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Candidate list rises to eight in La Cañada Unifed School board race

Incumbent, hopefuls will vie for three available spots on the school board.

August 14, 2013|By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com

One incumbent and seven hopefuls have filed their nomination papers in a race to fill three open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District board, county records showed early Wednesday afternoon. The deadline for filing was 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Current board member Joel Peterson, who had been mulling a reelection campaign, filed on Friday. Peterson is currently serving his second four-year term.

The filing period for the Nov. 5 election was extended from Aug. 9 until Aug. 4 because incumbents Scott Tracy and Susan Boyd decided not to seek reelection.

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Peterson said members of the community ultimately convinced him to seek another term to keep “continuity and institutional memory” on the board.

“They felt I had demonstrated competence over the years as well,” he said. “They also felt I brought a link between the school district and the broader community.”

The new candidates vying for a seat on the board are a mix of parents and young people, including one student.

Educator and parent Kaitzer Puglia, Los Angeles school counselor Karyn Riel, Los Angeles prosecutor Dan Jeffries, Warner Bros. executive and attorney David Sagal, recent Harvard graduate Ian Mirisola, Urban Fitness Pilates Studio owner Jennifer Rubendall and Glendale Community College student Kevork Kurdoghlian have filed.

Joe Layton, who ran for the City Council in March, and film producer Tim O’Hair, who has children in district schools, started the paperwork to run for a seat, but had not filed as of midday Wednesday, according to county records.

Rubendall and Mirisola were among the last candidates to join the race.

Mirisola, 23, grew up in La Cañada, attending Palm Crest Elementary and La Cañada High School. He lived in the westernmost part of the city, in the section that also includes the “Sagebrush” area, and said he often felt the impact of the separation of students into two school districts.

“Other kids my age didn’t know each other,” he said. “I’d drive by these houses with kids, and I never saw these kids before because they didn’t go to school with me. It always affected me.”

The school district recently passed a resolution in support of bringing the students who live in the Sagebrush area of the city and attend Glendale Unified schools into La Cañada Unified. The City Council passed a similar resolution in June.

Other candidates for the school board have also voiced their support in unifying the school district with the city.

The final list of qualified candidates for the election will be posted on the county registrar’s website in two to three weeks. 

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

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