Posted by Contributor, Lisa Robertson
The intention of Measure S is to renovate Burbank school facilities. This money is vital in the district’s effort to continue being a premiere education system offering students the saftest, most state-of-the art education possible. Measure S will cost the average Burbank homeowner $2 a month. $2! That’s less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks!
Here’s the facts on Measure S:
Fact 1: Measure S will benefit schools in a number of ways. According to the Burbank Unified School District’s website and the Team Roosevelt website, money from Measure S will do the following:
- Improve student safety and security systems including playgrounds, site fencing and modernized door-locking hardware and fire alarm systems.
- Upgrade and modernize facilities including adding or replacing heating and ventilation systems, repairing or replacing roofs and asphalt areas, upgrading aging gas, water, and sewer lines, and installing reclaimed water irrigation pipes.
- New playground structures and rubber surfaces for safety at some schools.
- Upgrade outdated computers and technology, including improving electrical systems to handle current and future technology needs.
- Make energy-efficiency improvements, reinvesting the savings back in to the classroom.
- Improve access for students with disabilities.
- Replace old portable classroom buildings with more permanent and safe structures.
As a former Burbank Unified School District teacher and parent of two children currently in the district, I can assure you that while our schools are safe and clean, there is always room for improvement and efficiency. While five years ago our computers were state of the art, today they are not. Do you know how many children entering Kindergarten have never used a mouse? A lot! Most children today are used to laptops, tablets and iPhones and have no idea what buttons to push or how to use a mouse on our existing computers. Ever taught in a portable classroom? They are by no means ideal and I can tell you from first hand experience they tend to be a bit colder, smellier and noisy than regular rooms.
Fact 2: Measure S does more than make schools better; it makes the community better.
If your child is not a Burbank Unified School District student, you are probably thinking that this bond measure is a waist of your tax dollars because your child will not benefit from the improvements. In actuality, you and your child will benefit from Measure S in a number of ways. First and foremost, high quality schools make for better neighborhoods. Children in your neighborhood who are engaged in a great school make for better neighbors and member of society…and better friends for your kiddos. Plus, as property owners, having award winning, cutting-edge schools near you only improves your home’s resale value. In short, good schools equal increased property values and a more active, engaged and informed community.
Fact 3: Measure S would provide money the district just can’t get anywhere else.
With the state’s budget woes, funding from the government does not cover what it takes to modernize our schools. Currently the district is maxed on its limited state funds and the bond will actually help BUSD qualify for additional state and matching funds if they become available. If the bond doesn’t pass, our schools will continue to age. While well maintained, many of the district’s schools are quite old and continue to need repairs. (Just like all of our old houses!) Delaying facility improvements only increases costs in the future, and emergency costs would be taken from funds designated for classroom instruction.
Furthermore, the district has already made a large amount of cuts—to overhead, administration and, unfortunately, staff as follows:
- Administration has been cut to the minimum required to keep students safe, deliver a basic education, and operate in an efficient manner.
- Over the past five years the BUSD has absorbed more than $87.5 million in cuts in school funding.
- In the past few years, the district has made nearly $2 million in cuts to administration and centralized services in order to keep as much money as possible in the classroom.
The types of repairs and renovations that would be funded by Measure S would be impossible to fund with the state and district’s current financial woes.
Fact 4: The money will be spent wisely and you can help.
Measure S calls for an independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee who will monitor how the money is spent. The committee will be selected after the bond passes and will be made up of teachers, business leaders, parents, senior citizens and community groups. (Those interested in being on the committee can advice the Board through the superintendent.) No money from Measure S can be spent on school administrator salaries and the money cannot be taken away from the state or used for other purposes other than those outlined above.
Fact 5: You can find out more about Measure S!
You can learn more about Measure S or ask questions about the measure by going to the Friends of Burbank Schools Facebook page or by calling them at (818) 253-1997. You can also reach them by email at. If you have questions about the district budget and/or programs, please contact Christine Statton, Assistant Superintendent-Administrative Services, Burbank Unified School District at (818) 729-4473.