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Document hints at potential transfer terms

Moving students to LCUSD could cost district nearly $6.5M and take six years.

April 02, 2014|By Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com

After decades of contention over whether Glendale or La Cañada Unified School District should have stewardship of children living in La Cañada’s westernmost territory, known as “Sagebrush,” school officials are closer than ever to negotiating a deal.

Superintendents from both districts answered residents’ questions in a March 25 town hall forum about a proposed territory transfer to La Cañada Unified and the impact it would have on families and school sites.

“There are a lot of deep roots, and I want to say that’s at the core of what we’re doing working together,” La Cañada Unified Supt. Wendy Sinnette said in her opening remarks at the event, held at Crescenta Valley High School.

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A list of “Frequently Asked Questions,” elucidating key points of negotiations thus far, was released before the forum. According to the nine-page document, LCUSD has offered to pay Glendale Unified $4.45 million over the next 13 years, in addition to another $2 million over six years, to compensate for the loss of taxpayers and an estimated 260 students.

Nothing is official yet — GUSD will publicly discuss the terms before a board vote that could come in May. But the figures hint at what consolidation of La Cañada residents into one district could mean for La Cañada Unified.

“LCUSD will wait for their vote and not make projections regarding outcome, although we felt the town hall was extremely positive,” said former Board President Scott Tracy, who’s been involved in discussions since the Unite LCF! Citizens group petitioned City Council and the school board last summer to write resolutions kick-starting the process.

The FAQ document, available at www.lcusd.net, states that a six-year phase-in of students could begin on a voluntary basis this fall, though an official transfer could not be formalized until July 1, 2015.

Sagebrush students entering kindergarten or transitional kindergarten, seventh or ninth grades could opt to enroll in LCUSD this fall. Those same grades would make the transition the following year, for six years, until all grade levels had moved over.

If a transfer occurs, Sagebrush property owners would be relieved of their property tax obligations to GUSD and begin to pay La Cañada property and parcel taxes effective 2015-16 (with tax payments due in December 2015 and April 2016).

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