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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