LCUSD steps back from Sagebrush transfer costs proposed by GUSD

School officials say GUSD is asking too much for Sagebrush students.

La Cañada Valley Sun
By: Sara Cardine
October 29, 2014

The La Cañada Unified School District is no longer willing to discuss with Glendale school officials the financial aspects of negotiations regarding the transfer of Sagebrush territory into its boundaries, according to statements made at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Comments made by Supt. Wendy Sinnette and LCUSD Board President Ellen Multari were reflected in a letter Sinnette submitted to the Valley Sun Wednesday morning.

“It is very disappointing to have to make a statement at this time, because earlier this year, we were really close to reaching an agreement,” Multari said Tuesday.

Even though La Cañada school officials appear to be backing out of negotiations, Glendale school officials still plan on voting on their proposed terms for the transfer on Nov. 4, said Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan.

“We have the debate set up for Tuesday at our board meeting,” Sheehan said. “I see us continuing with that. We’ll still continue our process and present them with a proposal and wait on their response,” adding later, “I would have preferred them to wait for a proposal.”

The La Cañada district’s response follows an Oct. 21 meeting of the Glendale Unified School District, during which Glendale officials discussed seeking $6.8 million from LCUSD in compensation for taxes lost that Sagebrush homes would have paid toward Glendale school bonds.

Additionally, Glendale board members said their district could seek an annual $3,600 for every student lost to La Cañada Unified in the transfer, half of what GUSD receives from the state, for a period of 12 years.

Assuming 235 Sagebrush students transferred, LCUSD would have to pay a total of $10.15 million, according to that model, in addition to the bond compensation amount.

Combined, the amounts being floated by GUSD are estimated to total about $17 million.

“This dramatic increase in the price of the transfer has led LCUSD to the conclusion that it needs to step aside with regard to any future financial settlement discussions,” Sinnette stated in her letter, adding that $10 million far exceeds the capabilities of the district’s budget.

To read the full article, click here.


Sticker Shock over GUSD’s Sagebrush Plan

La Cañada Flintridge Outlook
By Mirjam Swanson
October 30, 2014 Vol 17 No 44

The La Cañada Unified School District did not need to receive a formal offer from Glendale Unified regarding the potential transfer of the Sagebrush territory to send a clear message: No deal.

After evaluating what members of the GUSD board discussed at their meeting a week earlier, LCUSD officials indicated Tuesday that the expected amount of financial remuneration would be too steep.

“That number has increased by more than $10 million,” LCUSD Governing Board President Ellen Multari said. “And it is simply not within our financial means or our alliance with the city to reach that kind of a deal.”

GUSD board members discussed insisting on per-pupil compensation, reimbursement by which LCUSD would share half of the per-student state funding for each child transferring to its schools following a boundary shift.

Discussions over the Sagebrush territory have been going on for about a year and a half and represent the latest chapter in a several-decades effort to incorporate westernmost LCF into LCUSD.

“Although the La Cañada Unified School District continues to strongly support the transfer of the Sagebrush territory into the district’s boundaries, it has determined that a negotiated agreement between the two school districts, in light of the currently anticipated proposal by Glendale Unified School District, is not presently achievable,” LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said, reading from a letter she sent to local newspapers Wednesday. (Her complete statement appears on Page 24 of the current issue of La Cañada Flintridge Outlook newspaper, October 30, 2014, available Citywide.)

To read the full article, click here.
To read LCUSD Superintendent Sinnette statement, click here.

LCUSD balks after GUSD unilaterally raises territory transfer deal by an additional 10 million dollars


October 29, 2015

Statement on Potential Territory Transfer

Although the La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD) continues to strongly support the transfer of the Sagebrush territory into the District’s boundaries, it has determined that a negotiated agreement between the two school districts, in light of the currently anticipated proposal by Glendale Unified School District (GUSD), is not presently achievable. Current discussions indicate that GUSD could require payment over time from LCUSD in the range of $10 million for lost revenue related to the transfer of students.  This amount far exceeds the capabilities of the LCUSD budget.

This new position from GUSD raises the total cost to LCUSD of the transfer agreement from approximately $7 million to nearly $17 million.  This dramatic increase in the price of the transfer has led LCUSD to the conclusion that it needs to step aside with regard to any future financial settlement discussions.

The LCUSD Governing Board has always supported, and continues to support, the Territory transfer, and has worked through district staff and the negotiations sub-committee to do everything in its power to facilitate the transfer. However, at this juncture, as the prior extensively negotiated proposal between the two districts has been unilaterally rejected by GUSD, LCUSD’s role in the financial aspects of the settlement agreement has been exhausted.

Wendy Sinnette
LCUSD Superintendent

Clarifying state funding (ADA) impacts of the transfer

Say What logo

This week, a Crescenta Valley resident posted questions on the website to question some of the terms of the GUSD territory transfer proposal that their board discussed at its October 21st meeting. Much of it seems like venting over what the writer seems to feel are terms unfair to GUSD tax payers, as in the following excerpt:

There is also no explanation of why we, the Glendale Unified School District, who has no gain in the Sagebrush Transfer, should take any short term loss for enrollment loss. LCUSD will only compensate us for ½ of the lost income of each Sagebrush student for 12 years, instead of the full income of that loss for the same time period or a complete cycle of the students we are losing, 15 years. Why? GUSD doesn’t receive any benefit from this transfer, why must we bear the costs? This will result in a loss of per student revenue, a potential loss of over a million dollars a year.”

So 12 years of 50% of any loss of state-provided per-student average daily attendance  (ADA) funding as proposed by GUSD is unfair?

You may recall that many of the Mountain Ave Elementary community and CV Town Council leadership were fully supportive of the open enrollment plan that was strongly touted by one former GUSD board member. Open enrollment was initially characterized as the “moral solution” to a transfer. Naysayers of the territory transfer continue to express their preference for open enrollment as the solution for Sagebrush parents wishing to enroll their children in LCUSD schools.

Follow the “logic” here. Under the open enrollment plan, which transfer opponents still strongly support, GUSD would not receive any ADA funding for Sagebrush students that opted to attend LCUSD schools…….none, not 100%, not 50%….none!

Examine this in the context of the “worst case scenario” the opponents like to use when making their doom-and-gloom predictions on the effects of a territory transfer, namely that all 300-350 Sagebrush students will opt into LCUSD. Couple that worst case scenario with the loss of ADA and what is the result?  GUSD would receive no ADA funding at all.  And yet 50% is somehow such a bad deal for GUSD? 

Say What??  

Where is the logic in this? In its analysis of the financial impacts to GUSD, School Services of California Inc. indicated that approximately 80% of ADA funding goes towards actually educating a student. It would seem that 20% would be a fairer percentage that GUSD should receive. Glendale disputed SSC’s figure because it benefits them to do so while SSC is recognized by the CA State Board of Education as an authoritative source for analyzing financial impacts on schools.

What is being circulated on the Nextdoor social media website, encouraging form letters to be sent to GUSD board members, is the same tactic of the opponents using misinformation, changing messages, and personal attacks on GUSD board members to decry any proposal for a territory transfer. It’s plainly disingenuous, so don’t be swayed by their misguided “logic.”

Tom Smith

Chair, UniteLCF! – One City – One School District


Updated Sagebrush Transfer Proposal Reviewed

CV Weekly
By Jason Kurosu
October 22, 2014

The Glendale Unified School District board of education presented its updated proposal for the Sagebrush area at its Oct. 21 meeting, which established a tentative plan for managing the territory transfer with the La Cañada Unified School District. The proposal included how GUSD and LCUSD would share costs, a decision for GUSD to retain ownership of Pickens Canyon Lot, and details for the transfer of students from Mountain Avenue Elementary, Rosemont Middle and Crescenta Valley High schools.

GUSD Chief Business & Financial Officer Eva Lueck delivered a presentation on the updated proposal, in which she said that $6.8 million would be paid back from La Cañada as repayment for Measure K and Measure S bond money. According to Lueck, the projected impact to property owners within the La Cañada Unified School District is a tax increase of $3.78 per $100,000, which would decrease over time.

The number of current GUSD students within the Sagebrush area is still yet to be determined, though Lueck said the estimate over the past few years was anywhere from 350 to 427 students.

The proposal also includes a six-year phased-in enrollment period for students transferring districts, starting with students in the kindergarten/first grade, seventh grade and ninth grade levels. Within the proposal, legacy students and their siblings within the Sagebrush area would retain the right to attend GUSD schools if they wanted.

“If they are currently with us and they choose not to go to La Cañada Unified, that would be permissible,” said Lueck.

Students requesting to remain in GUSD would also receive an inter-district permit from LCUSD. Lueck said this provision would apply to students who are currently too young to attend GUSD schools, but may choose to do so when they reach school age. The proposal also requests that LCUSD limit the transfers of Allen Bill students, which are students whose district residency is determined if one of their parents works at one of that district’s schools, to students whose parents work at LCUSD schools.

Special Education costs would be shared by both districts during the six-year phase-in period, with each district paying the costs of services for students within their respective districts. The costs would be split 50/50 in the case of a special education student who utilizes programs from agencies outside of GUSD and LCUSD campuses.

The pedestrian bridge and drop off area of Pickens Canyon Lot would remain within the territory of GUSD should the proposal be approved.

The proposal also noted a $100,000 penalty for violations of the agreement, such as LCUSD defaulting by not making payments. The money received in the penalty would be used to pay the legal fees of GUSD incurred through the breach of contract process.

The GUSD board members were generally supportive of the tenets of the proposal.

Christine Walters said that she felt the proposal did a good job of addressing the financial impact to Glendale that would come as a direct result of a territory transfer.

“Glendale does not end up with 100% of what we had before, but it certainly is, I believe, a reasonable compromise for sharing the costs of losing those students to La Cañada,” said Walters. “The proposal that we’ve come up with is really trying to address both sides as best we can, so that we can come up with a solution that we can all live with.”

Walters did say there should be more in the language of the Allen Bill transfers section and that the proposal should provide incentives to LCUSD to limit those transfers to students whose parents work at LCUSD schools.

Nayiri Nahabedian felt there should be more assurances that legal remedies will be clarified in the case of LCUSD’s defaulting on the agreement.

But Nahabedian felt that the other portions of the proposal were “fair and realistic.”

Armina Gharpetian agreed with much of the proposal, particularly the long phase-in period that she felt worked well for both districts and also the Pickens Canyon Lot decision.

to read the full article, click here.


Glendale school officials talk Sagebrush transfer terms

La Cañada Flintridge superintendent remains ‘cautiously optimistic’ over Sagebrush negotiations.

Glendale News Press
By: Kelly Corrigan
October 22, 2014

Glendale school board members unveiled a new proposal on Tuesday that they said they’re willing to offer La Cañada Unified as they prepare to vote on whether or not to come to a negotiated agreement in transferring the Sagebrush territory from Glendale Unified to the La Cañada school district.

School officials have been weighing the possible transfer for over a year, and the Glendale school board is slated to vote on the newly proposed terms on Nov. 4. It’s expected the plans would be delivered to La Cañada school officials by Nov. 10 for their consideration.

Not all five school board members were allowed to join in Tuesday’s discussion, however. Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan said that under the advice of the district’s attorneys, the board’s newest appointed member — Sandy Russell, who is a Sagebrush resident — has been prohibited from participating in any discussion on the issue.

“I have to say that right off the bat, it was a little frustrating to be muzzled on the very first issue with the Sagebrush [discussion],” Russell said in her closing remarks shortly before the meeting adjourned. “But I also understand the importance of that from the legal point of view, so I respect that, as frustrating as that is.”

Under Glendale Unified’s latest proposal, La Cañada would tally the number of students living within the Sagebrush area for 12 years. Each year, La Cañada Unified would pay Glendale Unified half of what each student is worth in state funding.

This year, the state will pay Glendale Unified about $7,200 per student, so La Cañada would pay $3,600 per student under that situation.

It’s still unknown exactly how many students would be considered in that calculation annually or how much La Cañada Unified would pay Glendale Unified because it’s expected the state will pay more for each student in the coming years.

Still, Glendale school officials believe asking for half of what they would be paid from the state to serve each student is fair. In all, a loss of 350 students in one year totals $2.5 million, according to Glendale school officials.

“We’re not going to be made whole, totally,” said school board member Nayiri Nahabedian, adding that the 12 years of proposed payments from La Cañada “goes a long way to give us some security financially.”

Fellow board member Christine Walters said the proposal offers a “reasonable compromise.”

“Glendale does not end up with 100% of what we had before,” she said.

La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette said she appreciates the work the Glendale school board has accomplished so far, and remains “cautiously optimistic” about the negotiations, she said.

She calculates that La Cañada would meet the potential of paying Glendale Unified about $10 million over the 12-year period under the new proposal.

“Having the cohesive boundaries between the city and the district we embrace, but we just have to look at the realities of what their proposal entails to see if it’s economically viable,” she said. “I’m not certain of our viability to negotiate an agreement. We appreciate the work they’ve done, but we also have to be very prudent in terms of the dollar figures our budget will allow.”

click here to read the full article

LCF resident eyes board seat

Active PTA member is one of five vying for a vacant spot on Glendale school board

La Canada Valley Sun
By Kelly Corrigan
October 1, 2014

A resident of the Sagebrush area of La Cañada Flintridge is one of five candidates looking to be appointed to the Glendale school board this week following school board member Mary Boger’s resignation due to illness.

Of the 16 who applied for the appointed position, school board members whittled that number to five to interview during a public meeting on Oct. 8.

Among those five finalists is La Cañadan Sandy Russell, who recently oversaw the PTA groups in Glendale as the district’s PTA Council president from 2012 through the end of the last academic year, and participated on the Local Control Accountability Plan committee. She is currently the PTA president at Rosemont Middle School, where her son attends, and she believes her recent experience has led her to be “up to speed” with the district’s issues.

“I would like to think I could be of service and of help to the board with as little of training as possible,” she said. “Hopefully they’ll feel I would be an asset and help them in the short term.”

In recent months, the Glendale school board has been discussing whether to transfer the area to La Cañada. Under a proposal being floated, La Cañada Unified would pay Glendale Unified a yet-unspecified amount of money to make up for the funding hit GUSD has said it would have to absorb for the loss of the students.

Russell said that as a board member she would not be ready to make a “rash decision” on the issue.

“I would require adequate time to hear from people, their concerns, go over extensively the financial plan being suggested, and take the time necessary to process and make an educated and thoughtful decision based on what is the best decision for [Glendale Unified] and our families,” she said.

The others who will be interviewed for Boger’s seat are Kevin Cordova-Brookey, Todd Hunt, Elizabeth Manasserian and Jason Nyhan.

Cordova-Brookey is an actor and parent of three children. When his ninth-grade daughter was in the second grade, he said, he learned his involvement in Glendale schools “was about everyone’s kids” and not just his.

Being involved in the PTA, “led to greater understanding of what’s going on in our schools,” he said. Like Russell, he has been a part of the district’s LCAP committee.

Hunt, a senior vice president of a software company, is the father of four children who graduated from Crescenta Valley High School. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the school board in 2007 and 2011. For the past three years, he’s served as chairman of the school district’s $270-million Measure S bond facilities advisory committee.

“I received a great education [and] my kids all received a great education. There’s a real desire for me that future generations of students in our district get the same opportunity that we had and make sure that they are getting a good education,” he said.

Manasserian, who ran unsuccessfully in 2007, is a commercial real estate broker who served as president of the Glendale Council PTA from 2010 to 2012, although her involvement in the PTA stems from the late 1990s while her two children attended Glendale schools.

She has served as president of Glendale Healthy Kids, belongs to the Glendale Noon Rotary Club and is a former member of the Glendale Commission on the Status of Women.

“I’ve had a passion for public education and children and youth,” she said. “I feel that I can offer my services to the board for the children of Glendale.”

Nyhan could not be reached for this story.

In regards to the Sagebrush issue, Hunt stated that he would look for what’s fair to Glendale Unified, should the territory transfer occur.

to read the full article, click here.