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Approval of Measure S means Burbank Unified officials will have $110 million to spend

Battle won, district preps to issue bonds

March 12, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • School board President Larry Applebaum, left, on election night. He was praised by his colleagues for being a driving force behind the successful Measure S campaign.
School board President Larry Applebaum, left, on election… (Cheryl A. Guerrero/Staff…)

With Measure S proponents still basking in the afterglow of a solid election victory, Burbank Unified officials will start laying the groundwork for preparing the $110 million bond issuance the measure calls for.

District staff will meet with financial advisors Friday to construct a timeline that could see the school board issuing the first set of bonds in June, according to Assistant Supt. Christine Statton.

Officials are also accepting applications for interested parties to join the bond's oversight committee, said Burbank Unified spokeswoman Kimberley Clark.

The application period closes April 1 and the committee could have up to nine members, she said. The final members would be announced at the April 18 school board meeting.

The bond was approved with more than 60% of the vote, putting it well above the 55% threshold needed to pass and giving district officials a clear sense of endorsement for improving classrooms they say are in serious need of repair.

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At the school board meeting last week, Burbank school board President Larry Applebaum choked back tears as he reflected on the weeks of campaigning that went into passing Measure S.

“It was a very long road to get there and the road started with trying to convince the people on this dais that it was a need because they were some of my harshest critics,” Applebaum said, adding that school board member Ted Bunch told him the Burbank community “will never do it.”

During Thursday's meeting, however, Bunch publicly thanked Applebaum for initiating the discussion about going after the bond, and then serving as a driving force behind the campaign.

“The reason that that measure passed was that [Applebaum] was a real pain in the backside for a long time, kept bringing it up and talking about it … and we got there,” Bunch said.

Fellow school board member Dave Kemp also thanked former Mayor Marsha Ramos, who served as chairwoman of the campaign.

Ramos later publicly called on the board and district staff to remain transparent as they oversee the districtwide projects the bond will soon fund, such as updating roofs and plumbing and making energy upgrades to school facilities.

“We all hope for increased transparency, accountability, efficiency and quality workmanship,” Ramos said.

Applebaum encouraged those who opposed Measure S — 2,542 residents voted against the bond — to join its oversight committee.

“My challenge to those who voted no is that if you want to be part of the process to make sure that things are done right, then be part of the process,” he said.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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