City Council Election Question #6 – Burbank Schools


As part of myBurbank’s Election 2022 coverage, we have asked all of the candidates in the three races some tough questions to help voters decide who deserves their vote.

In the race for City Council, there are seven candidates, and we asked ten tough questions. We told the candidates they could write as much as they wanted, and we did not edit their responses in any way. We rotated the order after every question.

Today is question 6 of 10 – Schools: While the City Council cannot give direct funding to the schools, the City of Burbank won’t be able to deliver on its goals without a well-funded school system, and the BUSD can no longer rely on its historically positive reputation to attract people to Burbank. How will the school board and the City Council work together to increase school funding?

Carmenita Helligar

First and foremost, we have to revisit why the city can not give direct funding to the schools.  Now that we have a joint committee consisting of two city council members and 2 school board members. They should come together and figure out what if any services are overlapping that the school can save on. The city needs to support the school district in building back it’s positive reputation.

Zizette Mullins

The Burbank Unified School District has long been recognized as one of the most exceptional aspects of our City. It is one of the keystones that define Burbank as the unique and special community for which it is recognized. The quality of our schools has long driven property values and promoted the overall desirability of this City for new and current residents. Historically, the School Board and the City Council have worked together to face challenges and to address issues that concern the youth of the community. This cooperation has been manifested by the multimillion-dollar investment that the City Redevelopment Agency made directly to our educational infrastructure, as well as the joint-use agreements that have served both our school and our residents so well for decades.

Unfortunately, the relationship between the School Board and the Council has eroded over the past several years. We need to re-establish this relationship for the benefit of our children, our grandchildren and the community as a whole, to ensure that the education available to our youth is among the top tier in the state. As a Council Member, I will lead an effort ensure that the needs of our children are met and exceeded.

Nikki Perez

The major ways our schools are funded are through state allocations and through enrollment and attendance numbers. As mentioned, City Council is limited in how we can assist, but as a body we can certainly continue to advocate our State Legislators for additional budget allocations, increased state funding, and even perhaps longshot changes to the Local Control Funding Formula.

In my conversations with our School Board Members, we have discussed additional avenues to expand upon our joint use agreements between the city and district, which is a great place to start.

Another way our city can help our schools is by doing our part to increase enrollment by bringing new families into Burbank. There are huge economic barriers for new families coming into, or who want to come into, Burbank. At the end of the day, all of our issues are interrelated and by increasing our quality of life we also increase the demand to live here; by increasing the number of families from all economic levels who can live here, our schools will receive more funding by increasing enrollment. While it’s not a direct assistance to our schools, it’s certainly us doing our jobs and by consequence, giving our schools more opportunities to thrive. By making a portion of our affordable housing for teachers and first responders we can also attract quality teachers to our school district and the necessary firefighters and police officers to care for a growing population. 

Sharon Springer

An excellent, adequately funded school system is important to Burbank quality of life.  I have worked and supported BUSD before and during my time on Burbank City Council and will continue to do so.   I have always supported collaboration and sharing City resources with BUSD and our students.  During my life and as a student, at every school, in every city, teachers have always been underpaid.  It’s time that we come up with multiple sources of reliable funding for our schools.  I suggest a focus group comprised of BUSD, the City, residents, and businesses to come up with ways to innovatively and collaboratively fund continued excellence of Burbank schools.   

City Council’s housing and affordability goal of 12,000 units should help reverse declining enrollment as more students and families can live here and go to Burbank schools. 

Tamala Takahashi

While the school district and the city are two separate jurisdictions, we share constituents and interests. It benefits both entities to have a strong collaborative working relationship. Also, both jurisdictions have their own funding responsibility and challenges. Collaboration can offset some of the costs by sharing resources.

• Continue current MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding), for example for parks usage, and continue to look at other opportunities. There are notable opportunities regarding environmental and sustainability partnerships and arts and culture.

• An important area of the city’s responsibility than can have a substantial impact on the school district is the creation of workforce housing. As we are working with our new tri-city housing authority, we can set aside housing for our district faculty and staff.

• Another area that the city can have an impact is transportation and working with the district to improve both the access to safe bike networks to and around schools, and a bus/shuttle program that we can share with the school district for drop off hours.

• The school district can also use the city’s support in advocating for grants, state and federal funding, and local partnership opportunities to offset costs.

In the end, the city and the school district both have budgeting responsibilities and it’s important that the two entities work together while also respecting each other’s process and jurisdictions.

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