Let’s Talk February 2020

Q. Are there security plans in place for the four schools that will have polling [during the March 3rd election]?

A: Yes, we are providing extra campus supervision and restricting access to the campus. Restrooms will be open to poll workers only.

Q. Are the School Facilities Oversight Committee (SFOC) meetings open to the public?

A: Yes.

Q. Do all the schools have kilns?  How many schools integrate clay projects into core subjects?

A: Yes, all the schools are equipped with kilns. Schools and teachers work towards ensuring students are receiving instruction based on State Standards. What media, projects, or experiences are chosen to achieve this is up to the school site and individual teachers. The District does not track or mandate specific projects, which allows us to teach to identified needs.

Q. If Measure I passes and fundraising can begin for new programs, instead of having parent groups randomly funding pilot programs that they think are valuable, can the district look at areas where they would like to pilot programs but cannot afford to, and can the District provide a list of those programs to parent groups to consider raising funds for?  (The District knows more about what programs would more easily be expanded to all the schools and what logistics are required.)

A: The Board and I have been starting conversations regarding fundraising. We will be soliciting feedback and developing policies and procedures for the District to follow going forward.

Q. If Measure I doesn’t pass, what happens to the ban on new programs? Will PTAs and Parent Fundraising groups be able to start new programs again?

A: No, fundraising will focus on mitigating cuts or maintaining existing programs.

Q. If Measure I passes, will the District be able to afford to have a full or part-time position dedicated to Program and Fundraising oversight?

A: If Measure I passes, we will look at our current budget situation and then prioritize needs.

Q. In the elementary music classes, do the teachers teach the standards that are required by the State of California?

A: Yes, the teachers are providing standards-basedd instruction in music. For more specific information on what standards are being addressed with your student, please contact the music teacher.

Q. If the [elementary school] music teachers are credentialed, why aren’t they grading the students?

A: The music grade is not a separate grade on the report card, but rather part of a grade that also includes dance and drama. The music teacher can’t speak to all components of the grade. In addition, it would take time away from music instruction, which is limited.

Q. Do the PE teachers grade the students or do the classroom teachers grade the students in PE?

A: Yes, the PE teachers grade the students in PE.

Q. Is it a state requirement that cursive be taught?

A: Yes, it is a California Standard for writing in grade 3. Penmanship: 1.2 Write legibly in cursive or joined italic, allowing margins and correct spacing between letters in a word and words in a sentence.

Q. At the beginning of the year, at a meeting with the principal, a parent asked, “Are you going to work to address the lack of consistency in grading from teacher to teacher when teaching the same class? Can uniform rubrics be implemented?” As colleges consider eliminating SAT scores from the admissions process, this becomes more significant. What plans does the District have to address this issue?

A: The District has already begun to have discussions with departments about grading and the importance of being consistent across the grade level and content area. If you have a concern with a particular teacher’s grading practices, meet with the teacher first to understand the grading system.

Q. If a student completes Algebra 1 in 7th grade, can they take a year off of math and take geometry in 9th grade?  Or are they required to take three years of math in middle school?  Are the middle school math requirements that a student take three years of math or that the student complete Math 6, 7, and 8? By completing the advanced 6th grade math course, haven’t they met the middle school math requirements?

A: According to Board Policy 6146.5, the student must take 6 semesters of math. It does not differentiate between levels.

Q. One parent told me that the dual enrollment classes offered by the BUSD were requested by BUSD. Another parent told me that the dual enrollment classes were assigned to BUSD by the junior college. Which parent is correct? If BUSD chose these classes, what criteria did they use when they made the request?

A: Each spring, the District meets with college staff to determine the courses. It is the District that makes the request of the college. This request is based on student interest, Career Technical Education pathways, transferability to a university, and the capacity of the college to provide an instructor.

Q. If the government cannot provide enough money to pay for   K – 12 schools, where is it getting the money to provide free tuition for all of the students at the junior colleges?

A: The government has decided this is a higher priority than investing more in K-12 schools. If you have concerns, please contact your elected official.

Q. My son has team practice after school at 4 pm and went to the library to study for an hour until his practice. He was told by the librarian that he is not allowed to study in the library after school. His friend doesn’t have a 5th period class, and he went to the library to study during 5th period. The librarian told him that he was not allowed to study in the library. I would understand if there was no adult supervision, but if the librarian is working, why can’t the kids study in the library?

A: Both principals confirm that if a student comes after school to study, they are always allowed. If a student does not have a period 5 or a period 6, they can come in and study. However, if the library is reserved for a class, the students may be relocated to an area that is not being used by the class.

Q. Can a student take an online class (dual enrollment class from LAVC or GCC or an online class from a university) at BHS or JBHS in the library or in the computer lab after school or during the extended nutrition time at JBHS?

A: Presently, that is not an option. The college also has to have the capacity to provide this. When we researched the possibility of an online course for this semester’s offerings, they could not accommodate us. Plus, it would require additional funding if the students are to have access to the labs or library after school.

Q. In Stage, Film, and Television, there are union rules and CA state workplace rules that protect workers regarding things like meal times and “turn around” times.  Does BUSD have any policy about how many consecutive hours students in the performing arts and students supporting them in Tech, can rehearse?  Are there any policies about how much time students should have to sleep before they return to school the next day?

A: No, the District does not have a policy about consecutive hours or turn-around time. However, it is the Director’s responsibility to ensure that students get adequate breaks and that students are getting proper rest. Concerns should be directed to the Performing Arts Director. If the problem persists, it should be brought to the attention of the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services.

Q. If Prop 13 passes, does BUSD expect to receive any funds from that?

A: To be determined, but based on the proposal, it appears that higher need districts will get the funds before us, so it is unlikely we will receive any facility funding.

Q. What Career Technical Education (CTE) classes were eliminated as a result of QS not passing?

A: None – we received a grant to maintain our CTE programs.

Q. If there is a music teacher at your elementary school that truly all the kids are complaining about to the extent that they say things like “I hate music,” and you know this has been going on for years as they have been moved from school to school, what course of action can we take? When reporting this to our principal, they just say, “I know, but they have seniority and we can’t do anything.” But to create a hate of music at such a young age is tragic. Just because they aren’t doing anything inappropriate, we have no recourse? We just ride it out until they retire?

A: If you feel the principal has not taken the concern seriously, please contact Peter Knapik, Elementary Director, and he will arrange a conversation with the teacher and principal.

Q. Recently security measures have been added to entry points at the district office and even the facilities building.  What is the justification for adding these measures to district offices and buildings? Has there been violent activity or even threats of violence to justify the expense and the erosion of the perception that Burbank is a peaceful community. What is the cost of these measures and how was it paid for?

A: We conducted a safety audit a couple of years ago, and have been implementing the recommendations over time. We started with the schools, now that all schools have an entry camera we have now installed them at the district office and service center. The total cost was $58,000 and it was paid for out of Bond funds.

Q. Dr. Hill emailed a PowerPoint to all Burbank families today that showed the financial challenges the District is having.  On the list of cuts, the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) Coordinator was not listed.  Is the GATE program going to be cut back if Measure I does not pass?  Why isn’t the GATE Coordinator on this list?

A: The official title of that position is Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), which is on the list. That position has already been frozen and will be eliminated if Measure I does not pass.

Q. [If Measure I does not pass] Is the Elementary Music program going to be eliminated or reduced to every other week?

A: For 2020-21, three teachers will be eliminated, which means only 4th and 5th grade will receive music instruction.