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More than 50 camp out in hopes of transfering their children into LCUSD

March 15, 2011|By Joe Piasecki, joe.piasecki@latimes.com

“Every year, people start showing up dramatically earlier,” said Johnson, who was attracted to the high-performing district for its art, music, technology and other special programs. “There are a lot of enrichment opportunities [at LCUSD] that are hard to come by these days.”

Other parents came from as far as Burbank, but Pasadena residents appeared to outnumber others four to one.

Rather than be put off by education boosters’ recent calls for $2,500 stakeholder donations this year, Lichtenberg and Johnson said they wouldn’t mind opening their wallets to help LCUSD continue to meet high parent expectations.

“I appreciate that La Cañada is upfront with what they need financially to meet the goals of the parents. Other districts don’t ask, probably because they assume they’re not going to get it,” Johnson said.

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Compared to private school tuition, “It’s a bargain,” Lichtenberg added.

Aside from recruiting potentially active new stakeholders, Tracy said that allowing some out-of-district students to attend LCUSD brings other financial benefits to the district by stabilizing total enrollment.

“From a purely financial point of view, adding enrollment — or in our case, maintaining enrollment — is absolutely to our benefit financially and definitely allows us to keep our class-size ratios as low as they are,” Tracy said.

Out-of-district student attendance generates the same amount of state revenue for LCUSD as students who live in La Cañada. By striking the right enrollment balance, the district gets more bang for its buck by serving a greater number of students with the same fixed expenses and level of administrative staff.

For Anna Young of Montrose, a more than 22-hour wait outdoors is a small sacrifice for the chance for her 13-year-old daughter to enroll at La Cañada High School’s 7/8 campus rather than a Glendale Unified School District middle school.

“We only want the best for her,” Young said.

Although some who camped out thought LCUSD officials could have better accommodated parents by allowing them to return to their homes after taking a number in line, spirits generally remained high.

“It’s been a great little community here. I’m with neighbors who live half a mile away who I’ve never met before,” Klein said. “It’s kind of like getting a good spot at the Rose Parade — a little less rowdy, but still a good time.”
 
 

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