BUSD: There Could Be Budget Cuts For The 2023-2024 School Year

The slightly longer than two-hour meeting was wholly productive.

(Photo By Ross Benson)

In a rather short, two hour and three-minute Burbank Unified School District special meeting at the district office boardroom on Thursday night, an equally brief agenda was discussed.

There were new and unfinished business to attend to and included the approval of the first interim report for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

Andrew Cantwell, the assistant superintendent, said that there is a proposed $4.6 million budget cut.

The enacted 2023-2024 state budget included significant changes to how average daily attendance (ADA) is applied for funding purposes.

School districts are allowed to replace their 2023-2024 ADA with the product of the 2022-2023 attendance yield multiplied by the 2023-2024 enrollment.

In order to be eligible for this yield, districts were required to certify that it offered independent study programs to all pupils for the 2022-2023 school year.

BUSD qualified for this certification and will receive this one-time yield. Additionally, school districts will be funded on the greater of current year, prior year, or the average of the most recent three-year prior years’ ADA.

Like the state of California, BUSD is experiencing declining enrollment due to the effects of COVID-19 and is utilizing the average of the most recent three-year prior years for ADA projection.   

If the school budget is cut $4.6 million, it’s going to be detrimental, according to Dr. John Paramo, the superintendent.

“That’s going to hurt. It’s going to affect people,” he said and also noted that enrollment is down district wide. “We’re in a position where we might have to see what is cut and what we’re going to keep.”

With enrollment on the decline, Burbank Community Day School’s future is in peril, although it’s hoped that there will be close to 200 students.

“How do we keep this out of the classroom?” Paramo asked. “This is what makes this budget cut so hard. We can win the day, or we can succumb.”

The board also approved the memorandum of understanding with the BUSD and the Burbank Arts and Education Foundation, which it has a long-standing relationship of supporting and encouraging the arts in BUSD.

The district wide goals of the BAEF are that students will be: 1) career/college ready via high-quality instruction. 2) students and staff will be physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. 3) recruit and retain highly qualified employees. 4) maintain efficient and effective operation.

Several public speakers addressed four of the five members who were present, and they spoke passionately.

Paramo addressed the speakers as did Steve Ferguson, the BUSD president, Dr. Emily Weisberg, the vice president, Dr. Armond Aghakhanian, and Abby Pontzer Kamkar. Charlene Tabet was absent.

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