A veteran Burbank police officer, a retired deputy state attorney general and several educators are among the dozen applicants looking to fill a vacant seat on the Burbank Unified school board.

The district is scheduled to name the new board member during a meeting Thursday. The appointee will replace Debbie Kukta, who stepped down earlier this month to assume the role of treasurer for the city of Burbank.

“The [applicant] pool is an outstanding group of people,” school board President Larry Applebaum said. “A mix of young and old, experienced and novice — everyone has an elucidated and clear belief that they can help the school district in the things it is facing.”

A complete list of the applicants is available on Burbank Unified's website.
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School board members are reviewing the applications and contacting the candidates this week, Applebaum said.

And each applicant will have an opportunity to briefly address the board before the vote begins, he added.

“I have a feeling that it is not going to be unanimous right out of the gate,” Applebaum said of the vote. “I think there is going to be some diversity of opinion.”

The district can choose to address an empty school board seat by leaving it vacant until a regularly scheduled election, appointing a replacement or holding a special election.

Board members opted to fill Kukta's seat by special appointment.

An accountant by trade, Kukta was first elected to the Burbank Unified school board in 2005 and was serving her second term as president when she announced her departure. The last time a Burbank Unified school board member left midterm was in 2006, when Paul Krekorian was elected to the state Assembly.

The new school board team faces some major decisions in the coming months, not least of which is how and when to proceed with a $110-million school bond extension.

The money would be used to upgrade classrooms and alarm systems, fix roofs and plumbing and replace aging portable buildings with permanent facilities.

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