By Kevork KURDOGHLIAN
Well wishes were extended to the community at the first meeting of 2014 of the La Cañada Unified School District board of education on Jan. 7. This is the school board’s second meeting since the November 2013 election when David Sagal, a Warner Bros. executive, Dan Jeffries, a prosecutor at the L.A. City Attorney’s office, and Kaitzer Puglia, a professor at Pasadena City College, were elected to the school board.
With a new composition, the board members wanted to reaffirm to the community its support of the territory transfer of the western portion of La Cañada presently under the jurisdiction of the Glendale Unified School District.
As one of its first acts, the board unanimously readopted a resolution supporting the territory transfer to emphasize its importance to LCUSD. After the vote, the board discussed the possibility of reordering the priority of acceptance for out-of-district students attending LCUSD. According to Superintendent Wendy Sinnette, the item was on the agenda because of a complaint from a parent who lives in Sagebrush.
The unidentified parent wanted the applications of Sagebrush students to have greater priority over the “Alan bill” students in the lottery consideration process for admitting out-of-district students.
“Alan bill” students, whose parents work 30 hours or more within LCUSD boundaries, most often are children of JPL employees, and do not need a release letter from their home school district. Historically these students had priority consideration. Students living in Sagebrush are second in line for consideration and need a letter of release from GUSD.
The board came to the consensus that a reordering would weaken its position at the negotiating table with Glendale over the disputed territory.
Board member Jeffries noted a reordering is “not a solution and may set us back on the [territory transfer] goal.” He later added, “We’d almost be creating false hope.”
The board decided to table the issue until the territory transfer is resolved.
The board also provided an update on the Measure LC campaign to pass a $450 parcel tax to help fund LCUSD schools. This tax will be replacing the previous $150 tax passed in 2009 with 75% of the community voting in favor of the tax.
Board member Andrew Blumenfeld reported that the “heart of the campaign is the phone banking effort,” which began on Jan. 7.
In describing the process he said, “A lot has been done to lay ground up until this point.” He also said that now is the time when “preparation turns into execution.”
During the board meeting’s Common Core report, Paradise Canyon Elementary third grade teacher Amy Wawrychuk and three of her students provided a demonstration of the use of QR codes in the classroom.
The students used their iPads to scan the quick response – QR – code, which would take that student to a link with the student’s video presentations on biomes. This, along with the installation of a new iPad lab at Palm Crest Elementary, is part of a district effort to integrate technology into the classroom in preparation of the full implementation of the new Common Core State Standards in the upcoming school year.