Breaking news! March 8th deliberation postponed

The Sagebrush Territory Transfer deliberation by the Los Angeles County Committee on School Organization that was scheduled for March 8th has been postponed upon request from the Chief Petitioners. Tom Smith, Chair of UniteLCF! issued this statement “we have taken this step to facilitate the ongoing analysis of our transfer petition by the County Committee and the two school districts. We expect to appear before the County Committee at their next scheduled meeting, April 5, 2017.”

Public hearing presentations by all parties

Public Hearing, October 26, 2016:
Petitioners Presentation Part 1  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/petitioners-10-26-16-presentation-part-1.pdf
Petitioners Presentation Part 2  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/petitioners-10-26-16-presentation-part-2.pdf
La Cañada Unified School District Presentation  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/lcusd-sagebrush-10-26-16-prsnttn.pdf

Public Hearing, November 2, 2016:
Petitioners Presentation Part 1  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/petitioners-11-02-16-presentation-part-1.pdf
Petitioners Presentation Part 2 https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/petitioners-11-02-16-presentation-part-2.pdf
La Cañada Unified School District Presentation  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/lcusd-sagebrush-11-02-16-prsnttn.pdf
Glendale Unified School District Presentation  https://unitelcf.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/11-02-16-glendale-usd-presentation.pdf

UPDATE: Feb 1st meeting cancelled

The meeting that was originally scheduled to take place at the Los Angeles County Office of Education on February 1st has been cancelled.

We have been advised that the County Committee on School District Organization will move their deliberation of the UniteLCF! territory transfer to a March date.

Please check back here for updates, or sign up for our mailing list to receive updates from our petition committee, click here.

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A message from the Petition Committee UniteLCF!

Thank you so much to all the community members who attended the public hearings on the Sagebrush territory transfer.  Our committee was very pleased with the turnout, the quality and scope of the many speakers who spoke in support for our petition.  Articles appeared in the local papers today and we continue to hear from supporters, asking how they can help.  Our La Cañada-Sagebrush community is quite grateful for the many hours our committee members, volunteers and supporters have given in order to reach this milestone in our campaign.  While not everyone could attend the hearings, we will continue to invite everyone to do what they can to help in our cause.

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The Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization is an independent, 11-member elected body that studies and makes decisions such as transferring territory between school districts.  The Committee Members have now heard from both school districts, UniteLCF!, the City of La Cañada Flintridge and about 100 members of the public.

Over the next 120 days county staff will be collecting more public comments, researching the issues brought forward, and assembling a complete packet of information for each of the County Committee members to prepare for their deliberation meeting, which could be as early as February 1, 2017.

Your letter, or email, can be sent to both the following contacts at the Los Angeles County Office of Education.  Also, if you would like UniteLCF! to have a copy for our records, please cc: nalini@lasiewicz.com

It’s helpful to put your position at the top or subject line: Subject: SUPPORT for Sagebrush Territory Transfer

 Keith D. Crafton
Director, Business Advisory Services
Secretary, County Committee
Crafton_Keith@lacoe.edu
(562) 922-6144

Allison Deegan, Ed.D.
Regionalized Business Services Coordinator
Deegan_Allison@lacoe.edu
(562) 922-6336

Mailing Address:
Los Angeles County Office of Education
9300 Imperial Highway
Downey, CA 90242

Members of the Public are also welcome to attend the monthly meetings of the County Committee and give testimony in person. More at: http://www.lacoe.edu/BusinessServices/BusinessAdvisoryServices/CountyCommittee/DocumentsPage.aspx

Hundreds Attend First of Two Sagebrush Forums

Crescenta Valley Weekly
By: Charly Shelton
October 27, 2016

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Last night saw the first of two public forums on the Sagebrush transfer debate. About 200 people attend the La Cañada Unified School District public forum at the District offices, which gave members of the public a chance to voice their opinions on the issue, both in favor and opposed to the transfer.

This public forum was the most recent step in the ongoing battle over the area west of Rosebank Drive in La Cañada to Pickens Canyon, known as the Sagebrush territory. Representing the pro-transfer side is UniteLCF, a coalition of current and former residents of La Cañada who want Sagebrush to fall under the jurisdiction of LCUSD instead of Glendale Unified School District, which it currently does, in an effort to unify the city. The anti-transfer side is represented by GUSD families and friends who don’t want to lose students to another district because it will impact GUSD through “lost ADA funding that could result in teacher layoffs and a reduction in financial resources used to provide students with technology, expanded programs and extra-curricular activities,” wrote GUSD Superintendent Winfred Roberson in an email to GUSD parents.

UniteLCF started a petition to begin the transfer process, gathering 724 signatures that wre verified by the L.A. County Registrar’s Office. The petition was submitted to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization at the Los Angeles County Office of Education. It began proceedings on the matter in September and ordered that two public forums be held, one in each district, to gather input from residents on their feelings towards the proposed transfer.

At the meeting, those for and against the transfer were easily identified. Those in favor of the transfer wore stickers that read, “Support the Transfer – One City, One School District,” and others who wore buttons that read, “Keep GUSD Whole.”

Click here to continue article.

Opponents and supporters of Sagebrush transfer make their cases to county officials

Glendale News Press
By Kelly Corrigan
October 28, 2016

During a public hearing Wednesday evening that lasted more than three hours and completely filled the La Cañada Unified School District boardroom with stakeholders, 27 people spoke in favor of transferring La Cañada’s Sagebrush territory out of Glendale Unified’s jurisdiction and into LCUSD.

Residents on both sides of transferring the 385-acre area were allowed 90 seconds to state their case to the Los Angeles County Office of Education Committee on School District Organization.

Many of the supporters of the transfer who addressed the committee were Sagebrush residents. Of the 11 people who spoke against the transfer, five were either Glendale school board members or employees; three were current or former Crescenta Valley Town Council members and the remaining three were parents of GUSD students.

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Click here to continue article

GUSD Superintendent sends message on territory transfer

Glendale Unified Superintendent Winfred Roberson Jr. is placing robocalls and sending emails to GUSD families, very concerning to Sagebrush families and to UniteLCF!, the residents group campaigning for a territory transfer proposal since early 2013.  “The statements by this Superintendent are reminiscent of the scare tactics and misinformation used in prior Petition efforts.  Inciting fears and causing undue anxiety is exactly what we have been trying so hard to avoid” says Tom Smith, chair of the committee.

The territory transfer petition is supported by a significant majority of the nearly 1000 households in the inhabited northwestern section of the City of La Cañada Flintridge.  Among the inflammatory messages sent by the Superintendent are statements such as: “we are somewhat mystified by this petition,” and students would be “forced to change schools” as well as suggesting the transfer “will have a devastating impact on our remaining students” and “could result in teacher layoffs.”  UniteLCF! rejects each of these claims outright.

The Superintendent is new to his school district, but the GUSD Board members should know better.  If any of the GUSD Board members are truly “mystified” over our Petition, we suspect they have not given this matter their full attention and that, if true, would bet a dark stain on their service on the Board. The UniteLCF! committee has worked for years in the most cooperative way possible to bring about a school district territory transfer that has been sought since the 1960s.  The territory transfer petition now being proposed addresses all issues brought forth during extensive community outreach efforts, meetings with stakeholders, surveys, consultants, community forums and dozens of meetings and exchanges with all the GUSD Board members, past and present, including:

  • Absolutely no property or facilities will transfer between GUSD and LCUSD. The petition fully carves out the GUSD-owned lot on Ocean View Blvd.
  • 2022/23 is our proposed timeframe for the permanent Transfer. The petitioners will propose a delayed formal implementation to allow both districts time to plan, and to minimize disruption to the two most impacted elementary schools—Mountain Avenue and Palm Crest.
  • No current GUSD students – nor their siblings – will be required to transfer to LCUSD. The petitioners will propose that anyone attending GUSD on the effective transfer date can continue to do so, as can their siblings.
  • GUSD has committed to maintaining Mountain Avenue Elementary as a neighborhood school, and has demonstrated its capacity to do so.
  • Because Sagebrush is so small, 1-2% of GUSD by most metrics, the transfer would have a negligible impact on GUSD overall.

Mr. Roberson ought to be aware that over 100 Sagebrush students have already left GUSD and are now attending LCUSD schools, and there has been no impact to the District according to their own staff reports.  In addition, Mountain Avenue Elementary, Rosemont middle schools and Crescenta Valley High Schools are thriving (if not over-thriving) with students and each have well-established academic  programs, extracurricular activities and active PTA and parent support groups.

UniteLCF! and the Sagebrush community continues to urge that the upcoming public hearings on October 26 and November 2 be open forums, with rational discussions and community input based on facts, not fears.  Intimidation and misinformation should have no part of this process.
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NOTICE: Territory transfer public hearings Oct 26 and Nov 2!

After 3 years of waiting, the time is now to have your voices heard by the L.A. County Committee who will decide if Sagebrush kids will gain the permanent right to attend the same schools as the rest of La Cañada Flintridge.

If you support this change or want to learn more, we invite you to attend one or both of these hearings!
 
Wednesday – OCT 26th @ 6:00pm
La Cañada Unified School District Board Room
4490 Cornishon Ave, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Wednesday – NOV 2nd @ 6:30pm
Crescenta Valley High School
2900 Community Ave., La Crescenta, CA 91214

There will be 20-minute presentations by UniteLCF!, LCUSD and GUSD. The L.A. County Committee members who are the decision makers on this issue will be there to hear from the public and you will have an opportunity to speak for 1-2 minutes, or just listen.

Our Petition addresses the top concerns that have been raised by all sides:

Absolutely no property or facilities will transfer between GUSD and LCUSD. The petition fully carves out the GUSD-owned lot on Ocean View Blvd.   2022/23 is our proposed time-frame for the permanent Transfer. The petitioners will propose a delayed formal implementation to allow both districts time to plan, and to minimize disruption to the two most impacted elementary schools—Mountain Avenue and Palm Crest.  No current GUSD students – nor their siblings – will be required to transfer to LCUSD. The petitioners will propose that anyone attending GUSD on the effective transfer date can continue to do so, as can their siblings.  Lastly, GUSD has committed to maintaining Mountain Avenue as a neighborhood school, and has demonstrated its capacity to do so. Because Sagebrush is so small 1-2% of GUSD the transfer would have a negligible impact on GUSD overall.

Bring your stories & your neighbors
For more information or to volunteer please call:
Nalini at: 818-249-9691 or nalini@lasiewicz.com

Court grants Glendale Unified access to Sagebrush petition signatories

Glendale News Press
October 14, 2016
By Kelly Corrigan

Attorneys representing the Glendale Unified School District were granted access to the names and addresses of 724 registered voters living in the Sagebrush area of La Cañada Flintridge who signed a petition in support of transferring their neighborhood out of Glendale Unified’s jurisdiction and into La Cañada Unified’s, following a ruling made Friday.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue granted the release of the signatures to Glendale Unified’s attorneys, who filed a petition seeking a court order for the names and addresses of transfer supporters in September.

Hogue, however, did not grant the district’s additional request to halt current proceedings initiated by the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization in September to decide on the transfer.

The 11-member committee is expected to vote on the matter next year.

Hogue asked Glendale Unified attorney Stan Barankiewicz why the district wants the names and addresses.

Barankiewicz said the data could help the school district build arguments against the transfer by pointing out how many Sagebrush petitioners have school-age children — and how many don’t.

He said the signatures could also give insight into their residential or commercial property values should Glendale Unified potentially argue that those petitioners could make personal gains in property values under the transfer.

“We have a right to make those arguments to the county committee,” Barankiewicz told the judge.

After the hearing, he said he was not authorized by Glendale Unified to speak to the press.

Local officials have said the nearly 400 students who live in the Sagebrush area could equate to a $3.6-million loss for Glendale Unified, at most, per year in state funding by 2018, should the students no longer attend Glendale schools.

The Sagebrush area consists of about 385 acres with about 1,000 homes, representing about 2% of Glendale Unified’s tax base.

County committee members do not typically look at signature data as part of their process to decide whether to transfer territory from one school district to another, but to get the county committee to weigh in on the transfer, Unite LCF!, a citizens group that supports the transfer, needed to collect roughly 400 signatures of registered voters living in the Sagebrush area who support transferring the territory.

The 700-plus signatures that Unite LCF! gathered were verified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder.

The citizens group recently gained the support of Marilyn Smith, an attorney who represented the organization pro bono on Friday.

Smith was part of the initial effort to transfer the territory into La Cañada Unified after the city of La Cañada was incorporated in 1976. An earlier effort by Sagebrush residents was launched in the early 1990s, but ultimately failed.

continued, click here.