reopening schools in August.”

Image Courtesy Burbank Unified School District

Additionally, the Reopening Committee has a survey, which the caregivers for every student are requested to fill out. The survey closes on Friday, June 26.

The survey is non-binding, meaning the committee seeks to gauge interest between the two models they are considering, but students are not locked in to choosing the specific educational model at this time. Once BUSD has clearer orders from county officials regarding safely opening, a different survey will be sent in mid-July for families to choose from the two models being considered.

Currently , the Reopening Committee is looking at offering 100% distance learning or a hybrid model for the 20-21 school year. The hybrid model would divide schools into two groups, each of which would attend either a morning or afternoon session at school from Monday through Thursday, with Fridays remaining a distance learning day for all.

There is a link in the email for a FAQ which addresses most of the parent and caregivers’ questions and concerns that BUSD has received.

From the Thursday, June 25, Superintendent’s Update:

Budget Update

Thank you for your advocacy! Governor Newsom and our legislature have reached a budget deal which they will finalize by June 30. What we know is that it prevents the drastic 10% in cuts facing our schools, but it is still lacking in adequate funding for schools. We must continue to advocate at the federal level for the Senate and the President to approve a stimulus package that focuses on safely reopening schools in August. The fight is not over yet. In the meantime, we are able to move forward cautiously within our budget and will not lay off individuals at this time. We will continue to freeze and review all vacant positions as well as non-labor expenses as we prepare for the challenging financial times ahead of us. We will also continue the conversation of increasing fees at Horace Mann and/or issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for another quality child care provider to take over some or all of the child care program in order to continue to provide child care at Horace Mann.

Reopening of School 2020-21

The Reopening Committee continues to collaborate and review feedback from parents and employees to develop the best instructional models for the Fall. We have created the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) https://www.burbankusd.org/reopeningfaqs based on your emails. This is a living document and will be updated based on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Orders for education, which are expected to be released soon. Please be advised that many of these items listed in the Frequently Asked Questions are subject to negotiations with the Burbank Teachers Association (BTA) and the California School Employees Association (CSEA).

One main question that we have been receiving at this time is:

Why is the Committee recommending the AM/PM model? There has been a great deal of discussion and the consensus for elementary and middle school is that there is a need to have regular (Monday-Thursday) instructional interactions for the students. This is especially true for students in special populations. Additionally, we are also trying to avoid having large numbers of students together at lunch, which could increase the risk of sickness for both students and staff. With regard to child care, the feedback is mixed. We have heard that some would prefer a more regular schedule instead of an alternating or a two-day schedule. There are no perfect schedules but we are trying to work together to create the safest and most optimum learning environment that we can in a timely manner. We know that employees want to know what to expect as do parents and students. We will continue to meet with our employees to determine what is the best model for this time. We realize that none of the hybrid models are ideal, but we are working to mitigate the issues.

Current information is available on this website https://www.burbankusd.org/Reopening. You may also email your comments to re-opening@burbankusd.org.

If you have not done so already, please complete the following survey by Friday, June 26 to help with our planning. This is a non-binding survey, we will send another survey in mid-July to select your school model for the fall once we have clearer Health Orders and more specifics about our instructional models.

Elementary Survey (English)

Secondary Survey (English)

By continuing to work together, we will build a stronger BUSD.