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School board candidate Ted Bunch

January 29, 2011

Current school board member Ted Bunch has lived in Burbank for 24 years, and taught in Burbank Unified from 1962 to 1999. A military brat, Bunch attended Glendale Community College and San Fernando State College, eventually earning a general secondary credential, and a master's degree in counseling and guidance, which allowed him to teach a variety of subjects.

Bunch was first elected to the school board in 2003.

Why are you seeking reelection?

The Burbank Unified School District has been an integral part of my life, and I care about our schools and preparing our young people for their future. My background gives me an insight into how the schools function.

We have to keep the district solvent and continue to educate our students. It is important to keep the current board, which works very well together; that way we can continue to deal with the many problems facing the district while we keep instruction effective.

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What is the district currently doing well?

State test scores continue to go up, and all but one of our schools are above the state goal of 800 (and that school is at 797) [on the Academic Performance Index]. The board has taken action to lower the amount of taxes our citizens pay on their property tax bill. That will help senior citizens on fixed incomes.

We have excellent principals at all of our schools. Performing arts and athletic programs continue to be outstanding. Our dropout rate is lower that most school districts. Our special education programs function well, and we have several special schools for students with special needs.

Our adult school does an outstanding job. Burbank is recognized as an "Arts for All School District" by Los Angeles County.

What does the district need to improve upon?

We have a good [Regional Occupation Program], but we need more classes.

Although we have programs to help teachers be more effective and we have removed some ineffective teachers, we need to do a better job preparing our principals to make good decisions in hiring and evaluating teachers. It is better, but there is always room for improvement.

There are facilities issues that need to be addressed. We need to find a way to fund technological systems and training to help schools and teachers be more effective.

What solutions can you propose for the ongoing budget crisis?

We have made most of the non-personnel cuts that we can make. Eighty-six percent of our budget goes for salaries and benefits. Unfortunately, that is where most of the cuts will have to be made.

There are two ways to do that. You can decrease the number of people on the payroll, or you can cut the amount that each person receives. This is a problem that will have to be negotiated with our employee unions.

The only other course of action is to raise revenue, for example, by passing a bond or parcel tax. Passing a bond or parcel tax will take at least two years to prepare for and put before the voters in 2013.

If you are not elected, how will you continue to be involved with local schools?

I was involved before I was elected and will continue to be involved with our schools. I will stay available to mentor, consult and give my opinions when asked.

Name: Ted Bunch

Age: 72

Occupation: retired Burbank Unified school teacher

Endorsements: Did not solicit endorsements.

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