School district fills vacancy at La Cañada High, projects 2015-16 enrollment

By Sara Cardine
July 17, 2015
La Canada Valley Sun

La Cañada Unified officials updated the community Tuesday on the flurry of work that’s been going on over the summer, and named Glendale educator Mary Hazlett as La Cañada High School’s new assistant principal for the upcoming school year.

The school board unanimously adopted a personnel report in its consent calendar, which stated Hazlett will officially begin in her new position on July 27. She comes from Glendale High School, where she worked as a social science teacher and Associated Student Body activities director.

Hazlett replaces former La Cañada High School Assistant Principal Dr. Jarrett Gold, who accepted the position of principal at LCHS 7/8 in June, after previous Principal Ryan Zerbel accepted a reassignment to become the high school’s football coach.

La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette joined the board in welcoming Hazlett to the district, praising her work ethic as one way in which she stood out among 30 to 35 applicants who sought the position. She was selected from four final candidates.

“We were very much taken and impressed by her poise and her ability to be articulate in the most high-pressure situations,” Sinnette said of the La Crescenta resident. “(And) she knows the community well, having been a part of it.”

Hazlett Valley Sun photothanked the board for her selection and spoke briefly about her background and 17 years of teaching experience.

“I (do) have — and I’m so honored it was mentioned — a strong work ethic that demands high standards and high performance from myself and everyone around me,” she said. “I am very comfortable in the La Cañada Flintridge community, and am very honored and excited to be joining the team.”

Board President Andrew Blumenfeld, speaking at the end of Tuesday’s meeting, said he was looking forward to seeing what Hazlett would bring to the dynamic of the high school’s administration.

In her superintendent’s report Tuesday, Sinnette also updated the school board on the status of the district’s estimated enrollment for the 2015-16 school year, as well as the number of permit applications accepted to allow children outside district boundaries to attend La Cañada schools.

The district is projecting a total enrollment of 4,093 students next year, compared to 4,053 at the end of the previous school year. A total of 62 Sagebrush applications were approved, bringing the total number of students from that area to 72.

Additionally, 63 new children applying under the Allen Bill, meaning their parents work inside district boundaries but do not live there, were approved for the upcoming year.

Sinnette reminded the public of a board decision made in February to reprioritize the order in which it accepts permit applications, giving students who live in the city’s Sagebrush area a transfer priority over Allen Bill students.

The acceptance of both groups of students, Sinnette continued, would not count toward La Cañada Unified’s self-imposed cap on transfers, set at 15% of the districtwide population and 25% of the population of any single grade level. Still, after approving about 150 to 175 of the 300 applications received, enrollment is nearing capacity.

“After, I think, the next couple weeks, I don’t anticipate we’ll have much more room,” she said.

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Glendale, La Cañada school districts to resume Sagebrush transfer talks

By Kelly Corrigan
Glendale News Press
July 15, 2015

Glendale and La Cañada school officials are slated to return to the bargaining table after a months-long pause in a renewed effort to negotiate an agreement over the disputed Sagebrush territory.

Glendale school officials will pitch in $5,000 to pay for a consultant to find “a creative solution” to the potential transfer of the 385-acres area out of Glendale Unified and into La Cañada Unified’s jurisdiction, Robert McEntire, chief financial officer for Glendale Unified, said during Tuesday’s board meeting.

The two school districts and the city of La Cañada each agreed to pay no more than $5,000, or $15,000 total, for the services of Sacramento-based Capitol Advisors Group.

As soon as La Cañada Unified executes the contract, McEntire said, negotiations will resume, though he didn’t confirm a specific timeline. Meanwhile, at the meeting of the LCUSD Governing Board, which also took place Tuesday evening, school officials reported they would hold a special meeting July 27 at 8 p.m., after convening for a closed session item, to vote on the contract.

A November proposal asked La Cañada Unified to pay Glendale Unified $23 million for the territory swap, and involved a 12-year phase-in plan. However, county education officials noted in March that rules only allow for a five-year process, grinding discussions to a halt.

School officials on both sides met in April to discuss hiring a consultant to better assist the school districts in reaching a solution — in part because of conflicting financial information.

“I know the board has been working hard to set priorities and criteria so that when we go back to the bargaining table, we can all be working from a place of honesty and transparency and hopefully agree to a conclusion quickly,” McEntire added.

Sara Cardine contributed to this report.

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