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Effort to Ease Pressure on Lower Grades : Burbank School Changes Urged

March 07, 1987|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

John Burroughs and Burbank high schools, both three-year schools, have room to accommodate ninth-grade students and be converted to four-year high schools, Burbank school officials have concluded.

The district is leaning toward establishing middle schools to help overcome increasing costs and gradually increasing enrollment at elementary schools.

Under the middle-school plan, four-year high schools would be formed, junior highs would handle sixth through eighth grades instead of seventh through ninth grades and elementary schools would be scaled back to kindergarten through fifth grades.

District officials say the reconfiguration would make it more efficient for them to handle students. Closing one junior high school would save money, but district officials are leaning against school closures.

Sufficient Facilities

A report released Thursday said that Burbank and Burroughs have enough classrooms, gymnasiums and other facilities to handle the projected enrollment in 1989 for ninth through 12th grades. But Burbank High might have to expand its counseling-guidance and administrative facilities if the conversion is implemented, the report said.

The three-month study coordinated by James Perino, the district's assistant superintendent of instruction, was part of a series of reports to the school board dealing with the proposed realignment, Supt. Wayne Boulding said. Subsequent reports will be on staffing, curriculum and distances students would have to travel.

Decision After Election

A decision on the reconfiguration will not be made until several months after the election this April of three board members, Boulding said. "We're looking at early 1988 at the earliest for possible implementation," he said.

The school board last year asked for studies on reorganization, and the costs and implications of implementing the program at two of the district's three high schools. Monterey is the district's other high school.

Burbank High has 1,419 students. Enrollment for the school, if converted to handle ninth through 12th grades, is estimated at 1,771.

At Burroughs, 1,384 students are enrolled. Under the reconfiguration, the enrollment would increase to 1,736, the report said.

Costs for Conversion

If would cost from $14,540 to $68,540 to convert Burroughs to a four-year school, and $97,762 to $147,762 for Burbank, Perino said. The cost would depend on whether the schools switched from a six-period day to a seven-period day, and if one classroom at the schools is set aside for three teachers to use for conferences.

The district's enrollment has decreased from a peak of almost 17,000 in the 1950s to about 11,400 now.

A board-appointed committee that proposed the reconfiguration also recommended that the district close as many as three schools to save money. But board members said they hope they don't have to close any.

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