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LCUSD ‘ready, willing and able’ to accommodate Sagebrush transfer

La Cañada Unified School District
A public hearing on whether students living in the La Cañada’s westernmost “Sagebrush” area should be transferred from Glendale Unified to La Cañada Unified is scheduled to go before the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization Oct. 2.
(File photo)

La Cañada Unified school officials reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the potential transfer of students in the city’s westernmost “Sagebrush” territory in district boundaries Tuesday, in advance of an Oct. 2 hearing by a county committee on district reorganization.

Members of the La Cañada school board unanimously passed a resolution, their fifth since 2013, declaring their support for transferring students into LCUSD who live in La Cañada Flintridge but whose homes lie within the boundaries of the Glendale Unified schools.

The transfer is being considered by the county at the request of resident group Unite LCF, who petitioned the county in 2013 — the most recent of several such attempts filed since 1961.

Past efforts were appealed and put before the state, after GUSD claimed the loss of students would be a significant financial hardship for the district, which receives per-pupil funding based on attendance and also relies on assessed property valuation of district homes for bond funding.

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 Sagebrush map
La Cañada Unified school officials reaffirmed their commitment to supporting the potential transfer of students in the city’s westernmost “Sagebrush” territory in district boundaries Tuesday, in advance of an Oct. 2 hearing by a county committee on district reorganization.
(Steve Greenberg / Times Community News)

A few of the 800 residents who signed the petition requesting to be rezoned spoke at Tuesday’s board meeting, where LCUSD Supt. Wendy Sinnette assured residents the district was “ready, willing and able” to accommodate the transfer and noted how a family identifies plays a significant role in the debate.

“As supporters of the petitioners we’re mostly respectful of their right to identify with their city and their right to have a voice in the district that they choose or are allowed to attend,” Sinnette said. “It seems like there’s a real need to listen to the residents and allow them to shape their destiny.”

The superintendent said about 221 of an estimated 400 Sagebrush students already attend LCUSD schools. If a transfer were to be approved, the district would honor all requests from families wishing to remain in GUSD.

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Sagebrush resident Nick Karapetian, the father of twin La Cañada High School freshmen, said students like his sons now make up 5% of the district.

“It’s about giving them a sense of belonging and wholeness in their community that they didn’t feel before,” he said of the transfer. “That’s what Sagebrush has been fighting for for 60 years.”

A public hearing before the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization has been scheduled for an Oct. 2 meeting, which begins at 9:30 a.m., 9300 Imperial Highway, in Downey.

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