Campaign Updates

Unite La Cañada FlintridgeWe have always worked on two tracks for this campaign. On one track, we have lobbied and continuously encouraged both school districts to craft a transition plan that meets the needs of all concerned. On the other track, we have worked diligently on crafting a comprehensive citizen’s Petition.

In the best of scenarios, the two school districts would reach a mutually satisfactory agreement to allow the Territory Transfer to occur. The agreement would likely address the financial impacts of a transfer, the need for a transition or “permissive” period to minimize the negative impact on students are already in the GUSD system and desire to stay, and any other substantive district issues.

UniteLCF’s role:  Should the two school districts not be able to reach an agreement allowing the Territory Transfer to proceed, UniteLCF! will take the lead and submit a Petition to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization to initiate a formal process.

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Recent Activity:    Check back for updates.

November 18, 2016: Summary of Los Angeles County School District Reorganization Proposals Status Date: PETITION TO TRANSFER TERRITORY FROM THE GLENDALE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (USD) TO THE LA CANADA USD

“On November 23, 2015, LACOE received a request for a petition pursuant to EC §35700, to transfer certain territory from the Glendale USD to the La Canada USD. The request was submitted by chief petitioners Ms. Nalini Lasiewicz, Mr. Thomas G. Smith, and Mr. Nick P. Karapetian. The petition was forwarded to County Counsel to determine its legal compliance regarding format and content. On January 13, 2016, County Counsel deemed the petition sufficient. Staff returned the petition to the chief petitioners on January 15, 2016. On June 29, 2016, the chief petitioners submitted signed petitions for review. On June 30, 2016, staff conveyed the signed petitions to the Registrar-Recorder for signature verification. On July 18, 2016, staff received notice from the Registrar-Recorder that there were sufficient signatures to move the petition forward. Chief Petitioner Smith subsequently resigned from his role. The petition was presented to the County Committee  on  September  7, 2016. The  County Committee held two public hearings (October 26, 2016, in the La  Canada USD, and November 2, 2016, in the Glendale USD)after which a feasibility study commenced which will be presented to the County Committee at a later date.” [Minutes of the County Committee meeting December 2016 packet]

September 28, 2016:  LACOE staff confirmed the dates of the two Public Hearings.  Wed. Oct 26, 6pm (LCUSD Office) and Nov 2, 6:30pm (CV High School)

September 21, 2016:  UniteLCF! appeared in Superior Court alongside LA County Counsel in order to oppose the GUSD Ex Parte Application for Temporary Stay.

September 8, 2016: GUSD lawyers file a Lawsuit against the County Registrar-Recorder, the LA County Committee and the chief petitioners of the UniteLCF! citizens group.  They  seek a stay in the administrative process during which time they will attempt to get a Court Order for the names and addresses of our Petition signers, or Signatory Data as GUSD refers to our neighbors and families.  They want to “analyze” this data in order to order to bolster their opposition to the territory transfer.

September 7, 2016: Staff and community representatives of GUSD, LSUSD and UniteLCF! attend a meeting of the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization (County Committee) as as it was formally notified that our Petition has been certified by the County Registrar’s Office as having sufficient signatures of registered voters, and triggers an extensive hearing process. Two Public Hearings will be held over the next 60 days.

June 29, 2016: After three years of community meetings, researching all the previous territory transfer campaigns and issues pertaining to financial and community impacts to all parties, participating in reports and surveys with multiple consultants, supporting negotiations between the two districts, drafting our Petition and collecting signatures, we  hand-delivered our formal Petition to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).

May 31, 2016: GUSD Superintendent sent an email to UniteLCF! stating “the Board’s prevailing point of view aligns with the Capitol Advisor’s report … which determined that removing Sagebrush residents from the GUSD would have significant impact(s) upon GUSD and LCUSD.  Based on the report’s finding, the GUSD Board of Trustees seeks to take no further action on this matter.”

May 19, 2016:  A UniteLCF! Steering Committee is formed and starts meeting as a group.  The purpose of the expanded group was to insure wider community involvement, including stakeholder parents with school-age children, and seek additional support in preparation for the hearings that will be required during a formal Petition process.

May 11, 2016:  Chief Petitioners Tom Smith and Nick Karapetian met with Winfred Roberson the new Superintendent at GUSD, offering details on several new negotiation points for his consideration…..points that weren’t considered by the Capitol Advisors group in their consultancy to both districts and the City of LCF. The Superintendent agreed to present our suggestions to the full board for their consideration.

April 20, 2016: A long awaited report from Capitol Advisors was delivered to the contracting parties.  For the record, Capitol Advisors did not conduct a feasibility or financial analysis, and did not address the continuing disagreement of the parties regarding the magnitude of claimed  monetary impacts.

March-April 2016:  For the second year in a row, UniteLCF! Parents Committee created an  outreach campaign with mailings, flyers, and visits to local preschools so that all new and current Sagebrush families would be advised of the opportunity to apply for permits in order to attend LCUSD public schools in the 2016-17 school year.

January 25, 2016:  Los Angeles County Office of Education approves the final language and map of the transfer area.  Office launch for the canvassing is set for Saturday, February 6, 2016.

December 5, 2015:  A meeting and holiday reception for UniteLCF! supporters takes place at the home of Rajiv and Divya Dalal.

November 23, 2015:  UniteLCF! Petition Committee finalizes and submits our “Petition for Signature Gathering” to the County Office of Education for their review as to its proper form.  Once they send us the official voter signature pages, the next active process will begin, including signature gathering, public hearings, an eventual ruling on our petition and eventually a ballot measure.

October 2015:  GUSD hires two part-time interim Superintendents, Joel Shawn and Marc Minger, both retired superintendents.

June 2015: GUSD fills temporary Superintendent slot with retired GUSD administrator, Donald Empey.

June 5, 2015:  The City of La Cañada Flintridge formally agrees to join LCUSD and GUSD in their contract with Capitol Advisors Group, a firm with experience in territory transfers.

May 20 2015:  GUSD Superintendent Sheehan and LCUSD Superintendent meet with UniteLCF! committee members to explain the role of the new consultants.  At the end of the meeting, Sheehan disclosed that he will be leaving GUSD to take a new job with Covina-Valley United.

April 30 2015: Deadline to enroll in LCUSD.  UniteLCF compiles and distributes information on applying for the 2015-16 school year, requesting permits and releases.  UniteLCF! worked with both districts to update information on their websites in order to answer questions from the community.  Tabling, distributing flyers and informing the neighborhood residents through our mailing list helps over 60 Sagebrush students enroll in LCUSD, compared to only ten the year before.

March/April 2015: Community outreach through mailings and social media in order to promote Sagebrush residents to vote in the GUSD school board elections.  CVTC holds a candidate forum, promoted by UniteLCF!

March 2015:  Both districts agree to contract services with Capital Advisors Group in Sacramento, in order to find “a creative solution” for the potential transfer.  At previous stages, GUSD and LCUSD have been working with conflicting sets of financial information.

February 25, 2015: GUSD and LCUSD officials met to discuss the negotiations from last fall, where GUSD had outlined an offer to transfer the territory for a price of 23 million dollars.  LCUSD had rejected the offer as “untenable.”

February 10, 2015:  LCUSD adjusts the district’s transfer process in order to give Sagebrush residents a higher priority in the permit process.  The district’s “cap calculation” will no longer include Sagebrush families.

January 10, 2015:  LCUSD and GUSD representatives meet to discuss the details of the proposal sent by GUSD in November.

December 10, 2014: Meeting of Sagebrush residents to get a briefing on the UniteLCF! committee efforts.  Over 50 attend, along with two La Cañada school board members and two La Cañada city council members in attendance.

November 2014: UniteLCF! forms a Petition Committee, in order to commence work on crafting a formal Petition for the territory transfer should the negotiations between the two districts reach an impasse.  This committee will meet regularly throughout the year.

November 4, 2014: GUSD Board authorizes GUSD Administration to Finalize a Territory Transfer Agreement with La Canada Unified School District.

October 8, 2014:  GUSD appoints Sagebrush resident Sandra Russell to fill the vacancy on the Board of Education created by the resignation of Mary Boger.  Upon being seated on October 21, 2014, it is disclosed that GUSD prohibits Board Member Russell from discussion or voting on issues pertaining to a territory transfer.

September 2014:  Sagebrush residents formed an ad-hoc Petition Committee to begin analyzing past legal rulings and interviewing the key participants from past territory transfer efforts.

August 26 2014  About 100 parents, alumni, stakeholders on both sides of Pickens Canyon gathered at Mountain Avenue Elementary School to hear a presentation by GUSD Superintendent Sheehan.  Billed alternately as a community forum and a Mt Ave parents meeting, Dr. Sheehan gave a presentation on the timeline of events that have occurred since the LCF City Council passed its resolution supporting the transfer in June 2013. Not being an agendized meeting, the 4 board members were precluded from participating in any collective discussions due to Brown Act restrictions but were available for one-on-one discussion after the presentation.  LCUSD Board met on the same evening and discussed their wish to meet with GUSD, to sit down jointly in a subcommittee structure to take stock of where the talks are at this time.

July 2014  GUSD departs from the joint Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document previously released in March and updated in May.  GUSD posted it’s new version of the FAQ on it’s website without notice to the media, LCUSD or the community at large.  The document was striped of elements that pertain directly to supporters of the transfer.

July 2014   UniteLCF! volunteers distributed notices to Sagebrush residents, requesting that they urge the GUSD to move forward and call for an up or down vote by the Board members to give authority to GUSD Superintendent to negotiate a Memo of Understanding with La Cañada Unified School District, to work out details of an agreement to bring back to the GUSD Board for review.

June 3, 2014   Both GUSD and LCUSD post updated information (FAQs) on the proposed Territory Transfer, having addressed issues brought forward by both communities.

May 20, 2014   GUSD Board meeting: The True North Research survey drew a record setting 43% responses.  The company had only expected 20+%, based on a recent city survey with similar demographics and methodology.  The company reported overwhelming support among the Sagebrush voters, in support of the territory transfer (85% ‘Definitely support’ and 5% “Probably support).

May 10, 2014: All registered voters in the Territory receive a letter from GUSD inviting their participation in a survey.  Members of UniteLCF! undertake an outreach campaign to provide detailed information on the current proposal and distributing door hangers to encourage wide participation in the survey.  A new website is launched to provide current and background information on the campaign.

March 25, 2014: The GUSD held a Town Hall meeting at CV High School and drew a crowd of 350. Both school district Superintendents discussed the details of the proposed agreement and took comments and questions from the audience.  LCUSD sent letters to all Territory residents to announce the meeting.

August 6, 2013: The Governing Board of the LCUSD approved a resolution in support of the Territory Transfer of the Subject Area from GUSD to LCUSD, as requested by UniteLCF! This resolution was amended and re-adopted on January 7, 2014 with the new board members seated.

June 3, 2013:   The City Council of La Cañada Flintridge approved a City Resolution which is both in support of the request from our citizen’s committee (now UniteLCF!) calling for a Territory Transfer of the Subject Area from GUSD to LCUSD.

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What we need:    We need residents of the Territory and our supporters to sign-up to stay involved and updated as we prepare our petition, should we need to submit it and the City Resolution to the County Committee.

Please show your support for UniteLCF!

 Join our campaign and mailing list.

 

Tom Smith
smithtomg@gmail.com
Chair, UniteLCF! – One City – One School District
(c) 818-397-2981

Website: nalini@lasiewicz.com    http://uniteLCF.wordpress.com

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