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Glendale / Burbank Focus

BURBANK : Adult School Says It's in the Black for Year

August 25, 1993|ED BOND

A sudden loss of federal funds left the Burbank Adult School with an $85,000 shortfall last year, but some tightfisted money management has brought the program back into the black for the start of a 1993-94 school year, school officials said Tuesday.

But enrollment for English as a Second Language classes has dropped by as many as 800 students in recent years and clerical staff had to be cut from a 12- to 11-month schedule as the school struggled to meet the shortfall this year, said Ann Brooks, director of adult education for the Burbank Unified School District.

The adult school, with an annual budget of $1.4 million, had been planning on about $100,000 in federal immigration amnesty funding--used for ESL classes--for the 1992-93 school year. But the funding was cut to $15,000 at the beginning of the year when teachers had already been hired, said Sharon Hoaglund, fiscal services administrator for the school district.

"Everyone knew that it was going to be a very lean year," Brooks said.

In the late 1980s, federal immigration amnesty money, made available because of reforms in federal immigration laws, had provided up to $400,000 annually for the school, Brooks said. From the 1990-91 to 1991-92 school years, that funding dropped from $267,000 to $100,000, Hoaglund said. School officials do not expect to get any of the funding in 1993-94. Other federal and state sources help fund the school and its ESL program.

"I have a staff that was very frugal and very careful," Brooks said. "They did a great job of working on a shoestring budget for this year."

With a better financial situation, Brooks said she is looking forward to buying new television and video equipment and computer software as well as expanding the course selection for the entire school.

The school had 25 ESL classes with mostly Spanish- or Armenian-speaking students in 1992-93, down from 32 classes the previous year, Brooks said. Enrollment dropped from about 2,500 in 1991-92 to 1,800 in 1992-93.

The school will offer as many ESL classes this year, thanks in part to the cost-saving measures, but 150 to 200 people remain on the waiting list, Brooks said.

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