By Kevork KURDOGHLIAN
The La Cañada Unified School District governing board voted to postpone voting on a resolution supporting the “territory transfer” of a specified area in the City of La Cañada Flintridge, which falls within Glendale Unified School District boundaries.
Board president Scott Tracy explained to the approximately 110-person crowd, 100 of which were in attendance only for the “territory transfer” discussion, that deferring the vote to the next board meeting on Aug. 6 was in the best interest of all the entities involved.
He said everyone knows it is in everyone’s best interest “if we can avoid contentiousness,” like that from the 1990s effort to incorporate the area into LCUSD boundaries.
Tracy also explained that the district is taking “parallel paths” on the matter. In addition to the petition that will be submitted to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization (LACCSDO), the county committee responsible for the final decision on the transfer, LCUSD is in talks with GUSD with hopes of reaching a compromise in which both districts benefit.
LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and board president Tracy are scheduled to continue this discussion with GUSD Superintendent Dick Sheehan and board member Greg Krikorian on Tuesday, July 23.
The Glendale Unified School District board will be officially briefed for the first time on the “territory transfer” at its regular meeting on Tuesday, July 16.
La Cañada’s discussion with Glendale is “very early” and in the “fact finding” stage. Board member Joel Peterson, who is also a member of the LACCSDO, said La Cañada Unified is “grateful that GUSD took this road…it is such a positive effort on their part.”
Before opening the floor to a community discussion, President Tracy read the purpose of the resolution is “to bring greater unity in the community,” a sentiment which received a huge round of applause from the audience.
Then followed a series of community members who spoke on the issue, most prominently Tom Smith, a Sagebrush citizen and leader of the citizens’ group petitioning the City of La Cañada Flintridge.
He said, “There have been so many one-off discussions between neighbors” about a potential “territory transfer” during his eight years in Sagebrush. He too shared the movement’s goal as “bringing cohesiveness to the community and the schools.”
“Why slice off a part of the community?” he asked. “It doesn’t make sense anymore.” He dislikes GUSD’s answer of “burying [their] head in the sand and saying this is how it’s been for 150 years.”
Another theme running through the community discussion was the potential marginalization of Sagebrush kids in youth groups. Craig Baker, a one and a half year resident of Sagebrush with two young kids, expressed concern that his kids would be marginalized since his kids would be attending GUSD schools but playing little league baseball with kids from LCUSD schools.
La Cañada resident Marilyn Smith, who lived in Sagebrush at the time of the city’s incorporation and a member of the 1978 committee to incorporate the area into La Cañada Flintridge boundaries, confirmed Baker’s concerns. Before moving her family within LCUSD boundaries, she said, “We knew our kids would be marginalized,” as she referred to her kids’ involvement in the AYSO soccer league in the 1980s.