Vahe Hovanessian wears a lot of hats. Community activist, volunteer, parent, and practicing attorney are some of them. Still, Hovanessian is out campaigning to convince the voters his experience and ideas are what are needed on the Burbank School Board. Hovanessian says he has a strong commitment to Burbank Unified School District. He attended Burbank schools and has a child in 1st grade. Hovanessian’s answers to the questions I emailed out to most of the school board candidates are below.
1. What are the biggest problems facing the Burbank School District? And what solutions do you have for those problems?
One of the biggest concerns facing the Burbank school district is the budget. Important issues that must be addressed include reducing class sizes, expanding programs and enhancing employee compensation all in an extremely limited budget environment. The District must adjust accordingly.
I am a product of our Burbank schools, a parent of two children, a practicing attorney and community volunteer. I am vested in making sure our District works as a team and continues to work hard for our kids. I will listen, learn and question with the goal of benefiting our kids by maximizing every dollar.
I am running to use my insight and knowledge to be the best trustee for our community and to provide the best opportunities for all our kids. The state law mandate of reducing class sizes must be planned for carefully. I will seek to prioritize projects to meet the goals set forth by State law. Current programs must be maintained, supported and increased. I will support the District’s arts for all plans. I will fairly and appropriately support compensation increases for employees within the District’s funding capabilities.
2. What are the skills and experience you have acquired that make you the best candidate for a seat on the Burbank School Board?
As a parent of a 1st grader and preschooler, I know that the stakes are high when it comes to the future of our children. I have the passion, education, experience, leadership and dedication needed to ensure our schools remain strong. My experience will provide constructive, positive and beneficial contributions during deliberation toward building consensus.
I have significant knowledge and experience in serving our community as member and chair of the Planning Board and Water & Power Board over the past decade. I have been involved in many years of budget review for both the City and the District.
For the last five years I have served on the School Facilities Oversight Committee (SFOC). I began in 2010 with the remaining leveraged funds from the prior bond and was chair during the period of 2012 to 2013 when the current bond was passed. When the new Measure S oversight committee was formed in April 2013, I was unanimously elected Chair and served until June of 2014. I continue to serve on the SFOC today.
I have actual experience ensuring that the school bond funds are used wisely because I have overseen years of expenditures and have a proficient and informed understanding about how things have been done. I will hit the ground running, and be able to identify and suggest improvements to process and procedure with the knowledge that things can be done even better.
3. Does your educational background and experience give you a unique insight or perspective?
Yes, my educational background and experience gives me a unique insight or perspective. I am a lifelong Burbank resident, practicing attorney, product of our Burbank schools and an involved BUSD parent. My experiences as member and chair of the SFOC, Burbank Planning Board, BWP Board, as well as a Rotarian, a Friend of the Burbank Library, a volunteer for the Burbank Literacy Services department and a community activist have allowed me to develop the important relationships and trusted leadership needed to serve as a trustee. As an attorney, I am an expert at understanding and navigating the complex laws and policies that come before our Board and I will provide valuable guidance, perspective and leadership in this regard.
Q & A with other school board candidates