Nearly a month after Election Day, the final ballot results from Los Angeles County are in: Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz are expected to join the Burbank City Council in December.
Anthony soared into first place early in the ballot count process, with 17,529 votes as of Monday, Nov. 30 — when the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk certified the results. Schultz maintained a consistent lead for the second open council seat, with 13,105 voters having cast a ballot for him. The pair will be sworn in to the City Council at a reorganization meeting on Dec. 14.
With Los Angeles County election officials whittling down the number of ballots remaining to be counted, the leads of Burbank City Council candidates Konstantine Anthony and Nick Schultz late this week showed little sign of fading. Anthony and Schultz have led the race for the two open City Council seats since the first wave of results was announced on Election Day. With 17,448 votes as of this Tuesday, the most recent count available, Anthony’s place as a presumed council member-elect seemed unshakable.
A recent surge of new COVID-19 cases around the nation has Burbank Unified School District officials coming to grips with the possibility that the majority of its students will not be allowed to return to campus for in-person instruction this academic year. The district recently committed to distance learning through the remainder of the first semester and staff members have been refining a hybrid model that would bring back students at a limited capacity. However, a current trend in coronavirus cases had the board of education questioning whether it is best to continue working on a hybrid schedule or shift the focus to enhancing the distance learning experience. In Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ranking system, Los Angeles County remains in Tier 1, a classification that indicates a widespread risk of COVID-19 infection and keeps schools closed. The county would have to meet the next tier’s thresholds for two weeks to move into Tier 2, which indicates substantial risk of infection.
Though daily numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are better than those of the summer, they are not good enough for Los Angeles County to consider reopening nonessential businesses and schools. So Superintendent Matt Hill recommended Thursday to the local board of education that Burbank Unified School District campuses continue exclusively with distance learning for the wide majority of students through the fall semester. The move will give the district staff more time to work on protocols to be better prepared to reintroduce students and teachers to campus when the time comes.
With only a month until the Nov. 3 general election, local candidates have shifted into high gear, fighting for the prospect of a seat in City Hall or on the Burbank Unified School District board. The candidates participated Wednesday in a series of forums, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank, allowing the contenders to answer major questions posed by the group as well as some submitted by local residents. The forums were streamed and are available on the Burbank Channel on YouTube. Eight people are looking to nab one of two open seats on the City Council. New council members elected in November will have their positions for four years. Four people are vying to win one of three open BUSD Board of Education seats, also held for four years. Each candidate previously submitted a statement to the Leader. These statements can be found at outlooknewspapers.com. Here is an abridged overview of the topics the candidates were asked about. For the City Council candidate forum, each question was given to only some of the candidates, though all had the opportunity to respond to any question at the end of the forum.
Parents showed their vexation to Burbank Unified School District officials over yet another delay of the Walt Disney Elementary School modernization project during a virtual Governing Board meeting on Thursday, asking staff and board members for answers and to not keep its stakeholders in the dark. “I’m grateful to everyone for every single sleepless hour that has gone into thinking, creating, planning and executing our current education plan,” an emotional parent told the board. “What I would like to ask tonight is that the same passion, drive, perseverance and take-charge attitude be used to get the construction started and completed at Disney Elementary.
There will be eight Burbank residents running for two open City Council seats in November, with three people looking to nab the position of city treasurer. Local voters will cast their ballots on Nov. 3, with the newly elected council members holding their seats for four years and the treasurer holding his or her seat for two years to finish the unexpired term of former City Treasurer Debbie Kukta. Each candidate submitted a statement to The Leader for publication, explaining why he or she should be elected to a city position.
The League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank Unit and Burbank Council Parent Teacher Association will host a candidate forum for the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education race. The forum will be held virtually on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 2:45-3:55 p.m. The event is free and open to all. The forum will be broadcast live on the Burbank Television Channel and the Burbank Channel on YouTube and will be replayed until the election on Nov. 3. The public is encouraged to submit questions for the candidates. To submit your question(s), visit Burbank Council PTA’s dedicated web page: burbankcouncilpta.org/candidate-forum. Due to time constraints and the number of candidates, not all questions will be asked. Questions should be on the issues and applicable to all candidates. No personal attacks or biased questions will be accepted. The candidates (in ballot order) are: • Armond Aghakhanian, incumbent • Steve Ferguson, incumbent • Emily Weisberg, middle school teacher • Roberta Reynolds, incumbent Burbank Council PTA President Wendi Harvel said, “The Board of Education makes decisions that affect all of our students, and they are our elected representatives. Our community has a voice when it comes to educating our children. Our voice is our vote. Both LWV-G/B and BCPTA believe that offering opportunities for community members to learn more about their candidates both empowers voters and encourages voters to show up at the polls.” To learn more about the League of Women Voters-Glendale Burbank, visit my.lwv.org/california/los-angeles. For information about the Burbank Council PTA, visit burbankcouncilpta.org.
After much discourse and explanation from Burbank Unified School District staff members, the Board of Education approved — with some apprehension — the memorandum of understanding between teachers and BUSD during Thursday’s virtual meeting. The motion to adopt the 15-page document passed, 4-1. The lone dissenting vote came from Charlene Tabet, who echoed parents’ concerns regarding the schedule that includes four days of mixed live classroom instruction and independent learning — Monday through Thursday — and a “pupil-free” workday on Friday. Community members expressed worry that children would not get enough interaction with teachers, especially on a Friday that does not require students to check in. Tabet said she wasn’t so sure students would take advantage of that time with their instructors, and also expressed concern for those in special education and English-language learning.
School districts across California scored a big victory on Monday when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced an agreement with the Legislature on a 2020-21 state budget that will avoid the drastic cuts in school funding that initially were proposed in May, allowing the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education to sigh with relief Thursday as it adopted a budget for the next fiscal year. Continue reading “BUSD Spared From Big Budget Cuts for Now”