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Community Commentary -- Tony De Felicis

April 17, 2002

In my quest for a seat on the Board of Education in 1997, I had the

great opportunity to meet and discuss district issues with former Burbank

Unified School District Supt. David Aponik. David impressed me as a very

personable man who was very concerned about the welfare and education of

our children. David was also an extremely likable man. I have to admit, I

have been thrilled that we have had a man with his heart and passion

leading our school district through many positive changes.

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However, likewise back in 1997, I ran for the Board of Education

against two of our current board members, Connie Lackey and Trish

Burnett. I had the chance to get to know them personally, debate against

them, and grow in my respect for their desire to serve our district with

excellence. In addition, five years ago I spent time discussing district

issues with board member Mike McDonald, while also having the opportunity

to meet briefly with Elena Hubbell at several events. It has been since

that time that community enthusiast Richard Raad has joined these

servants to make up our current board of education.

It is without a doubt in my mind that these five public servants have

the best interest of our school district as their top priority. Just look

at the positive changes and achievements that have taken place over the

past eight years. They are too numerous to state in this letter.

Think about this for a moment: how do all five of these board members,

who are independent thinkers, who represent a variety of political

persuasions, and who have served our community through a multitude of

different community organizations, stand united as one in this current

dilemma with our former superintendent? Does that tell you anything? It

tells me they may have knowledge of issues that the public has yet to

hear.

It has been said that it can be "very lonely at the top" when you are

elected as a public servant. And, as a leader too, I know at times you

have to make tough decisions, even when circumstances can make your

decision very unpopular. A strong leader needs to stand by the personal

convictions he or she believes are best for the greater cause and for the

sake of the overall vision.

All the facts regarding this conflict between the board of education

and Aponik have not been released, and it is my guess they won't be

released until the board has legal rights to do so. In the meantime, it

is absolutely foolish to protest a decision we know little about, and

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