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Sagebrush shows up on GUSD agenda

Not all members support transfer of students from Glendale to LCF school district.

April 16, 2014|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

Reaction from Glendale school board members on transferring the students living in the west side of La Cañada known as the Sagebrush area to the LCUSD was mixed Tuesday night during the board’s first public discussion of the matter since a town hall meeting last month.

“At the end of the day, I think [the territory transfer is] the best move for all of us,” said Glendale school board member Greg Krikorian. “Far too many times, elected bodies bump heads and they end up putting dollars in legal pockets and law firms’ pockets and no one wins.”

His board colleague Christine Walters lauded La Cañada city leaders and school officials in both districts for creating a “democratic process” that has involved officials hearing input from residents at public meetings and entering into monthslong negotiations that has resulted, in part, to a six-year phase in plan.

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“To me, this is the model for how problems need to be solved,” Walters said, adding that the last time the issue surfaced between the two districts, it resulted in an “ugly” and “expensive” legal battle.

“It was fruitless in the end,” she added. “Having attorneys beating each other up over this is something I’m not interested in…I will be voting for the transfer. I have a lot of confidence that this is the right thing to do.”

Fifteen residents, many of them from the Sagebrush area, spoke Tuesday night, the majority saying they are in favor of the transfer. But not every school board member appears confident the transfer is a good idea, although they may be voting on the proposal as soon as next month, according to Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan.

“The problem with me and Sagebrush is very basically this: You’re asking me to tell a whole group of people that their property taxes are going to go up and they’re going to pay a $400 dollar a year parcel tax, plus or minus, that they didn’t get to vote upon,” said Glendale school board President Mary Boger, referring to the $450 Measure LC parcel tax approved by LCUSD voters in March. “I will be happy to say, ‘au revoir,’ to Sagebrush when I have had the opportunity to be presented with evidence that the majority of the registered voters of the Sagebrush territory are willing to assume that taxation.”

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