Burbank Residents Upset Over Proposed Armenian Charter School

Residents argue the school would also clog streets with traffic and parked cars, since the 30-car parking lot would have to suffice for a staff that handles an expected 120 students

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Residents in a Burbank neighborhood are feeling left out after the city's school board recently gave preliminary approval of a plan to build a charter school for students of Armenian heritage. John Cádiz Klemack reports from Burbank for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 20, 2014. (Published Friday, Jun 20, 2014)

    Neighbors are lashing out against a proposed charter school in Burbank that would cater to Armenian students because they feel they weren't given proper notice about the plan.

    The Burbank Unified School Board on June 5 conditionally approved Giligia Charter Academy to fill a vacant property in the 3900 block of Burbank Boulevard near Hollywood Way by September.

    "This is the most robust public hearing that I've ever experienced on this board," Burbank Unified Superintendent Jan Britz said. "So this is kind of fun."

    But some neighbors of the property had a different view of the proposed school.

    "I was very angry, very upset," resident Gina Walker said. "No one knew about it. That's the whole thing. No one knew what was going on ... No one told us that this was even an idea in the making and now it's going through a phase of an approval?"

    Residents argue the school would also clog streets with traffic and parked cars, since the 30-car parking lot would have to suffice for a staff that handles an expected 120 students.

    "This is going to impact the neighborhood, it is," neighbor Gene Kendrick said. "You're gonna see a lot more people parking around here."

    The school would house K-12 students and would be just feet from homes. The only entrance and exit to the small parking lot is from an alleyway.

    But supporters feel the school is a necessity.

    "Because of the new immigrants that keep coming in, there's such a lack of...such a big cultural difference between where they're coming from and where they're at now," said Julia Yeranossian-Aghishian, a petitioner for the Giligia Charter Academy.

    The idea of making a public school exclusive to Armenians also has some crying foul considering the district could lose more than $800,000 in revenue.

    "Everybody should be welcomed to go," Walker said.

    The June 5 school board meeting was reportedly packed with supporters but opponents said that was only because they didn't know about it.

    Residents hope their voices are heard before the district makes a final decision on July 17.

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