Letter sent to LACOE staff Keith Crafton and Allison Deegan, by LCF parent, Bob Lasiewicz
To whom it may concern:
I support the Sagebrush Territory Transfer for the reasons stated in the Petition for a Territory Transfer. As a resident of the area since 2003 and a parent of a graduate of CVHS, I personally experienced the negative impacts of the dislocation caused by living in a no-man’s land and being separated from the larger community I live in. I believe that my son’s academic career was negatively affected and would have benefitted from being part of the La Canada school district and a greater sense of connection to fellow students as well as increased support from a counseling department with a much better student to counselor ratio.
4634 Leir Dr.
La Canada, CA, 91011
Letter sent to LACOE staff Keith Crafton and Allison Deegan, Ed.D. by LCF parent Stuart McKinney
To: Keith D. Crafton, Director, Business Advisory Services
Secretary, County Committee
Allison Deegan, Ed.D.
Regionalized Business Services Coordinator
December 21, 2016
Subject: SUPPORT for Sagebrush Territory Transfer
Dear Members of LA County Committee of School District Organization:
I, Stuart McKinney, a resident and registered voter living in the Sagebrush territory in the city La Cañada Flintridge (LCF) within the GUSD school district, urge you to allow a permanent right for my two children to go to the schools of their hometown La Cañada Unified School District. I am requesting that you support the Sagebrush Territory Transfer.
I support the filed formal petition to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) submitted June 2016 to begin the formal process seeking a transfer of the Sagebrush area of LCF from GUSD to LCUSD.
I spoke at both of the public hearings, but wanted to reiterate my support of this transfer to ensure:
- Improved education for my children: Smaller class sizes and improved access to education for my children would be ensured by this transfer. While attending GUSD’s Mountain Avenue Elementary School, my children’s Fourth grade classes had 38 and 39 students in classroom. We transferred to La Canada Elementary school the following year and their Fifth grade classrooms each had 28 students. This is a significant difference. GUSD claims that losing the Sagebrush students will cause a domino effect resulting in children being moved away from their neighborhood schools. In reality, GUSD has been sending children to schools that are not their neighborhood school due to increased enrollment sizes for many years. This was outlined in the GUSD letter to families, which is also posted on their website. GUSD continues to struggle to meet the needs of the students within their district due to exploding population growth of the territory boundaries it serves. Please refer to http://www.gusd.net/Page/339 which is a Letter to Midschool parents from GUSD that warns parents that their children may not be able to attend the local Middle School due to increased student enrollment.
- Improved safety: The territory transfer would increase safety and access to pick up my children from school in the case of an emergency given that we live in an area that is subject to earthquakes, fires, and mudslides. A single foot bridge that spans the ravine that divides LCF from the Crescenta Valley area is the only way for our children to cross over to Mountain Elementary.
- Improved community integration: Allowing the transfer will enable my family to be full members of our La Cañada community. By being a full member of the La Cañada community and neighborhood our children can have a better understanding of community values and presence which will improve their social, educational, and psycho-social wellness.
- Improved Stability: I am requesting the transfer so that the school my child attends is guaranteed to be the same each year. Currently, we need to petition annually to be released from GUSD to attend our school of choice in the city that we live in. This causes excesses distress for our children and family.
In closing, we are a small group of families fighting for what we believe is best for our children. GUSD has the money and the numbers and played dirty in the past and continues to play dirty. I am hopeful that this time around the County Committee will listen to why the transfer makes sense for our community and that GUSD will finally realize the only way to end this fight is to let us go. Because if they don’t, this battle will go on for another 50 years.
Thank you for your time. I encourage you to SUPPORT the Sagebrush Territory Transfer.
Concerned parent of Claire & Kyle,
2229 Canalda Drive
La Cañada, CA 91011
Letter sent to LACOE staff Keith Crafton and Allison Deegan, Ed.D. by Don R. Voss, former Mayor of La Cañada Flintridge.
Sent to Principal. Dr. Cynthia Livingston, cc: GUSD Superintendent Roberson and Board members Walters, Nahabedian and Principal Witt
October 31, 2016
RE: Protest against political use of Rosemont Newsletter – Week of 10-30-16
Dear Ms. Livingston.
I want to express my strong objection to statements made in the recent newsletter I received (below) from our school. This newsletter overtly supports one side of a divisive issue now facing the district, whether or not to allow the Sagebrush area to be transferred to La Canada Schools. This is not an appropriate venue to take a stand on this question, since the school also serves parents like myself who live in the Sagebrush area.
You may be aware that a majority of Sagebrush families voted in a survey to join La Canada schools. My wife and I were among those who voted for the move, even though our son, Andres, has received an excellent education so far. Andres has attended GUSD schools since kindergarten, just after we moved to our home in the Sagebrush neighborhood. He is now an 8th-grader at Rosemont, and happy there.
I believe, however, that the school should represent ALL parents, including the minority of us who live in Sagebrush. The constant district drumbeat against the Sagebrush move makes us feel like our position is not respected. We are being ignored so openly that it just adds fuel to the belief that we don’t really belong in Glendale Unified. We are invisible to the district, and now we don’t even matter to the very school my son attends.
I had the same reaction to recent statements issued by the new superintendent, Winfred Roberson Jr. It was an alarmist statement that made it sound like the sky would fall if Sagebrush were split off. He did not include any of the specific facts that show the economic impact to the district would be moderate to minimal. By not stating the facts at all, the superintendent was free to make the move sound a lot worse than it really would be. Again, I felt totally unrepresented by my school district, reinforcing the feeling that we don’t belong there. At the highest levels, our position is disrespected and disregarded.
Ms. Rebecca Witt, Andres’ principal at Mountain Avenue School, will remember a big meeting we attended a couple years ago in the cafeteria to discuss this very issue with the former Superintendent Dick Sheehan. Parents were asked to fill out cards with our questions, which the district promised to answer. So far, no response, at least to my question card, and believe me, I waited for it. At that time, the district’s silence, not to mention lack of follow-up, made me feel that the outreach to our neighborhood was a charade. Ask for public input, then ignore it. The inescapable conclusion: We have NO representation within the district. At least now, the district no longer pretends to care about our side of the story. It openly takes a position against the one we’ve taken, not even trying to appear open-minded and balanced.
We pay taxes. We vote. But we don’t count.
Politics is one thing. But a school announcement is something totally different. The Rosemont newsletter should not be used to rally troops behind one side of a very divisive issue. Yet, the newsletter is being used to rally “Spartan” families against the majority of parents in Sagebrush. We are a “Spartan” family too, and this is our school newsletter, or at least I thought it was until now. Maybe to be fair, you should allow me to write a response, so people can get a true and fair representation of both sides of this issue.
For now, allow me to lodge my protest against the political misuse of what should be a vehicle to inform our Rosemont community, to bring us together, and respect all its members.
I am also sending you a copy of a letter I recently wrote to GUSD school board members [BELOW] who supposedly represent the schools Andres has attended. The response so far from my elected officials: No response. No surprise.
La Cañada Flintridge
Encl: Excerpts of the Rosemont Newsletter No. 261
October 24, 2016
Dear School Board Members:
I am a parent of an 8th grade student at Rosemont Middle School. My son  also attended Mountain Avenue Elementary since kindergarten. We have lived in the district since 2004, when we bought a home off of Ocean View, in the Sagebrush area.
First, I want to say how happy we have been with the education our son is getting at his schools in GUSD. The teaching is top-notch and he loves the school environment. That is why we did not transfer him to La Cañada schools when other parents in the Sagebrush area chose to do so. We respected our son’s wishes to stay with his class and continue at Rosemont, and perhaps go on to Crescenta Valley High.
However, my wife and I are among the majority of Sagebrush parents who voted for the property transfer now being discussed, which would move our slice of GUSD over to La Cañada schools. It seems like a logical move, just geographically. And especially as our son moves into the higher grades, where the Glendale schools are drawing students from an ever widening region, further and further from our home. When he attended elementary there was no issue, because it definitely felt like our neighborhood school. Now at Rosemont, not so much. Recently, the school has had to issue warnings to parents about the behavior of Rosemont kids after school, rude behavior which i have witnessed myself when picking up my son. The way some of those kids behave does not match how we raised our son, and it is a little disturbing.
However, when the Sagebrush issue was discussed a year or so ago at the Crescenta Valley Town Council, which opposed it, the tenor of some of the speakers also lacked the civility I want to teach my son. There were distortions and lies, and a good deal of anger, expressed towards the parents who wanted to vote for the property transfer. I was very upset at the accusation that we, as Sagebrush parents, only wanted the transfer to increase our property values. It was so insulting because it suggested that we valued money more than the quality of education of our own children.
This morning, I received an email from supporters of the transfer regarding robo calls allegedly made by the GUSD Superintendent. The email suggests the superintendent is making false claims about the transfer, to scare residents in advance of this week’s hearing on the matter. I did not personally receive any such calls, possibly because I live in Sagebrush. But I don’t doubt the allegations, based on the tactics I have seen from opponents in the past.
I do see the superintendent’s letter on the district website, though I could only find it in Spanish. It is really divisive and misleading. And because the letter does NOT represent the wishes or interests of the Sagebrush families, it only reinforces the feeling that we don’t really belong in the Glendale district, where we are ignored at the highest level.
As my representatives on the school board, I want you to faithfully and truthfully represent our position on this issue. I would like you to know that we are not supporting a Sagebrush transfer because we dislike Glendale schools, or just want higher property values. We want the transfer because it makes sense for our neighborhood to be integrated with the rest of our city, which is La Cañada.
This is not a matter of self-interest for us. Yes, by some measures, the La Cañada schools perform better than GUSD. By other measures that matter to us, such as diversity, they are not as desirable. So, even if the transfer had already gone through, I am not sure I would pull Andres out of the Glendale schools he’s already attending, or set to attend. I am thinking of his happiness and his desire to stay with his life-long friends.
But the transfer ultimately is the right choice for the future. We are a small group, but our voices should be heard.
La Cañada Flintridge
June 10, 2014
Dear Glendale Unified School Board Members,
It has been many years of battling which school district we should belong to. We are not Glendale or La Crescenta, we are La Canada Flintridge residents and should be part of La Canada School District. We want to be part of La Canada School district and want to assume the responsibility that comes with that which are La Canada taxes. It would not be fair to La Canada to be able to join their district but have no financial responsibility. There is a plan in place for six years that favors both sides.
After hearing that 85% of households surveyed in the sagebrush area of La Canada are in favor of joining LCUSD, I believe GUSD members should vote for what people desire – La Canada residents attending La Canada schools! Please do not disappoint. It has been too long of a wait.
Please vote on this issue at your next meeting June 17, 2014!
Thanks for your attention to this matter.
La Cañada Flintridge