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District looks for input from Sagebrush residents

Glendale and La CaƱada school officials scheduled to attend March 25 meeting.

March 12, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Mountain Avenue School in La Crescenta, pictured on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, is one of the schools that falls into the Sagebrush territory.
Mountain Avenue School in La Crescenta, pictured on Thursday,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Following months of meetings and closed-door negotiations, Glendale Unified officials are seeking input from Sagebrush residents on whether the La Cañada area should be transferred to that city’s district.

The area has historically been served by Glendale Unified, although efforts on behalf of residents to transfer the territory to La Cañada Unified spans decades. A current proposal would allow for the transfer, but would allow parents to choose which district to send their children to during a six-year period.

Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan said school officials are going to make a push to attract a large crowd at the town hall meeting, scheduled for March 25.

“We wanted to make sure we had a negotiated settlement that would not be influenced by the town hall meeting. But the whole decision hinges on the town hall meeting,” he said, adding that “If the community overwhelmingly says, ‘We want to stay in Glendale,’ I think we would fight it.”

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But if residents speak in favor of joining La Cañada Unified, Sheehan said he believes the Glendale school board “will grant them their wishes.”

“This is where truly our board wants to hear what their residents have to say,” he said.

When La Cañada incorporated in 1976, La Cañada Unified was already 15 years old. For reasons unknown to school officials today, the new city’s boundary did not line up with the school district, and students living in the Sagebrush area attend Mountain Avenue Elementary, Rosemont Middle School and Crescenta Valley High.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Glendale school board member Greg Krikorian said officials have had their eye on “the bigger picture” as they’ve negotiated with La Cañada school officials.

“Sometimes, we’ve got to look for common ground,” he said.

The most recent push echoes one made by Sagebrush residents in 1991. That year, a group filed a petition with the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, which voted to approve the transfer in 1992. Glendale Unified, however, filed an appeal with the California State Board of Education, which blocked the transfer.

Krikorian, who joined the Glendale school board in 2001, said former school board members told him about the divide that ensued.

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