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.