Sagebrush shows support for LCUSD schools

In a major milestone of the 2015-16 school year a cohort of over 60 Sagebrush students began attending public schools in LCUSD, the largest single transfer ever. One of the delightful consequences was to see all the LCFEF signs popping up, families who had donated to the foundation, most for the very first time. LCFEF

Letter to Editor: Re “GUSD Sagebrush Position Unchanged”

Crescenta Valley Weekly
Published August 18, 2016

Re: “GUSD Sagebrush Position Unchanged

Thank you for your continuing coverage of the Sagebrush Territory Transfer, an issue of great interest to the local community.  While most Sagebrush families desire to have their children attend LCUSD schools they also respect their neighbors preference to attend GUSD schools. For your reader’s background, in March 2014, the two school districts jointly issued a proposal that recommended a student transfer phase-in and approximately $6.5 million in payments to GUSD over time. Several months later, that proposal was discarded by GUSD, which then significantly raised its financial claims to $23 million.

This amount was untenable to LCUSD and both sides agreed to hire Capitol Advisors Group to evaluate available options to fund what GUSD sought. GUSD held to its claim of $23M and Capitol Advisors did not independently evaluate the basis of GUSD’s claim. In the end Capitol Advisors was not able to identify a path that provided GUSD the amount it sought.

Furthermore, the report did not evaluate the mitigating effects of some of the transfer agreement points used by other California school districts including, a 5 year phase-in period prior to a transfer and a commercial property swap.  Therefore the only “finding” that can be inferred from the Capitol Advisors report is that they could not identify a pathway to get $23 million into GUSD’s hands.

Meanwhile, GUSD acknowledged that Mountain Avenue Elementary would remain open as a neighborhood-serving school should a transfer occur. Your readers should know that in deference to community concerns regarding the sustainability of that school, the circulated petition specifically excluded from the transfer area the GUSD-owned lot serving that school. Therefore no GUSD school facilities would be transferred to LCUSD.

UniteLCF! has always strived to be a voice of reason and frame the  territory transfer issues in a clear and fact-based manner. We seek a resolution to this 50-year old issue that is both reasonable and responsible and look forward to our petition going before the LA County Committee on School District Organization for evaluation of its merit and separate fact from fear.

Nick P. Karapetian
Co-Chief Petitioner
UniteLCF!

The writer is a parent of two elementary students in the Sagebrush neighborhood of La Canada Flintridge.

GUSD Sagebrush Position Unchanged

Crescenta Valley Weekly
By Charly SHELTON
8/11/16

Since the 1960s, the area west of Rosebank Drive in La Cañada to Pickens Canyon, known as the Sagebrush territory, has been hotly contested. Sagebrush officially falls under the jurisdiction of the City of La Cañada, but the students who live there attend Glendale Unified School District schools due to boundary lines. The most recent effort to unify La Cañada addresses in the La Cañada Unified School District is aptly named UniteLCF and now, after three years, the possibility of a territory transfer is coming within reach.

Map_showing_Sagebrush_not_adjacent_to_Glendale

“Sagebrush” is the western most  edge of the City of La Cañada Flintridge (LCF).  The neighborhood does not border the City of Glendale.  LCF Residents have been petitioning local and state government bodies to adjust the school district boundaries since the 1960s.

Recently, a statement was released by UniteLCF celebrating that its petition for the territory transfer was accepted by the L.A. County Registrar’s Office. According to the release, the Registrar’s Office determined that there were 1,606 registered voters in the Sagebrush territory and the petition would need 25% of the total – 402 signatures to place the matter on the agenda for the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization. The petition received 724 verified signatures.

“Our efforts for a territory transfer are about empowering children and families who live in Sagebrush to be on equal footing with the rest of the La Cañada Flintridge community,” said Tom Smith, chair of UniteLCF, in the release. “Our goal is to provide them a greater sense of safety, educational parity, inclusiveness and belonging in their hometown. For over 50 years the Sagebrush residents and parents have sought this transfer and we are determined to be successful.”

GUSD and LCUSD had engaged in negotiations previously but after hiring consulting firm Capitol Advisors to explore its options, GUSD decided to end negotiations as there was not a manageable outcome.

“We remain committed to supporting the findings presented in the Capitol Advisor’s report and do not plan to participate in any further negotiations that might result in moving students from the Sagebrush residential area out of the Glendale Unified School District, thereby harming the district and our students in the process,” said GUSD Board of Education President Dr. Armina Gharpetian. “The schools serving the Sagebrush community are widely recognized as outstanding in quality and, in fact, each year we have many students from the La Cañada School District request transfers into our school district.

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