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Burbank Education Officials' 'Sorry Record'

May 15, 1994

The Times is barking up the wrong tree when it accuses Burbank voters of being "shortsighted and miserly" for rejecting a $100-million school bond (Valley Perspective, May 1).

The blame belongs squarely on school district officials who operate the system much as the Marx Brothers would. Burbank voters know their sorry record; you obviously do not.

It's hypocrisy for you to ignore Burbank Unified School District activities for years and then have a naive reporter weep and wail after a short public relations tour of one high school.

And its dishonest of someone to print letters like Reed Wilcox's "School Board Not Racist in Removing Hentel" (May 1) without properly identifying him. Did the fact that he's the husband of, and chief apologist for, a member of the school board he defends escape you?

Burbank's population is changing too rapidly for some in the "Leave It to Beaver" generation who see increased minority enrollment as a direct threat. Rather than going public with their concerns, they privately conspired with a compliant and cowardly school board to demote Hentel.

Keiko Hentel was a superb administrator--sensitive to the needs of her students, parents, her colleagues and the entire community. No one can climb into their minds and honestly say that removing Hentel was a racist act by the board, but the sorry record of the district in hiring and promoting minorities to the upper-level jobs speaks for itself: Of the 49 top jobs in the district (i.e., those with money and power) none are filled by Hispanics, Asians or blacks. Of the 560 certificated personnel, there are 18 Hispanics, five blacks and nine Asians.

TED McCONKEY

Burbank

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