The Burbank Unified School District (BUSD) has announced a new Early Notification Incentive for members of the Burbank Teacher Association (BTA) who plan to retire or separate at the end of the 2023-2024 school year. This announcement has stirred up varying opinions among community members and political groups who claim BUSD is wasting funds. BUSD is proposing a nearly one-half billion dollar bond measure on the ballot in November 2024, yet the district has been accused of rampant overspending.
The Incentive Program
Under the guidance of Pasadena resident Sarah Rudchenko, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, the BUSD will offer a one-time bonus of $1,000 to BTA union members who submit their separation agreement before January 19, 2024. The resignation must be irrevocable, effective on June 30, 2024. This measure, aiming to streamline the district’s staffing and budgeting process for the next academic year, has a cap of $40,000 for the total incentive payout.
The program’s fiscal impact is calculated based on the number of employees submitting their separation form before the deadline, with a maximum budget allocation of $40,000. This strategy is designed for the 2023-2024 Fiscal year and is not intended to set a precedent for future retirement incentives.
The incentive program has drawn criticism from some Republican community members, who view it as an effort to push out experienced, more conservative teachers. They argue that this move, allegedly orchestrated by Sarah Rudchenko and supported by union leaders at the BTA, is a ploy to replace outgoing staff with more liberal-leaning educators.
Critics point to Rudchenko’s history with the Pasadena Unified School District and her current residence outside of Burbank as potential biases influencing her decision-making. They contend that this initiative, funded by taxpayers, could be part of a broader strategy by the BTA to advance a more liberal agenda within the school district.
BUSD wants property owners to foot the bill for yet another property tax to pay for nearly half a billion dollars in bond debt. The bond measure will be on the November 2024 ballot and put in front of voters. Critics say the woes of BUSD relate to too much division, the waste of money on DEI, and the problems with the state funding formula that rewards districts with huge incentives of additional money for English learners, foster children, and special needs children; of which Burbank has fewer as city that reportedly has many nuclear families.
The Burbank Unified School District, however, maintains that the incentive is a strategic approach to manage staffing transitions smoothly and ensure fiscal responsibility. They emphasize that the program is designed with the district’s long-term financial health in mind and is not indicative of any political agenda.
As the debate continues, the BUSD Board of Education is expected to review and vote on the proposal. This decision is poised to have significant implications for the district’s educational landscape and its community relationships in the coming years.Read the Report to the Burbank Unified School District Board