Let’s Talk March 2019

Q: In reading the articles on Ed100 we can find: Ed100 – 8.7: “Under [the Every Student Succeeds Act] ESSA, the Federal education law updated at the end of the Obama administration, school districts are obligated to disclose actual expenditures at the individual school level.”  Where can we find these expenditures for our schools?

A: This information will be included in next year’s School Accountability Report Card (SARC). However, you can see high-level per-pupil expenditures in the current SARCs: https://www.burbankusd.org/District/1210-sarc.html

Q: We’ve heard on more than one occasion that when budget cuts will be made, they will start away from the classrooms.  Career and Technical Education (CTE) classes are on the chopping block and not any other classes (academy, AP, honors).  Why?  Also, if/when donations from BEF are received, will they be used to restore CTE classes first because they are classroom cuts?

A: We did start furthest away from the classroom, but given the size of the deficit, programs and supports that impact the classroom had to be identified. CTE was included because we do not receive enough funding to maintain all of the courses that we offer. We submitted a proposal for a State grant and will be able to provide an update at the April 4th Board meeting. If we do not receive the grant, we will have a discussion with the Board about using BEF funding as an option.

Q: At the Town hall meeting, we were told that the elimination of three music teachers would save the district $300,000. Is that correct or do we need $250,000 to save those three positions? If so, what is the district going to cut to address that additional $50,000?

A: The amount discussed at the town hall was $275,328. You can access the presentation here:


Q: Can you give us a list of 4 school districts in Southern California that are similar to Burbank in size, socio-economic status, and ELL population?

A: You can use
Ed-Data.org to create comparisons based on the criteria you are interested in
comparing: https://www.ed-data.org/Comparisons?compType=districts

Q: My friend’s daughter goes to Providencia and learns the recorder, the violin and the cello. Why isn’t this offered at all of the elementary schools?

A: Providencia uses
site funds/donations to provide their program. We do not have enough funding to
offer this type of program districtwide. More State funding or a parcel tax would
allow us to expand instrumental music instruction at all of our elementary

Q: Why are students learning to play by ear instead of teaching them to read and play music written on a staff? Why aren’t students learning how to read music?

A: This was discussed during the February Let’s Talk: https://www.burbankcouncilpta.org/lets-talk-february-2019/

Q: Who is responsible for evaluating the curriculum for the elementary music program? What criteria is used to determine the effectiveness of the curriculum? 

A: At the District
level, the Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services oversees the
curriculum for the elementary music program. The elementary music teachers meet
each year to review the curriculum. The elementary music teachers determine if
the curriculum is standards-based and reasonable.

Q: Does the Charms [software] Instrument inventory include the condition of the instruments and has that been updated for the BUSD instruments?  Is that based on standard criteria that everyone is using across the district?  Is this a public document that we can see?

A: The Charms inventory
includes a section to rate the condition of the instrument. A draft of standard
criteria that ranges from “New” to “Poor”
has been developed and shared with the
teachers. The document is being refined and is not a public document at this

Q: You have talked about music education in the Santa Monica schools in the past. In Santa Monica, they seem to offer instrumental instruction in grades 3-5. Is that taught by a dedicated music teacher or a classroom teacher? Do you know if they offer any specific music education for grades k/1/2 or is it up to the classroom teacher?

A: A summary of the visual and performing arts programs offered by the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District can be found here:http://www.smmusd.org/vapa/index.html

Q: There has been a lot of effort made to save the elementary music program.  I looked at the BUSD curriculum online. For 4th grade, it says “read, write and perform melodic notation for simple songs in major keys using solfege (scales)” and “Use instruments to play melodies.”  To get an “E”, students need to “display proficiency in applying standard/s covered.”  However, the system prevents students from getting an E because they are not providing instruments and not being taught how to “read, write and perform melodic notation for simple songs in major keys” or giving students grades that they have not met based on the posted curriculum.  Will that change with the additional money being raised for music teachers?

A: Students are
able to earn a “C”, “S”, or “R” on
the report card. The grade is in the performing arts category of the report
card and includes music, dance, and drama
as one combined grade. The C means consistently demonstrates, the “S” means
sometimes demonstrates, and the “R” means rarely demonstrates. We grade
students based on the materials/instruments (orbs, etc.) that are provided. The money being raised for music teachers is not additional. The money will enable the District to maintain its
current program.

Q: [BUSD School board member] Mr. Ferguson asked for a report explaining the BUSD/BPD procedure that is used when there is a threat on a campus.  Can you share that with us?

A: Please contact matthill@burbankusd.org
to discuss directly.

Q: How is it decided how many yard supervisors each school gets?

A: A formula was
developed based on student enrollment, the daily schedule by morning minutes,
recess minutes, lunch minutes and after school
minutes, and school layout. The school receives an annual allocation from which
the yard supervision schedule and number of yard supervisors is determined. Schools have the autonomy to use
their site funds to hire additional yard supervisors.

Q: When the dual enrollment program is expanded, will it include courses that meet the a-g requirements? Are there classes at GCC and LAVC that students can take during the summer to meet requirements like Health or World History or other classes that students take during the summer to open up their regular schedules? How do we find out which classes meet the requirements for BUSD graduation?  Do these dual enrollment programs affect the budget? Are there additional costs for them?

A: The District is
working to expand the dual enrollment program. The priorities are to offer
classes that are transferable to a four- year university and to offer Career
Technical Education courses that lead to a certificate program at the community
college. In order for a college course to
satisfy the UC a-g requirement, it has to be transferable and apply to the
specific discipline. A long-term goal is for the District is to offer courses
that could be used to satisfy UC a-g requirements. This is also a function of funding, although the District shares
the cost of the dual enrollment courses with the colleges.

Q: You explained that whatever is raised to save the things that are scheduled to be cut this year, will need to be raised again next year. You also explained that in order to give teachers a cost of living raise, you would need to make an additional $3 million in cuts. During the 2019-2020 school year, when will you let us know what those cuts will be so we have more time to do fundraising?

A: Additional cuts will be identified by the first budget
update in December.

Q: The state assemblywoman spoke at the school board meeting but the numbers that she referred to regarding per-pupil spending seem to be different than the numbers that we have been hearing. Can you share with us your understanding of those discrepancies?

A: Our charts have
been from Ed-Data https://www.ed-data.org/.
I do not know what source the Assemblymember used.

Q: Why is there a test in PE in 5th grade?  Is it required by the California Department of Education?  In which grades are children required to do State Testing in PE?

A: It is required by the California Department of
Education in grades 5, 7 and 9. https://pftdata.org/files/pft-pgtu.pdf  FAQs https://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/pf/pft11fasqa.asp

Q: Are there rules about hanging banners on school fences?  Where are those rules?

A: Yes, the Burbank Unified School District Administrative Regulation for banners can be accessed here: AR 1325 https://legistarweb-production.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/attachment/pdf/297712/Policy_Updates_AR_1325_3290_2nd_Read_020719.pdf

Q: I am reaching out to you to ask for some clarification regarding some questions I have with the Parent / Student High School Guide 2018-2019. I was on the Burroughs website and searching for a course description for more information and found the document below.  However, it led to as many questions, as there seem to be many errors in the document.  Is this document reviewed each year and updated? In terms of Mathematics, I do not see the course – Intro to College Math listed?  There is a course titled College Prep Math, however, that is listed for 11-12 graders. Intro to College Math is listed on the 10th grade course selection paperwork. In Science, there is no course listed at Earth & Space Science and Physics and it is listed only for 11-12th graders.  Also the guide does not seem to specify which science course meet the requirements for the biological science vs the physical science. Is there a reason that 11th grade honors English is only offered at Burbank High? I also noticed that the Table of Contents does not have the correct page numbers. https://www.burbankusd.org/files/user/8/file/Course%20Description%20Guide%202018-2019%20(1).pdf

A: The course
description guide is currently being updated
as there have been many changes over the last couple of years. Some of the
course titles have been renamed or replaced. There are also instances where a
course could now be available to multiple grade levels. Lastly, there are some courses that are only available
at one high school and not the other due to staffing or interest. It is a
process that involves district staff, site administrators, department chairs
and teachers. The expectation is to have a new course description guide for the

Q: First, I wanted to say that I am excited to hear that Burroughs / the district is exploring the idea of possible scheduling changes to help our students.  I am sorry that this question is due prior to the presentation that will be given on Wednesday night at Open House and I wish I had more information about the current proposal for the academic excellence/tutorial period.  I feel that that is a wonderful opportunity to revisit the BASIC California State higher education schools MINIMUM requirements for acceptance and an opportunity to help our college-bound students to meet these requirements without having to take summer school, zero period or have NO elective other than a language.  Has it even been discussed about the possibility of making a 7th period by taking away a few minutes from each current class?  This 7th period could serve as a time for a language  / a second elective OR  if the student had an F or D the semester prior require that the student takes a study hall class as independent by the academic excellence/tutorial period.  In the past, it has seemed that the district is too concerned with 100% graduation rate and does not want to work on a schedule that requires all students to take a language, even though surrounding and larger districts have managed to tackle this challenge to prepare their students for higher education.  This option of a student hall / second elective or language in a 7th period might just be the best compromise. 

A: John Burroughs
High School has been exploring an intervention period based on the professional development and research that
has occurred at the site over the last two years. They have recently been
securing input from parents and students. The school is open to suggestions as
the site is in the planning stage. This would be a great time to meet with the
principal and share all new ideas.

Q: How much did the district pay to outside consultants during the 2017-2018 school year and the 2018-2019 school year to date?  Where does that funding come from and how can the district continue paying outside consultants given the 3.5 million budget deficit projected for the 2019-2020 school year?  Also, what are these consultants offering, what expertise are they bringing to our students?

A: The District spent
$6,195,008 in 2017-18 and has spent $3,944,976 in 2018-19 to date.  The funding comes from General fund
unrestricted and restricted dollars (i.e., federal funding, Special Ed, and
gifts).  The services include legal,
professional development, translation, etc.

Q: I am concerned regarding the Boosters dissolving and what that means in regards to each school’s finance person taking over each area such as instrumental music committees as it will be now. How will one FT person have time to help with finances for every booster such as this? It seems like at one school you are adding a minimum of a PT position into the staff; I just don’t think it’s realistic for her to have to handle so much more. It seems like the Booster board that’s dissolving should be paid positions continue to create over site or at least hire the extra staff at each school to help handle the overburden of extra work. I came from an elementary school that I believe had corruption previously on its booster finances prior to the district booster creation. This might be fine if they figure out a way to handle it with oversight, but it also concerns me.

A: The District does
not have the budget to hire a separate employee to help with the finances and
manage site-based fundraising. However, current District staff will be involved
in assisting schools with oversight and guidance during the transition from
BSBA to the site-based “Fundraising Committee” model.

At the secondary
level, much of the in-place current processes and procedures will not change
significantly. We will work with the site finance managers and ASBs to manage
finances and monetary transactions. Fundraising Committees will operate
similarly, but through Club Trust accounts.         

At the elementary
level, organizations that were under BSBA will be replaced by site-based fundraising committees, which will
operate under the guidance and support of principals. Office managers would be
involved with collecting funds raised and depositing them into site-based
District gift accounts.

If you are aware or
concerned about fraud, please contact the
BUSD Fraud Hotline at 1-888-372-8325