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LCF residents want to unify school district

School board weighs resolution that would support inclusion of 'Sagebrush' area.

July 11, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com

About 60 La Cañada Flintridge residents filled the meeting room at the La Cañada Unified School District headquarters on Tuesday night to show support for expanding the district borders to include the westernmost part of the city.

The crowd ranged from parents to members of the City Council and city commissions to the Kiwanis Club. They carried fliers that read, "Unite La Cañada Flintridge. One City, One School District."

The region, known as the "Sagebrush" area, falls in Glendale Unified's boundaries. Parents who live in the area have fought for decades for the opportunity to enroll their children in La Cañada schools. A group of citizens recently formed to initiate the process once again.

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Despite previous attempts that failed, they say this time feels right. Last month, the group encouraged the city to pass a resolution in support of the transfer. Since then, the group has grown and several members spoke about their personal connection to the issue on Tuesday.

Harriet Hammons said she has lived in the region of La Cañada that is served by Glendale schools since 1970. She told the board that her children, who are now adults, had a "wonderful education" in Glendale, but they would have liked to have been connected with the other children in the city who attended schools in La Cañada.

"We need to unify ourselves," she said. "I feel very strongly that the school should be connected to the city."

Hammons said that she fought to connect the school with the whole city in the past.

"We went out petitioning," she said. "If that's what we need to do, I will do that again."

La Cañada Unified board members hesitated to pass their own resolution on Tuesday, citing pending talks with Glendale Unified officials.

Scott Tracy, president of the school board, said it's expected that the board will approve the resolution, but they need more time.

"It's very, very early," he said of the process. "It's sort of the fact-finding stage."

"It's in the best interests of everyone if we don't agitate or take any action that could be viewed negatively by those who haven't been brought into the circle," Tracy added.

The board may make a decision at its next meeting, on Aug. 6.

Requests for comment by Glendale Unified officials have not been returned.

It's common for cities in Los Angeles County to be divided between at least two school districts, but some think La Cañada, which has a small-town atmosphere, is different.

School board member Andrew Blumenfeld said no one exemplifies what the relationship between a city and a school district should be better than La Cañada.

"It is incomprehensible that we would have a piece of that that is not unified and part of that mission," Blumenfeld said.

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Follow Tiffany Kelly on Google+ and on Twitter: @LATiffanyKelly.

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