BUSD Evaluating Hybrid, Distance Learning Models for Fall

The COVID-19 pandemic has made planning ahead difficult in every industry, but instruction in the 2020-21 school year is starting to come into focus.
Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill responded to public comments during Thursday’s virtual board meeting with a clearer vision of how students will be attending class in the fall.
Students will be given the option of continuing distance learning or a hybrid option that would include in-person instruction. However, details are still being discussed by the reopening committee, which is expected to present a framework in July.
The constant health updates and mandates by Los Angeles County and the state have made the process a difficult one, according to Hill, who was recently on a conference call with a L.A. County Department of Health official. The superintendent said county officials collected data from the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and the State Department to come up with health orders.
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Glendale Officials Address Message of Protests

In the coming months, the City Council expects to consider a report from City Manager Yasmin Beers that would outline potential new policies for the city to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in its staffing and operations.
This discussion may also include a dive into how to address, if at all, nationwide calls to “defund the police,” in which protesters speaking out against institutional racism and police brutality are demanding that funding for police departments be redistributed in part to other social and public health programs.
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LCUSD Deficit Narrows, but Official Issues Warning

With the 2019-20 school year having ended last week, the La Cañada Unified School District has shifted its focus to the future — most notably the upcoming budget and instruction in the fall.
Mark Evans, associate superintendent of business and administrative services, presented to the LCUSD Governing Board on Tuesday a first draft that included estimates for the current year and forecast a bleak future based on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May revision of the state budget — a proposal of $203.3 billion that would significantly cut school funding due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There’s great work being done in La Cañada and we want to keep that going,” Evans said during a virtual meeting. “The May revise is going to make that a challenge. Our budget is facing some uphill battles.”
The deficit for this year came in at $827,071, far better than anticipated in March, when Evans estimated it at $2.4 million.
“This puts us in a good state as we head into this economic situation,” he said. “It will help us weather that storm.”
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County Receives Go-Ahead for More Reopenings

Photo by Zane Hill / Glendale News-Press
The Americana at Brand plans to reopen its stores for normal business — at half capacity — starting on Monday. Los Angeles County officials decided this week that retailers could reopen with the restrictions.

Los Angeles County officials have given the green light for restaurants to resume dine-in service, as well as for barbers and hair salons to reopen, provided they adhere to proper distancing and hygiene protocol.
The Friday update followed an announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom that L.A. County was free to reopen those businesses according to state guidelines. Glendale, like most L.A. County cities, follows health direction from the county Department of Public Health.
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BUSD: Deep Budget Cuts Call for Parent, Political Advocacy

Photo courtesy Ryan Hirsch

The Burbank Unified School District Board of Education issued a call for activism to its community members after revealing financial cuts totaling more than $13 million to local schools with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s current state budget proposal.
“We are going to be facing a substantial reduction and need to be realistic about that right now and make sure our parents and constituents understand that,” said board Vice President Steve Frintner.
During a special meeting on Tuesday, Assistant Superintendent Debbie Kutka and Director of Fiscal Services Alyssa Low presented to the board how the revisions to the state budget would essentially gut local districts, estimating a total $13.65 million in less LCFF funding for Burbank schools.
“As we start highlighting a menu of options for reductions, it is going to be shocking,” Superintendent Matt Hill said on Tuesday. “We’ve been looking through this. We’re talking about a lot of deep cuts that will completely transform this district in a negative way. That’s why we’re getting the information out there.
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BUSD Projects Dour Budget Revisal; Considers Senior Celebrations

Photo courtesy Ryan Hirsch
Burbank Unified School District is considering ways to celebrate senior graduates.

Burbank Unified School District Superintendent Matt Hill expressed concern on Thursday about how Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state budget, taking into account economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, will impact local schools.
With a projected $54.3 billion deficit due to effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown, Newsom proposed a $203.3 billion budget on Thursday that would significantly cut school funding.
“If this budget is implemented, it will drastically impact BUSD,” Hill stated in his weekly letter to the BUSD community. “The California School Board Association has made it easy for us to stress the need to protect education funding.”
Hill encouraged community members to follow the CSBA’s online link —p2a.co/lY0Zw5J — and email legislators about protecting educational funding.
The BUSD Board of Education will convene for a special meeting to “discuss budget scenarios and fundraising priorities” on Tuesday, May 19, at 7 p.m.

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Council Crafts Outdoor Facilities Reopening Amid Social Distancing

The Burbank City Council confirmed the extension of social distancing rules to match those of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and reviewed possible reopening dates for outdoor areas during its virtual meeting on Tuesday.
The confirmation of the social distancing order, first issued by City Manager Justin Hess on April 23, will mirror L.A. County’s extension of its “Safer at Home” order to the same day, which also keeps Burbank eligible for potential state and federal reimbursement and aid for costs brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
After Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s transition into Stage 2 of reopening procedures on May 4, L.A. County and Burbank began allowing certain retail businesses to reopen for curbside pickup. In a staff report on Tuesday, Fire Chief Eric Garcia emphasized that though Burbank is working on its own set of initiatives to further reopen, the city will not go beyond the county’s guidelines.
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LCUSD Deliberates on 2020-21 School Year

In a regular meeting of the La Cañada School District Governing Board on Tuesday, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette tackled an update on what many students and families have been anxiously — and with trepidation — waiting to hear: What the future of learning holds in La Cañada Flintridge.
In short, Sinnette summed up, nobody is certain on a plan, but the district is working hard to create various scenarios on how it intends to open the 2020-21 school year, with possible options including staggered student schedules though an “a.m. or p.m.” possibility or even alternating days. Whatever approach is considered and decided upon, Sinnette said, she will be informing the LCUSD community as it happens.
“I know everyone is listening to the news and I think we all have more questions than answers right now,” the superintendent said, “but [we] are creating timelines for plan implementation; we are engaged in educational research looking at all kinds of options, we are identifying strengths and limitations of various scenarios, and so I want our community to be rest assured there is in-depth research taking place and we will begin to communicate in a transparent fashion all of our plan development over the next weeks and months.
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