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School board recall effort is on again

May 18, 2002

Maya Kukes

CIVIC CENTER -- The history-making effort to recall all five members

of the Burbank Unified School District has been renewed.

Although the notice of intent to circulate a recall petition was not

given to the city clerk's office until Friday, board members were handed

their notices as they filed into Thursday night's school board meeting.

A group of community members first filed an intent to recall on March

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29, but it was quickly discovered that it had too few signatures: It had

10 and needed 50.

The intent states that the recall group has lost confidence in the

school board's ability to "lead, listen and make appropriate decisions

affecting the future of our children, including but not limited to your

grossly inept handling of the recent budget issues facing the district."

The district is facing a $3-million deficit and has been working to

rectify mistakes made by the previous fiscal management team, as well as

the rising cost of special education and worker compensation. The board

is six weeks from approving a presently unfinished 2002-03 budget.

"A few weeks ago, they wanted to recall us for dismissing the

superintendent," board vice president Trish Burnett said. "Now they want

to recall us for following the budget recommendations of that

superintendent."

Burnett said she is not overly concerned about the recall intent but

is troubled that the school district would have to pay for a recall

election. City Clerk Margarita Campos estimated the cost of an election

to be $100,000 -- roughly the salary of two teachers. Campos added that

the recall could be on the ballot in February.

Newly elected board president Richard Raad said he was disappointed

that the intent to recall was back in motion.

"I thought we were moving in a good direction," Raad said. "I'm a

little surprised there is still this sentiment. I thought things were

starting to be worked out and that we could move forward together."

Raad said he, too, was concerned about the cost of the election.

"We're talking about people's salaries here," Raad said. "Now we're

going to have to think about reducing more."

Janet White, one of the recall group members, declined to comment.

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