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Glendale wins latest round on Sagebrush

March 31, 2000

Claudia Peschiutta

GLENDALE -- School district officials are declaring victory in the

fight to keep Glendale Unified's borders intact.

A state Court of Appeals recently upheld a prior decision that would

keep the so-called Sagebrush territory of the district, which creeps into

neighboring La Canada Flintridge, within Glendale Unified limits,

district officials said.

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"This is a significant victory, in my judgment, for a long-standing

position of the Glendale Unified School District, which is that the State

Board of Education ruled properly on this years ago," Jim Brown,

superintendent of Glendale schools, said Thursday.

Residents within the Sagebrush area, which is served by schools in La

Crescenta, have for years been fighting to have the 385-acre territory

transferred to the La Canada Unified School District.

Arguments have centered on the idea that La Canada children should be

able to attend school within their community.

A request to transfer the territory was approved at the county level

but later overturned by the State Board of Education. The case has since

been working its way through the courts.

"There are people that very strongly support it," said Meredith

Reynolds, president of the La Canada Board of Education.

Neither the La Canada district nor the board is taking a position on

the issue, she said.

"I would be happy to have the school district and the city boundaries

[conterminous], but I would not allow a transfer to happen that would

hurt our budgets, either," Reynolds said.

About 250 Glendale Unified students come from the Sagebrush area and

attend Mountain Avenue, Rosemont Middle and Crescenta Valley High

schools, said Vic Pallos, a spokesman for Glendale Unified.

Losing students would also mean losing state funding, which depends on

average daily in-seat attendance.

But Brown said more than money would be lost if territories were

transferred out of school districts without demonstrating a substantial

public interest for doing so.

"It would lead to a segregated school system," he said. "It would

create anarchy and chaos in school governance."

Reynolds said the Sagebrush issue probably hasn't come to an end.

"This is an issue that has been litigated and discussed for years, and

I'm sure that it will continue to be an issue," she said.

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