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Around Town: One city. One school district

October 21, 2010

Last week, I wrote about the need to support our young families in their quest to lower class sizes in the La Cañada public elementary schools, and the need to encourage all parents to participate in the decision-making process.

Because of my focus on the plight of the Sagebrush families, I unintentionally mixed apples and oranges when I discussed permit students. I pointed out that the permit kids, including many from the Sagebrush area (which is in our city but falls within the Glendale Unified School District), live under a double-tier system and do not feel free to complain at school board meetings.

The following is not legal advice, and if you have an issue with respect to permits, please consult an attorney.

From time to time during the last 30 years, parents in the Sagebrush area have sought to be included in the La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD). The Sagebrush is a residential area west of Palm Crest Elementary School, inside the city limits of La Cañada Flintridge, but part of the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD).

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Ironically, the Sagebrush parents have less rights under the Education Code than parents who apply for transfer based on their work in the city of La Cañada Flintridge. Under Education Code sections 46609 and 46601, Sagebrush parents may request an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement. The agreement must be approved by both GUSD and LCUSD. The maximum term of the agreement is for five consecutive years. Each agreement may contain conditions, including conditions for revocation. If a request for an interdistrict transfer/reciprocal agreement is denied, the student's parents or guardians may file an appeal to the county office of education, within strict time limits. Consult with an attorney regarding those time limits and the legal provisions.

Transfers based on employment are treated differently. California Education Code section 48204(b), also known as the "Parent Employment" or "Allen Bill," permits a school district to deem a pupil to have complied with the residency requirements for school attendance in the district if at least one parent or guardian of the pupil is physically employed within the boundaries of that district. Under the Allen Bill, LCUSD is not required to admit a child. However, LCUSD may not discriminate based on "race, ethnicity, sex, parental income, scholastic achievement, or any other arbitrary consideration."

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