BURBANK TO HELP FUND SCHOOL FIELDS FOR GENERAL ACCESS.
The Burbank City Council has signed off on a $9.65 million deal with the local school district to open up its athletic fields for public use, while a Glendale school board member is seeking a similar agreement in his city.
The pact with the Burbank Unified School District unanimously approved Tuesday night by the council means the city will funnel some $9 million in improvements to the schools in exchange for public access.
"The benefit is, it goes right back to the residents," City Manager Mary Alvord said Wednesday. "If you live where the school is and the gates are open, it's like having a park in your backyard."
Terms, including opening hours, security and other details, will be negotiated later.
Burbank and John Burroughs high schools will receive artificial turf, a synthetic track and other improvements, while Jordan Middle School will get new turf, a parking lot and stadium seating.
At least $1 million will have to be collected through fundraising, city officials said. The remaining $650,000 will pay for existing shared facilities between the two agencies, including swimming pools and fields at other campuses.
While Burbank was finalizing its deal, Glendale Unified School District board member Greg Krikorian petitioned the Glendale City Council for more cooperation.
Among the projects he proposed was to redevelop Columbus Elementary School in primarily working-class south Glendale to include a community center and a public park.
"We have to sit down and talk as elected officials and look at how we can better serve the community," he said Wednesday.
Both agencies have agreements to share swimming pools at the high schools and in 2001-02 jointly developed the Edison School/Pacific Park Project, a campus with shared libraries, playing fields and parking.
GUSD Superintendent Michael Escalante and City Manager Jim Starbird also maintain a good working relationship. But Krikorian said communication between the school board and the council could be better.
"We're far overdue for a joint meeting with the City Council," said Krikorian, who ran for the council recently and lost.