A three-hour, 17-minute Burbank Unified School District meeting at city hall was sometimes emotional and also instructive.
For instance, Caroline Solberg, the Grants and Giving Committee Chair of the Burbank Arts and Education Foundation (BAEF) presented a check for $100,000 to be used as needed.
Two days earlier, BUSD and the city council were supposed to meet to discuss issues that affect both and hammer out solutions, but Steve Ferguson, the BUSD President, said Justin Hess, the City Manager, would not give in to his wishes for the agenda item of inclusion, so he canceled the meeting.
It was recommended that longtime BUSD employee Sharon Cuseo, who will retire in December, have the Dolores Huerta Library named in her honor.
Cuseo’s hard work, dedication, and selflessness are hallmarks of her 34 years working for the BUSD.
One important item that was discussed is a piece of new legislation, SB 274, which no longer supports the suspension or expulsion of students due to tardiness or truancy.
Because of the new legislation, the BUSD school board asked for information regarding the composition of Burbank Unified Community Day School.
There are currently 25 students attending Community Day School and the goals district-wide for the 2022-2023 year include:
1) Having students who will be career or college-ready through high-quality instruction.
2) Students will be physically, emotionally and mentally healthy.
3) Recruit and retain highly qualified employees.
However, there is a chance that the school may be forced to close down.
“Closing a school is the most difficult thing,” Ferguson said. “The state law has changed. We want to make sure those kids are taken care of.”
Member Abby Pontzer Kamkar wasn’t pleased at the thought that the school could be shuttered.
“These are the most vulnerable students, and they need to receive what they need to be successful,” she said.
Dr. John Paramo, the BUSD superintendent, added his thoughts on the matter.
“These students don’t have Yearbook, sports, and other things that get them to go to school,” he said.
Member Charlene Tabet added her two cents. “Maybe Adult School could help these students,” she added.
Three high school representatives were present, and they included Andranik Bilbulyan from Burbank High, Paris Tesfu from Burroughs, and Isabella Najaryan from Monterey.
Bilbulyan is a key member of the Bulldogs’ boys’ water polo team that advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division II second round and is the ASB President.
Last month, October saw many college recruiters visit the campus and also spoke with students, hoping they would attend these colleges and universities.
Bilbulyan said the representatives from USC, where he plans to attend, were excellent and informative.
Bilbulyan also noted Burbank was highlighting Mental Health Week, which is vital considering the many challenges present in society today.
Tesfu noted that the stage play, Almost, Maine, will be performed this weekend and that winter sports like basketball are the current focus after the fall sports like football have concluded.
Najaryan spoke about Monterey shining a light on Native American Awareness.
Additionally, Najaryan said that Milo, a support dog, is there on campus and that he loves to be petted by the students, and that he’s there to make the students feel safe and secure.