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Glendale school board weighs Sagebrush transfer

Board members cite support, raise questions over territory during public discussion.

April 16, 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…)

Reaction from Glendale school board members on transferring the Sagebrush territory to La Cañada Unified was mixed Tuesday night during the board’s first public discussion of the issue since 350 people attended a town-hall meeting last month and most of the speakers supported the move.

“At the end of the day, I think it’s the best move for all of us,” said school board member Greg Krikorian. “Far too many times, elected bodies bump heads.”

Board member Christine Walters lauded La Cañada city officials as well as school officials in both districts for creating a “democratic process” that has involved hearing input from residents at public meetings and entering into monthslong negotiations that has resulted, in part, in a six-year phase-in plan.

“To me, this is the model for how problems need to be solved,” Walters said, adding that the last time the issue surfaced between the two districts, it resulted in an “ugly” and “expensive” legal battle.

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“It was fruitless in the end,” she said. “Having attorneys beating each other up over this is something I’m not interested in... I will be voting for the transfer. I have a lot of confidence that this is the right thing to do.”

Fifteen residents spoke Tuesday night, the majority were in favor of the transfer.

But not every school board member was confident in approving the transfer just yet.

“The problem with me and Sagebrush is very basically this,” said school board President Mary Boger. “You’re asking me to tell a whole group of people that their property taxes are going to go up and they’re going to pay a $400-a-year parcel tax, plus or minus, that they didn’t get to vote upon. I will be happy to say, ‘au revoir,’ to Sagebrush when I have had the opportunity to be presented with evidence that the majority of the registered voters of the Sagebrush territory are willing to assume that taxation.”

School board member Armina Gharpetian questioned the transfer’s effect on Mountain Avenue Elementary, wondering how it would cope with a potential enrollment dip.

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