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Report nails down Burbank school costs

Facilities director's research appears to show underfunded maintenance budget.

August 16, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

It will take up to $6.4 million per year to properly maintain Burbank schools, according to a recent report, a figure far beyond the reach of the current budget.

But Burbank Unified officials say that shortfall can be at least partially made up by funds from Measure S, the $110-million bond passed by voters in March. The school board began its discussion about how much should be set aside at its meeting Thursday.

“We’ve never assumed our facilities would be maintained in perpetuity with deferred maintenance dollars,” Board member Larry Applebaum said. “The bond is a capital investment in our facilities.”

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Applebaum said he and former board member Debbie Kukta sought a plan to deal with the growing issue shortly after he joined the school board in 2005, but none was forthcoming.

Two years later, when Roberta Reynolds was elected to the board, she said the district had $10 million in deferred maintenance funds, “But we had absolutely no plan.”

That plan now appears to be in the form of a months-long project taken on by Craig Bell, the district’s director of facilities. Bell sorted through old architect’s records to determine when the schools were built, as well as how long ago playgrounds and air conditioners were installed.

After tallying everything from the square footage of asphalt to the number of theater curtains and the reach of fences, Bell and his team calculated the cost of maintaining those items.

“This was a monumental task,” Bell said at the meeting.

Bell also calculated the cost of maintaining 150 security cameras scheduled to be installed across the district. At an initial cost at $360,000, those cameras may need replacement by 2025.

The plan also accounts for keeping up with the more than 34,000 lamps that light the hallways and classrooms. The LED lamps that officials are increasingly installing in Burbank schools can cost $40 currently but could increase to $88 by 2045.

The more than 1,600 telephones installed across the district may end up costing more than $7.6 million to maintain or replace through 2045, the report stated.

The report noted that these figures and estimates are based on current technology, and costs may increase or decrease based on future advances.

The school board is expected to finalize how much Measure S money to set aside over the next 12 months.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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