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Update: Glendale, La Cañada school officials negotiate Sagebrush

February 14, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
(Steve Greenberg…)

The long simmering issue over the Sagebrush territory in La Cañada — an area whose students have historically been served by Glendale Unified — is still ongoing, school board members confirmed this week.

The decades-old battle on behalf of La Cañada residents to match that city’s school boundaries with its city limits was reignited by Sagebrush resident Tom Smith last year.

For La Cañada school board President Ellen Multari, the end goal is to incorporate the La Cañada territory into that city’s school district.

“Our negotiations are ongoing,” she said. “Both districts are still talking.”

“It’s a slow process,” Multari added. “It’s a complicated issue. It’s something we want to do correctly.”

Smith’s effort, with support from La Cañada city and school officials, gained momentum last summer and spurred La Cañada and Glendale school officials to meet over the matter.

By the time the holidays approached, discussion over the Sagebrush issue appeared to reach a slower pace. In La Cañada, three new residents joined the La Cañada school board, taking their official seats in December.

On Tuesday, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council met behind closed doors to negotiate with Glendale Unified School District the price and terms of payment for a parcel of land in the 4900 block of Oceanview Boulevard, a property that leads to Mountain Avenue Elementary School in La Crescenta and is used to access the campus by Sagebrush area students. The city’s potential purchase of this property at a fair market value was identified in the fall as a potential bargaining chip during the negotiations process, but no announcements of an agreed purchase price were made following this week’s closed session.

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Also on Tuesday, the superintendent of La Cañada Unified, Wendy Sinnette, said during a meeting of the school board that “both parties are working together to meet the concerns and interests of the other.” She said the next step is to schedule a subcommittee meeting, and after that, more information will be revealed to the public.

In Glendale, the last time the school board publicly discussed the territory transfer was in October.

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