Tag Archives: Measure S

BUSD Breaks Ground On New Modular Classrooms

Burbank Unified officials broke ground for two new modular classroom buildings at Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School on Monday, April 17.

The new buildings replace the aging, existing portable classrooms with more modern facilities and are funded by the Burbank voter-approved Measure S Bond.

“It will be nice to get our teachers and students out of the bungalows and into permanent classrooms,” said Principal Christina Desiderio.

Kindergartener Jasmine Anderson helps Burbank Board of Education members and Burbank Unified School District officials at the Robert Louis Stevenson Elementary School modular classroom groundbreaking. (Photo by © Ross A. Benson)

“We thank the Burbank community for their support of Measure S,” commented Matt Hill, Superintendent of the Burbank Unified School District. “This groundbreaking highlights the next phase of the work we are doing to modernize our schools, increase energy efficiency and increase technology for our students.”

Stevenson Elementary’s new modular buildings hold 11 new classrooms with a capacity for 352 students, new restrooms, a utility room and storage room, said Lary Atherton, Program Manager with Cordoba Corporation for the Measure S Bond Projects.

The complete project cost is approximately $5 million and is expected to be completed in October 2017. The modular classroom is a replacement project and does not add any additional student capacity at Stevenson.

Bret Harte and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools are also replacing their aging portable classroom buildings with new modular classrooms.

At Bret Harte, there will be 12 new classrooms for 384 students, four new child care rooms for 96 students, new restrooms, a utility room and a storage room. The complete project cost is approximately $10 million and is scheduled to be completed by May 2018, added Atherton.

Jefferson’s new modular classroom contains nine new classrooms for up to 288 students, new restrooms, a utility room and a storage room. The new modular classroom building is projected to cost $5 million and to be completed by October 2017.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Roosevelt and George Washington Elementary Schools were the first sites that received the new permanent modular classroom buildings. Emerson has four new modular classrooms, Roosevelt has six new classrooms and new restrooms and Washington has eight new classrooms and new restrooms.

Cordoba Corporation released an update on Measure S Bond projects in the fall of 2016 and information on that report can be found in this myBurbank article.


BUSD Facilities Completes Many Measure S Bond Projects, Work Continues On Others

As Burbank Unified School District students return to classes this week and many hand in reports on their accomplishments over the past summer, BUSD Facilities can also note quite a few items in the “What I Did Last Summer” category, as projects are ticked off the Measure S Bond list.

“Over the summer, we have been hard at work at various school sites installing new network infrastructure, air conditioning installations and replacements, irrigation upgrades, fire alarms replacements and upgrades, clocks and PA system replacements and other various projects,” commented David Jaynes, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services for Burbank Unified. “We are continuing to install other upgrades as well, such as energy saving LED lighting, 21st century classroom technology upgrades and energy saving solar programs.”

BUSD LOGO_Master File“Since these projects are going to continue throughout the school year, the work will be performed in isolated areas or after school instructional hours and on weekends, so you may notice construction workers on campus during these hours,” Jaynes said in a BUSD release.

“As mandated by the provisions of the Education Code applicable to public school construction, the contractors are all required to ensure the safety of the pupils through the methods provided in the Michelle Montoya School Safety Act. In addition, weekly safety meetings will be held which include proper behavior and sensitivity training protocols prohibiting student interaction.”

“We appreciate your understanding as we continue to put Measure S dollars to work and improve our schools,” he added. “We will work to minimize any inconveniences as best we can.”

Previous articles on the Measure S Bond can be found here, here and here.

According to Craig Bell, BUSD Director of Facilities,  the following items have been completed or are in progress at the various school sites. Unless noted by an asterisk (*), projects were paid by the Measure S Bond fund. Other funds or accounts, where applicable, are noted after the asterisk.

BHS – Administration Building, New Energy Management System (EMS) installed

JBHS – New HVAC installed in both Hurst and main gyms

JBHS – Reclaimed irrigation installed on the baseball field

Jordan – New HVAC installed in the auditorium, cafeteria/kitchen and gym

Jordan – New EMS, fire alarm, PA & clocks installed

Jordan – New exterior painting underway (*Deferred Maintenance)

Jordan – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Jordan – New asphalt and lunch shelter, scheduled for the Fall 2015

Jordan – New perimeter fencing in scheduled for the Fall 2015

Jordan – Soil testing was completed for a planned solar structure

Luther – New HVAC installed in the classrooms, cafeteria/kitchen & gym

Luther – New EMS installed

Luther – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Luther – New concrete bike rack area

Luther – Soil testing was completed for a planned solar structure

Luther – Removal of tree root invasion around the lunch shelter area

Muir – New HVAC installed in the auditorium, cafeteria/kitchen and gym

Muir – New EMS, fire alarms installed

Muir – New asphalt in the staff parking lot and lower basketball courts

Muir – Demoed old media bungalow

Disney – New perimeter fencing in scheduled for September 2015

Edison – New perimeter fencing installed in August 2015

Edison – New synthetic turf installed in the CC yard

Edison – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Edison – New exterior painting (*Deferred Maintenance)

Emerson – New HVAC installed in the classrooms, auditorium & kitchen

Emerson – New EMS, fire alarms, PA & clocks installed

Emerson – New synthetic turf installed in the kinder yard

Emerson – New asphalt installed in the kinder yard

Harte – New HVAC installed in the classrooms, auditorium & kitchen

Harte – New EMS, fire alarms & PA & clocks installed

Harte – New synthetic turf installed in the kinder yard

Harte – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Jefferson – Geological soil testing were completed to determine a fault line

Jefferson – Soil testing was completed for a planned solar structure

McKinley – New synthetic turf installed in the two kinder yards

McKinley – New sewer line replacement (*Deferred Maintenance)

Miller – New HVAC installed in the classrooms, auditorium & kitchen

Miller – New EMS, fire alarms & PA & clocks installed

Miller – New iron fencing scheduled to be installed September 2015

Providencia – New synthetic turf installed in the kinder yard

Providencia – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Providencia – Re-lamping of the sport field (*AYSO)

Roosevelt – Two temporary portable classrooms installed (*Fund 25, Growth)

Roosevelt – New perimeter fencing installed

Roosevelt – New synthetic turf installed in the two kinder yards

Stevenson – One temporary portable classroom installed (*Fund 25, Growth)

Stevenson – New synthetic turf installed in the kinder yard

Stevenson – Reclaimed irrigation installed

Stevenson – New exterior painting (*Deferred Maintenance)

Washington – Soil testing was completed for a planned solar structure

Burbank Adult School – Soil testing was completed for a planned solar structure

Burbank Unified Bond Project Completions Highlighted

Several Measure S bond projects were completed during the recent summer break and plans for more are in the works for the summer 2015, Burbank Unified officials reported to the Board of Education Thursday, September 18.

Project and accounting reports of work completed to date have also been posted on the Measure S webpage, said David Jaynes, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services. Photos of recently completed work are also on the page.

Playgrounds at Disney and Edison Elementary Schools, along with second playgrounds at McKinley and Providencia Elementary Schools were upgraded with new equipment, shade features and cushioned grass-covered floors.

“As one of the principals described, it’s like walking on the moon, sort of because you bounce around,” Jaynes to the school board. “The kids love it.”

The Measure S Bond funds have paid for this completed playground with grass-covered floors at McKinley Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

The Measure S Bond funds have paid for this completed playground with grass-covered floors at McKinley Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

Fencing work at Washington Elementary Child Care Center, Washington Elementary, Monterey High School and Monterey Child Care Center was also recently finished.

Workers put new HVAC for heat and air conditioning in all Jordan Middle School classrooms, Jaynes added. He also mentioned other HVAC work to come next summer at Muir Middle School.

Emerson, Hart, Roosevelt and Miller Elementary Schools all received new exterior painting before the start of the school year in August.

Jaynes also mentioned deferred maintenance project work completed, including replacing the chiller at Washington Elementary School for air conditioning and the Burbank High School boiler for heating.

Edison Elementary also received new flooring in hallways, 14 classrooms and the library and two portable classrooms were added to Stevenson Elementary to accommodate growing enrollment.

Other fixes made included broken water main at Burroughs High School, a water pipe break at Stevenson and some work at Luther Middle School to correct deficiencies still in place from the former bond measure.

Projects upcoming for the 2014-15 school year include an upgrade of the Jefferson Elementary playground and mini-modernizations at Emerson, Miller, Washington, Jordan and Mann Development Center.

Additional plans include installation of solar panels at the District Service Center and construction of the Data Center.

Because of increased enrollment and reduced class size for grades K-3, the modulars are also under review, Jaynes added.

Safety railings at Burroughs and Burbank High Schools, HVAC at Muir and exterior painting at Edison, Jefferson, Stevenson, Washington and Jordan are some of the projects Jaynes anticipates completion on by end of summer 2015.

Measure S Funds Air Conditioning, EMS And Technology Upgrades For Schools

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Since the voter passage of the Measure S Bond to support infrastructure fixes at Burbank Unified schools, a number of projects have already been completed and more are in the works. The $110 million dollar bond has been divided into three three-year issuances, with each bond issuance totaling about one-third of $110 million. Over the next few weeks, myBurbank.com will look at various aspects of the Measure S bond and the effect on Burbank’s schools, city and community.

Part 2 of the interview with BUSD Facilities Director Craig Bell follows and a look at some of the planned upgrades for Burbank public schools.

Air Conditioning Upgrades Other big projects planned for summer 2014 include installing or upgrading air conditioners at both gymnasiums at Burroughs High School and the gymnasiums and auditoriums if needed, at Luther, Jordan and Muir Middle Schools. All of Luther’s entire site – classrooms, cafeteria, kitchen, offices –  is planned for air conditioning replacement in summer 2014. BUSD plans to have all approvals and contracts awarded and the equipment purchased and ready to go by the first day of summer, as they only have June and July to get the work done.

“If you actually look at the magnitude of all these things, it’s huge,” comments Craig Bell, BUSD Director of Facilities. The BUSD School Board has recently instructed Facilities to plan for air conditioning unit installment for all elementary auditoriums at sites that don’t already have it, which will be most of the eleven elementary schools. While Facilities is trying to get plans and approvals in place for summer 2014, the work may not get through the process in time and have to happen in the summer of 2015.

Completed work at Washington Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

Completed work at Washington Elementary. (Photo Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

Air conditioning upgrades and replacements are scheduled at all the sites throughout the district, but the focus right now is on the auditoriums. In a few years, BUSD will look at replacing all office and classroom air conditioning units, but it may not be until the second or third issuance of the bonds for this phase of upgrades to be implemented. However, BUSD is planning now for the entire scope of the project. They are looking at the energy ratings and by installing more energy efficient units, they anticipate cutting back on utility costs.

EMS Another component of Measure S funded upgrades is the Energy Management System (EMS.) Air conditioning, heat and lights can be remotely controlled at the different school sites via EMS and it also ties in with Prop. 39, implementing energy-saving projects in schools. BUSD can make sure during after hours or off hours, utilities are turned off. If there are events, lights and air conditioning can be scheduled to be turned on. EMS will help BUSD show greater energy savings and ultimately reduce costs.

Information Technology and Data Center Currently, wireless infrastructure work is being done at Stevenson Elementary and Jordan Middle School and is slated to begin at the Burbank Adult School. Bond money is planned to be spent upgrading Information Technology components like E-Readers, voice amplifiers and document readers.

The biggest recent news has been the School Board approval of a new data center to house the brains of the entire district’s technology needs. While details are still being worked on, the construction of a data center on the site of the District Service Center looks to be the favored location. The data center will require specific construction for cooling, battery and power backups and handling a progressive data system, appropriate for the 21st century. 

While there has been talk about providing iPads or similar devices to students in the future, the ultimate decision by the Burbank School Board on that aspect has not been made. It continues to be discussed as an extension of the IT component of the bond measure, but the focus for now is on creating the data center and building the infrastructure for BUSD’s future technology needs.

Roof work at Burroughs High School. (Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

Roof work at Burroughs High School. (Courtesy of Burbank Unified School District)

Emphasis On Transparency Mr. Bell admits that while it was well before his time at BUSD, some things were not done properly under the last school bond measure, more than 15 years ago. BUSD contracts for construction and materials do have warranties and protections in place to correct or fix errors within a certain time frame. He also emphasizes the openness of the current school bond process.

“We have totally a brand new team, totally a brand new focus and a totally new approach to the accountability we owe to this community,” states Mr. Bell.

“So as we move forward, we want to make sure that we have given every opportunity for anybody in this community to ask questions, to read about what is being done, to look at the books, to see what has been spent and actually be a part of any aspect of this. My office is open any day,” he continues. “They can call Facilities; they can call to get an idea of what is going on. I have weekly updates on the district website, under Measure S – there’s a link to facilities projects.”

The Measure S webpage on the BUSD website gives week by week updates, lists upcoming projects and includes archives since June 24, 2013. Priorities for project rollout were determined from the sequence of modernization done in the past. The first schools upgraded from the past bond measure are the first group scheduled for updates now. Of course, investigations and reported areas of deterioration are also considered to set priority, to help determine what fixes can wait and which ones are needed immediately.

More Information Interested community members are welcome to attend scheduled Board meetings and see the items presented by Facilities and IT which need approval to move forward. People can go online and watch the archived footage of past School Board meetings. The Oversight Committee, a 25 person group of district staff and people from the community, also meets monthly to keep an eye on the process and makes sure the funds are being spent as advertised in the bond language. Their meetings are posted here and open to the public.

“We certainly welcome any comments form the community because this is their tax dollars at work,” concludes Mr. Bell. “We’ve been tasked to manage that, to give the best product that we possibly can with the construction teams that we have put together from our consultants here, to our architects, to the consultants and engineers that they work with, to all our vendors and suppliers. Everybody is really focused on delivering a product that this district and this community certainly can be proud of as we move forward over the next nine to ten years.”

Check myBurbank.com next week as we continue our in-depth look at the implementation of the Measure S school bond.




Measure S Makes Needed Upgrades For Burbank Schools

By Lisa Paredes
Associate Editor

Since the voter passage of the Measure S Bond to support infrastructure fixes at Burbank Unified schools, a number of projects have already been completed and more are in the works. The $110 million dollar bond has been divided into three three-year issuances, with each bond issuance totaling about one-third of $110 million. Over the next few weeks, myBurbank.com will look at various aspects of the Measure S bond and the effect on Burbank’s schools, city and community.

While the citizens of Burbank recognized the need for infrastructure fixes to aging school buildings and the value of using the bond process and voted to pass Measure S earlier this year, the public may wonder where and how is the bond money is being used. BUSD has put in place a multi-step plan for targeted work, designs, approvals and construction. An Oversight Committee, made up of district staff and community members, makes sure the process and work adheres to the specifics of the bond.

“When you look at a bond project, it is overwhelming. When you have fifteen components at twenty different sites and you try to coordinate and schedule every particular little step of the way for the public to see, it is cumbersome and mind boggling to be able to show every single portion of every step along the way,” explains Craig Bell, Burbank Unified School District Director of Facilities. “But, that is a challenge we have taken very seriously with this particular bond because this was a sore subject from the last bond. And so, the message was pretty clear to the district and the staff, as we move forward, to be very transparent and show from the design process, to the input from the community, to the site, to the board, that we are being open… trying to be transparent in making sure the public is confident on how we are spending this 110 million dollars.”

First Set of Projects The first issuance of bonds, for the first of the three-year projects, totals around $41 million dollars. While exact costs will ultimately be determined by market prices, that number is the working number. Project managers do expect that some funding from the state, estimated to be about $9.5 million dollars from the State Facilities Matching Program, will also be obtained, stretching Measure S dollars further.

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Since the passage of the bond in March, a lot of administrative work was needed at the start, to get the bonds issued and sold. The process took about two months for the paperwork and those bonds to actually be sold, generating $41 million dollars. When the $41 million was raised by mid-May, the project managers were given the green light to move forward.

“That did not mean for those first two months we just sat still. We were anticipating projects that we were going to be able to start and complete yet this past summer before school started. So that didn’t give us a lot of time to do the planning process, the design process, the procurement process of contractors, job walks, and putting those scopes of work together to actually award contracts,” comments Mr. Bell. “We had to look at something that was an immediate gratification, that we could show the general public as a thank you for passing the bond… projects we could jump on quickly that didn’t take a whole lot of involvement in the approval process.”

Completed Work Summer 2013 “We planned early on to do some fencing, some asphalt work, playground equipment and playground surfacing replacement. So we chose Washington Elementary as one of those school sites we could jump on quickly and get some immediate work to be done over the summer before school started.”

At same time, Facilities staff began the planning process for replacing already-identified roofs in need of urgent attention, over the past summer. Best Contracting was chosen through bidding process, and by time school started in August, all roof projects were 85% completed. Minimal detail work that could be completed on weekends and not interfere with the weekday activities at the school sites was all that remained.

New Modular Classrooms at Stevenson Elem. School (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

New Modular Classrooms at Stevenson Elem. School (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

At Stevenson Elementary, two portable classrooms were installed and finished completely within a week of school starting. The portables provided needed extra room to help accommodate the enrollment increase the school has experienced.

New synthetic turf in eight courtyards in all the different wings was installed at the Burbank Adult School, along with new interior fencing. The Adult School program has given Facilities a lot of praise for this infrastructure work, reports Mr. Bell, and is interested in doing more work in the future.

“We felt very successful on the work we did at Washington as well as the roofing projects,” says Mr. Bell. “In a few short months, (with) all the planning that was involved from Washington Elementary, to the portables and roofing and Adult School, we felt very successful.”

Overall Plan and Measure S Process The overall plan, using funds generated from the bond measure, is to do a continual modernization of the district, focusing on upgrading infrastructure, explains Mr. Bell. Infrastructure includes water lines, drain lines, gas lines, HVAC, electricity, utilities, lighting, fencing and security issues, asphalt, playgrounds, replacing portables with permanent classrooms, energy management systems, emergency communications systems, fire alarms, doors, hardware and public address systems. (Editor’s note: There is also an Information Technology component to the bond, which will be discussed in a subsequent article.)

The last bond measure for Burbank school was in 1997 and did not address all these issues. The newest BUSD school was built in 1955, so the buildings are functioning on borrowed time and have reached a critical point where fixes must be made. Some original water lines feeding the schools are 70 years old.

“The infrastructure has so badly been ignored for years – I’m not pointing fingers – it’s just a fact of life,” comments Mr. Bell.

In early 2012, Facilities, Information Technology and BUSD staff started estimating costs for necessary fixes based on industry standards, for example the price per square foot for asphalt, and created a template of work to be done over the next nine to ten years. They created General Obligation (GO) Bond spreadsheets and were able to determine how much of a bond to ask for from Burbank voters.

The GO Bond spreadsheets totaled $123 million and the Measure S bond went to $110 million. Matching funds from the state are expected to offset much of the remaining costs. The template spreadsheet is a wishlist of infrastructure fixes needed, based on urgency. Every project has to go out to bid, and the work will go on until the funding cap is reached.

“Those numbers, as you look ahead, over the nine to ten years, those costs are going to go up, come down, be all over the map,” commented Mr. Bell. “You just don’t know at this point what those real numbers are, but this was our best guess at the time to come up with a realistic number.”

Plans are designed and refined by the approved architects and then the district reviews and makes changes. The plans are then shared with board through the design phase, involving the community-driven Oversight Committee. Once approval from the Department of State Architects (DSA) is made and there are no changes, then BUSD goes through procurement process and out to bid. The DSA reviews and makes sure the plans follow all codes and state guidelines, a process that can take three to six months. Once the winning bid is selected and contracts signed, the construction is scheduled.

Inside one of the New Modular Classrooms at Stevenson Elem. School (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Inside one of the New Modular Classrooms at Stevenson Elem. School (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Mini-Modernizations For Local Schools Right now, BUSD is in the planning phase with five approved architects, looking at a variety of projects. The first four sites planned for a mini-modernization are Horace Mann, Miller Elementary, Washington Elementary and Jordan Middle Schools. One to two years after those projects are completed, mini-modernizations for Bret Harte Elementary, Emerson Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary Schools will commence, and are currently in the beginning stages of the design process.

BUSD will complete some projects between now and the start of the summer 2104 mini-modernizations. New playground equipment and synthetic turf surfaces at five elementary schools’ main playground areas, for Edison, Jefferson, McKinley, Providencia and Disney, are planned to be completed by the end of this year.

Check in tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview with BUSD Facilities Director Craig Bell and additional information on upcoming Facilities upgrades to Burbank’s public schools.

Burbank Voters Say YES to Measure S for Schools

Toasting an Ice Tea City Treasure and Former School Board member Debbie Kukta and Anita Shackman are all smiles with the results looking good for Measure S. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Toasting an Ice Tea City Treasure and Former School Board member Debbie Kukta and Anita Schackman are all smiles with the results looking good for Measure S. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

By John Savageau

At approximately 9:30 p.m. Marsha Ramos, former Burbank Mayor and Chair, Friends of Burbank Schools, declared victory on passing Measure S.  Flanked by supporters, including Councilman-Elect Bob Frutos, Councilman Jesse Talamantes, Vice Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, Ramos described the near impossible job of getting Measure S passed exclaiming “we did it on March 5th when nobody said it could be done.”

Measure S, a general obligation bond, will bring $110 million into the Burbank Unified School District for infrastructure upgrades, technology upgrades, and security improvements.  Councilman Talamantes commented the bond measure was important for the city, and simply the “right thing.”

While a growing election party crowd continued to fill the patio at Gordon Biersch, Measure S staff continued to monitor results as posted and available.

Measure S supporters L/R Roberta Reynolds, President Larry Applebaum, Measure S Chairman Marsha Ramos, Audrey Hanson, and Dr. David Carletta.share some happiness following the election. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Measure S supporters L/R Roberta Reynolds, President Larry Applebaum, Measure S Chairman Marsha Ramos, Audrey Hanson, and Dr. David Carletta.share some happiness following the election. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Larry Applebaum, President of the Burbank School Board expressed great satisfaction at the apparent success of Measure S.  Hugging his young daughter, Applebaum beamed that “it is all about them, the children.  This is for them.”

Others in the crowd indicated with better schools their property value would probably appreciate, however most were simply relieved the measure would pass and the quality of education would improve.

Checking the results on a I-Phone Measure S supporters L/R Suzanne Weerts, Paula Trubisky, School Board Member Roberta Reynolds, Former School Board  Member Audry Hanson, and Chairman Marsha Ramos it's all thumbs up. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Checking the results on a I-Phone Measure S supporters L/R Suzanne Weerts, Paula Trubisky, School Board Member Roberta Reynolds, Former School Board Member Audrey Hanson, and Chair Marsha Ramos it’s all thumbs up. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Ramos continued thanking individuals and groups by name for their great support, personally greeting each in the crowd and saying a few kind words as the voting results continued to show victory.

Final results had the Yes vote at 4,053 (61.45%) and the No vote at 2,542 (38.54%).  It needed 55% of the Yes vote to pass.  There were 6,595 votes cast out of 61,153 registered voters in Burbank who were eligible to vote, which is 10.78% of the voters.

With this Measure S election in the books, Burbank will hold the city General Municipal Election for city council and school board members along with another Measure S (this time for Sewer and Refuse assistance) on 9 April.  This will be an all mail election like the primary.


Burbank Community Leaders Continue to Ring the Measure “S” Bell

By John Savageau

On 5 March Burbank residents will have the opportunity to vote on Measure “S,” a bond measure that would provide nearly $110 million in new funding to upgrade district schools, paid for by the tax payers over a period of up to 40 years.  There has been an aggressive pro Measure S campaign urging voters to approve the measure, with few opposing views offered as a check or balance to the campaign.

According to Marsha Ramos, former Burbank Mayor and Chair, Friends of Burbank Schools – Yes on Measure S campaign believes the bond measure is essential. Ramos concedes taxpayers may be weary of new measures and new tax burdens, particularly given perceptions of Burbank’s performance on previous bond measures.

However the new measure is backed by a considerable amount of background work.  Documents provided by Ramos to BurbankNBeyond break down planned expenditures by school facility, category of expenditure, and planned budget for each facility.  Major categories include asphalt safety, security, building structural repairs, green air conditioning and electrical equipment upgrades, as well as upgrading the use of technology within the school system to ensure Burbank students remain competitive in education and graduate with skills needed to function in the work force.

The cost of Measure “S” to the tax payers will not vary over the course of the bond’s life.  Measure “S“ is a general obligation bond, not a capital appreciation bond as used in other cities. According to Ramos in a message to BurbankNBeyond, the type of bonds and Interest rates will be determined at an open and public Burbank School Board meeting. These interest rates at bond issuance will not change; none of the bonds will have a variable or adjustable interest rate.  If passed, Measure S bonds would authorize the Burbank Unified School District to issue general obligation bonds up to $110,000,000.

There is also an opportunity for additional state modernization and construction matching funds, as well as  opening the door for BUSD to apply for federal “E-Rate Technology Funds” which are grants used to build technology infrastructure.

Few would argue the benefits of upgrading schools to incorporate modern “green” technologies for better electrical and air-conditioning efficiencies.  All organizations should consider replacing old mechanical and electrical infrastructure, as it will not only be more efficient, but also have an opportunity to greatly decrease operational costs to the schools such as use of electricity.

With the recent highly visible shootings at schools and other public places very few would seriously question the need for increased or enhanced security systems within the schools.

One area questioned, as noted by School Board President Larry Applebaum, is the planned use of funds for technology upgrades in the schools.  Like all things technology, everybody has an opinion on how technology should be used in schools.  Topics including eLearning, the types of technology education needed, and the use of basics such as network access, WiFi, servers, applications, and curriculum are on the minds of all persons with an opinion.

The question on most people’s minds, aside from the opinion on correct curriculum, is the lifecycle of hardware or software licenses which may be purchased with Measure “S” funds.  Should tax payers be burdened with a 25 year bill, at a quoted rate of 2.5:1 (from the BUSD web site), for a technology hardware purchase which may have a maximum expected life cycle of less than 5 years?

Is it time to consider subscription models of technology, and transition the burden of CAPEX to an OPEX model?  It it time to seriously consider moving into the “cloud” and subscribing to hosted applications that relieve the district from CAPEX purchase with a short lifecycle.

Applebaum, in a message and attached spreadsheet (GOGeneralBondProjectListJan2013.xls) forwarded from Ramos to BurbankNBeyond, describes the technology strategy in several steps.  One technology-related item “recognizes the technology infrastructure piece at each location, which includes network switches, servers, school-wide WiFi equipment, and related connections.  These items form the backbone of our future technology vision at our schools.”

Applebaum’s note continues to explain technology strategies.

It should be noted that less than half of the total dollars set aside here in total would be used to obtain content delivery devices.  While some schools have fundraised or otherwise accumulated dollars in order to purchase and install, LED projectors, document cameras and instructor voice amplification systems, many of our sites have not, so those would be the first things you would see us move on to assure each classroom has these basics. 

Beyond that, smart boards and interactive student response devices would be next on the hit parade, and those are the items that are being piloted in 8 of our district classrooms right now as we speak.  I would anticipate discussions occurring at the end of the school year with the teachers piloting the equipment as well as others that want to weigh, in order for us to move to a singular, common standard for these units. 

To my knowledge, while we have purchased some iPads already in the district, primarily for special education students, we have not begun to look at developing the standard for content delivery devices across each grade span yet.  This discussion needs to happen before we move to purchase these devices en masse, and more importantly, we will need to develop an ongoing plan that addresses the maintenance, support and replacement of this equipment before I would be inclined to move towards product acquisition. 

My sense is that we will roll out initially using a BYOD (Bring your own device) model as has proven successful in other districts.  The key is to assure we have some basic tool available for any student who doesn’t own or whose parent will not allow them to use a family owned device.  The numbers I have heard from some districts that have tried this is 50-60% of the students bringing in something. 

It becomes a bit more challenging to implement using this model, as any instructional content must be accessible across every platform (ie. Kindle, iPad, Nook, Android, Windows, etc).  We are quite a ways from being ready to move in this direction in any event.

Most may agree that in the coming years very few households and students will be without some level of access device, such as a tablet computer, smartphone, laptop, or other “BYOD” capable device.  This, if accepted, would certainly allow BUSD to enter a more effective, flexible, and innovative subscription model of eLearning.

Representative Adam Schiff from California’s 28th District summed up the opinions of many leaders on Measure “S” in an exclusive BurbankNBeyond interview:

I think it is really vital that we have the best possible facilities for our students.  That we are prepared to meet the demands of n incredibly global and competitive workplace.  Improving those facilities, making sure they are safer areas for students to not only learn, but to gather before and after school to enjoy (activities), athletic facilities – I think is really important.

This is an investment in our future. We have to make sure the best use of fund, and there is good oversight of the funds.

But upgrading classrooms, making way for new technology, replacing some of the aging portables and electrical systems, these are things that we should be doing.

When you look at some of the work that has been done to modernize high schools for example, it’s been very impressive, very necessary, and I am proud to support Measure “S.”

The Burbank City School Board Primary Nominating Election is on 5 March, and Measure “S” will also be approved or dropped during this ballot.  The Burbank General Municipal Election is slated for 9 April.  BurbankNBeyond encourages all Burbank residents to become familiar with all sides of the Measure S issue, and make your opinion known by casting your vote on Tuesday.

Valley Industry & Commerce Association Endorses Measure S

The Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) supports the Burbank Unified School District
Ballot Measure S on the March 5, 2013 ballot.

The expansion of the Burbank Unified School District bond program will allow district schools to
modernize their facilities, including technological resources. As the globalized economy generates more
demand for mathematic and scientific training, San Fernando Valley schools must have modern
classroom and laboratories in order to compete for top universities and jobs. Technology is also of
specific importance in the San Fernando Valley, where television & film production are not only
fundamental to the economic well-being of the greater region but the vitality and productivity of one of
its principal industries.

The time for these renovations is now, as the district is in the unique position of receiving an additional
$10 million from the state if the measure passes. As we strive for the most prestigious schools in the
world, our region must work with our state to maintain a standard of excellence.

VICA encourages the passage of Measure S and the timely investment in educational facility
improvements. Our students need the proper resources to compete and thrive locally, nationally and


David Adelman

Stuart Waldman

District Seeks Applicants for Appointment to School Facilities Oversight Committee

With the potential passage of Measure S, The Burbank Unified School District is currently seeking four (4) members to serve on the School Facilities Oversight Committee. This Committee will have oversight as to how the funds have been spent relative to the Measure S Project Plan. Citizens’ oversight of bond expenditures is required by California Ed. Code 15278-15282.

Interested community members from the following groups are asked to apply: a member active in a senior citizens’ organization, a member active in a bona fide taxpayers’ organization, and two members of the general public.

Applications are available from the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 1900 W. Olive Ave., Burbank, 818-729-4422, and on the District’s website:

The application period runs from February 15 through April 1, 2013. Applications must be returned to the Superintendent’s Office no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, April 1, 2013.

Burbank School District Launches Measure S Drive

The Burbank Board of Education has placed Measure S on the March 5, 2013 ballot. Measure S is a general obligation bond to maintain and improve schools.

Friends of the Burbank Schools will host two different events.  On Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm in the Police/Fire Community room located at the corner of Third & Olive Ave.  there will an informational meeting about Measure S. At this meeting you will learn what the bond will cost the taxpayer and what the funds will do for our schools, our city and our children.

Then on Saturday January 12, 2013 at 10:00 am in the Burbank Community Room #104 located in the Community Services Building at 150 N. Third St. a campaign “kick-off” event will be held to launch Measure S.

Please contact the Yes on S campaign at 818-253-1997 or email betterburbankschools@gmail.com if have questions or want to help the campaign.