Over $13 million.
That is the amount of funding that has to be identified by the Burbank Unified School District for the upcoming school year’s budget to be reduced by June 18 for the 2020-21 school year.
Continued pension payments, rising costs, and the unexpected crisis caused by the pandemic with a possible cut in State funding have caused this upcoming deficit. The recent Measure I that was defeated was hoped to have saved many of these reductions to the budget.
During the virtual meeting held Tuesday night, each area of the budget was brought up with district staff trying to identify parts that may be cut back. In some instances, programs that had been implemented in the past five years would be cut or brought back to the level of five years ago.
While the cutting of some programs is on the table, one of the discussions was personal. The question is whether to let people go or keep them on board with lower hours. Many of these discussions would have to go through the unions before changes could be made.
One of the problems discussed with letting staff go is what would happen if State funding were to improve in a few months after canceling programs and letting people go. Would it even be possible to bring people back or would the workforce be scarce?
Many of the core budgets proposed sound dire. Elimination of the elementary school music programs, taking away physical education assistants for elementary teachers which means teachers would have to take on the added responsibility. These all must be decided upon in the next couple of weeks.
One of the subjects that came up was surplus properties. Two that were identified were a house by Burroughs High and a parking lot near the Police and Fire Headquarters. Board members were very reluctant to sell these properties because of the fact once they were gone, they would not be able to get them back. What the properties were worth was not know at the time.
Even attendance was brought up and one idea thrown out to the group would be to hold Saturday School for students who missed a day of the week. One aspect of school funding is what some have described as ‘butts in the seats’, which means the district receives funds for every student in attendance on any given day. By having students come back on Saturday if they missed a day, would have that funding restored. A larger question should be, why are districts not funded through district-wide enrollment instead of daily attendance?
While the status of Horace Mann was on the list, there was not much discussion about the child care facility except for many passionate emails read during oral communications.
“These are devastating”, said Dr. Matt Hill, Supertientient as he went item through item. He also said that anyone who has ideas is welcome to email him with suggestions or ideas. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next study session will be held on June 10 which will be roughly one week before final decisions have to be made. No decision has been made on any item yet so public input is important.
Every Board Member felt the weight and the gravity of the situation heavily.