Why is the City of Burbank subsidizing BUSD needs?

Before the city council agrees to pay for almost a quarter of a million dollars in subsidies to the Family Service Agency and Boys and Girls Club for purposes that are clearly the responsibility of the school district instead, they need to ask three questions:

— Why them,

— How many students are in reality of benefit here, and,

— Isn’t this proposal just an easy excuse to keep funneling money to two politically well-connected local organizations, and also by circumventing the normal community grants process?

Here’s a citation from the staff report about the B&C. Note how this concern is clearly school district business:

Boys &  Girls Club  –  Drop-In  Middle  School  Program: Over  the  past  three  years,  BGC  has  provided  the  Drop-In  Middle  School  Program  at  all three  middle  schools  in  BUSD.    The  BGC  serviced  over  311  students  during  the  20142015  school  year  and  over  297  students  during  the  2015-2016  school  year.    Enrollment is  currently  at  322  students  for  the  2016-2017  school  year.    Based  on  survey  results, approximately  78%  of  the  students  in  year  one  and  90%  of  the  students  in  year  two attending  the  Drop-In  Middle  School  Program  are  Burbank  residents.    The  BGC  drop-in after  school  programs  also  continue  to  be  the  only  supervised  programs  available  on campus  for  middle  school  students.  Furthermore,  the  BGC’s  continued  presence  on  the middle  school  campuses  allows  them  to  build  strong  connections  with  the  students, which  makes  those  students  more  likely  to  participate  in  a  variety  of  other  valuable programs  that  the  BGC  offers  for  teens.    The  BGC  currently  has  thriving  teen  programs such  as  College  Bound,  Junior  Staff  and  Teen  Night  and  a  portion  of  that  success  can be  attributed  to  the  fact  that  they  are  able  to  maintain  a  connection  with  over  300  teens on  a  daily  basis  through  the  Drop-In  Middle  School  Program.    As  a  community,  it  is essential  that  we  strive  to  keep  teens  engaged  in  programs  that  will  enhance  and support their development as they become active members of the community.    

We’ve always hated that word “teens,” btw. Hated it then and hate it even more now. Besides the natural condescension, it’s most often used as bureaucratic cover for feel-good concerns that are either of little use and utility or don’t get much use.

Remember “Bridge, A Way Across”? That was another city funding favorite from long ago. Did anybody ever use it?

The BUSD has also has a rather shady history of getting money from the city for what should be its own expenses. Back in the mid-1990s, Kramer and McConkey (and journalist Rogers to a certain extent) finally put an end to the old practice of the City paying for the school board members’ luxurious car allowances, which ran about $400 a month each.

That subsidy was in fact an illegal commingling of school and city funds, in violation of Serrano v Priest at the very least. There should be a big wall between the schools and city government still.


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