Letter calls for transferring Sagebrush students into LCUSD

A group of La Cañada Flintridge residents have resurrected an effort to transfer students who live in the westernmost section of the city, but attend Glendale public schools, into the La Cañada Unified School District.

Last month, the residents wrote city officials, asking them to endorse a resolution in support of moving the so-called Sagebrush area, which the Glendale Unified School District has historically fought hard to keep, into schools within their own city.

On Monday night, the City Council approved the resolution, which they called the first step of a lengthy process. Council members said the assimilation of the territory into the city’s school district would unite the community and offer students a chance to attend the same schools as their friends in the city.

“What this really is about is community identity and bringing in full segments of the community into one,” said Councilman Jon Curtis. “It’s about supporting the La Cañada Unified School District and it’s about the students within La Cañada really having an equal opportunity.”

The transfer, he added, is not about one school district being better than the other.

Tom Smith, who authored the letter to the city with about a dozen other residents, said he does not have any children who go to either school district, but knows neighbors who would be affected.

“It struck me as a bit odd that the [Sagebrush] children should not be able to go to La Cañada schools where many of their friends are,” he said.

The neighboring Glendale Unified School District has for many decades included a sliver of La Cañada, which feeds into La Crescenta schools. Residents in the area have fought for years to have their children transferred to La Cañada’s district, but Glendale Unified has won all legal battles to date to keep the area in its district.

Officials from the GUSD could not be immediately reached for comment on the resolution or confirm how many students from the Sagebrush area attended their schools. In 2000, they reported that about 250 students from La Cañada were enrolled at Mountain Avenue Elementary, Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High School.

Smith’s group will now submit an application, along with the city’s resolution, to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization.

Both the City Council and the La Cañada school board have formed subcommittees to study the issue and assist the group as needed.

District officials said La Cañada would have plenty of room to accommodate the students in the Sagebrush area if the boundaries of the district are shifted. Scott Tracy, president of the La Cañada school board, said the district has seen a decline in enrollment over the years and currently has about 600 out-of-district students attending La Cañada schools.

While the full school board has not considered the issue, Tracy said he expects that its members will support a resolution in favor of the transfer. He also reiterated council members’ comments that the issue is not about the quality of education or real estate values.

“It’s about being part of the city,” he said. “There’s really a deep community identity with the city and they’re isolated from the rest of the community.”


Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.


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