GUSD Puts On the Brakes

La Cañada Outlook Newspaper
by Mirjam Swanson, 5/22/14

Instead of voting on whether to accept the negotiated deal that could allow for the Sagebrush area in westernmost La Canada Flintridge to be included in the La Cañada Unified School District, members of the Glendale Unified Board of Education spoke at Tuesday’s meeting about slowing down the process on the long-simmering issue.

GUSD Superintendent Dick Sheehan had preliminarily indicated at a March town hall meeting that a vote might be taken Tuesday, but the board instead reviewed survey data from 695 responding registered voters in the Sagebrush territory, which indicated that as many as 85% of those polled support the transfer.

And though board members exchanged some opposing views, they expressed consensus that, from their perspective, an open-enrollment policy allowing Sagebrush students to choose which district’s schools to attend would be the best course of action.

“If you live in the La Cañada area of Sagebrush, you may enroll your children in the La Cañada Unified School District; you need not even ask for an exit permit,” GUSD board President Mary Boger said. “Go. With our blessings, go.

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Time to Say “Au Revoir”?

CV Weekly – Letters to the Editor 5/29/14

I live in the western edge of La Cañada Flintridge, support the territory transfer and participated in the recent GUSD-commissioned survey of my neighborhood to measure our support for a transfer to LCUSD. I believe GUSD initiated this survey for the sole purpose of mollifying board president Mary Boger, who stated at the April 15 board meeting, “I will be happy to say, ‘au revoir’ to Sagebrush when I have had the opportunity to be presented with evidence that the majority of the registered voters of the Sagebrush territory are willing to assume that taxation” referring to the $450 annual parcel tax.

Well, Boger got that evidence at the May 20 GUSD board meeting. A commanding 85% of the exceptionally high number of respondents stated that they “definitely support” the territory transfer that would include a change in district boundaries and the obligation for homeowners to pay the parcel tax.

So, how does Boger respond to the evidence she requested? She questions the honesty of the Sagebrush constituents and openly doubts our motivations.

I have to ask – can our board president be more disingenuous? We expect our elected officials to be honest, open-minded and transparent in their decision-making. Perhaps it really is time for Boger to say ‘au revoir.’

 Paul Hardy
La Cañada Flintridge

Letters continued here:  Click to post your letter.

Survey shows Sagebrush residents support transfer

But some GUSD officials stress the ‘negative impact’ of Sagebrush issue.

By Kelly Corrigan, La Canada Valley Sun (Glendale NewsPress/LA Times)

May 21, 2014

The majority of residents support transferring Sagebrush from Glendale to La Cañada Unified, Jewel City school officials announced this week.

Of 1,604 registered voters living in the Sagebrush area of La Cañada, 43% of them responded to a survey on potentially transferring the territory.

In all, 695 people responded by phone or online, with 85% of them saying they would “definitely support” the boundary change.

Meanwhile, 7% said they would “definitely oppose” it, Eva Lueck, chief business and financial officer for Glendale Unified said during a school board meeting Tuesday.

When asked whether the districts should pursue an open enrollment option, or change boundaries, 79% of responders supported making their homes part of La Cañada Unified, while 16% opted for open enrollment.

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UniteLCF! volunteers go door-to-door to encourage participation in GUSD survey

ImageBeginning Saturday May 10, Sagebrush residents are participating in a Territory-wide survey, contracted by the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD).  In an effort to encourage participation, UniteLCF volunteers canvassed their neighbors to share details on the proposed plan as outlined by the LCUSD and GUSD over the past several months.   Important details about the plan were distributed through door hangers.  Key elements of the plan such as the six-year student phase-in period to minimize disruption to both Mountain Avenue and Palm Crest Elementary, school choice for Sagebrush families for 13 years and the LCUSD parcel tax exemption ($450.00  for seniors 65 and above) were published.  Our hope is that this GUSD survey will reinforce testimony given at prior public meetings and events, bringing to rest the question of whether Sagebrush residents, on the whole, support the transfer.

Many thanks to our volunteers and LCF residents who met their neighbors and helped encourage participation in the effort:

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Sagebrush discussions continue

CV Weekly, By Mary O’KEEFE

The Glendale Unified School District Board of Education heard on Tuesday from concerned residents and parents about the possible territory transfer of the far western area of La Cañada Flintridge from GUSD schools to La Cañada Unified School District.

The discussion of the transfer of the “Sagebrush” area has been in play for quite some time. The resolution requesting the transfer was presented by Unite La Cañada in June 2013 to the city of La Cañada Flintridge, which the city approved. The resolution was then presented to the LCUSD Governing Board, which also approved.

Since the beginning, those in favor of the transfer in La Cañada Flintridge have been organized and spoke as a united voice; Unite La Cañada is the grassroots effort behind the territory transfer.

GUSD administrators and school board members have discussed the transfer at several board meetings and have had community meetings at Mountain Avenue Elementary and Crescenta Valley High School; however, as an agreement between the districts appears to be in its final stages and a vote draws near, Crescenta Valley residents, including officials from the CV Chamber of Commerce and CV Town Council, are becoming more concerned about the transfer and how it will affect the children of Crescenta Valley.

At issue is the direct effect on  Mountain Avenue Elementary school, Rosemont Middle School and CVHS. The districts estimate there will be a loss of about 30 students per year, but the underlying issue is as much about the students as it is about the loss of revenue from the students in the seats, tax/bond revenue and the new financial structure of California schools.

Those living in the Sagebrush area – west of Rosebank Drive – are in the City of La Cañada but attend GUSD schools. A point made by La Cañada residents regarding this issue concerned students living a dual life, one where they are attending GUSD schools, yet are La Cañada residents and do not get the full benefit of either city’s opportunities. For example, if a girl lives in the Sagebrush area she cannot be considered for the Tournament of Roses court, even though La Cañada residents who attend LCHS area are allowed.

At Tuesday’s meeting, CVTC President Robbyn Battles shared an online survey that had been distributed in the area that would be affected by the transfer.

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Glendale Unified continues to mull over Sagebrush

The Glendale school board is looking to make a decision next month on whether to transfer the Sagebrush territory to the La Cañada Unified School District.

Glendale school officials announced Tuesday they hired True North Research to perform a survey in the La Cañada district. Approximately 1,600 registered voters will be contacted this week, said company president Timothy McLarney.

He told the Glendale school board that residents could take the survey online or over the phone, and that surveyors would explain the potential transfer and its ramifications on Sagebrush residents.

If the transfer occurs, Sagebrush residents would relinquish their tax obligations to Glendale Unified and pay taxes to La Cañada Unified instead, including a $450 annual parcel tax.

“Once they understand all the parameters, does their opinion stay the same [or] does their opinion change?” McLarney said. “Here, we’re basically giving everybody an opportunity to weigh in.”

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