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The 80-year battle over the Sagebrush Territory transfer may be ending, but l like so many other milestones in this saga, this may just be another bump in the road that propels this battle between the school districts for another 5 years. To be fair, I have taken snippets of articles from all sides of the aisle so you so the reader, can weigh in on what should happen next.

Should one or the other, GUSD or LCUSD give up the fight?

Posted by the CVWeekly in 2019
Sagebrush shares the La Cañada zip code and town name but falls within the school district boundaries of Glendale. As of August 2016, when the last petition filing took place, there were about 356 students living in the Sagebrush area who attended GUSD schools. The hope of UniteLCF, the pro-transfer movement, is to officially have Sagebrush transferred into LCUSD so the families of that area can send their children to La Cañada schools. Information as reported in the CV Weekly 2019

Posted by Unite LCF
For a look at the chronological history starting in 1871.

There are many boundaries, borders and districts that impact tax rolls, voting precincts and where we attend public schools.  Click here to see the present day LA Country district boundaries.  These boundaries and borders change from time to time.

A Long Journey to Today – History of the La Cañada Flintridge “Territory”

1871       Col. Theodore Pickens settled on a homestead in the foothills north of Rancho La Cañada, west of a canyon later named after him

1874       Col. Thomas Hall acquired the land north of Rancho La Cañada east of Pickens Canyon and named it Alta Canyada

1875       Dr. Jacob Lanterman and Col. Adolphus Williams bought Rancho La Cañada consisting of 5,830 acres for $10,000. Soon thereafter, lots were drawn in.

Continue reading the entire history courtesy of “Unite La Cañada Flintridge.”

From the Outlook in January 2020:
Though 2019 has faded away, the long-running battle to transfer the Sagebrush area into the La Cañada Unified School District has boiled over to the new year.

A Glendale Unified School District lawsuit and two appeals regarding the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization’s October approval of a petition to move Sagebrush from the GUSD are newer facets of the contentious issue.

The lawsuit regarding Sagebrush, which is in the western part of La Cañada Flintridge but historically has been part of the GUSD, was filed on Oct. 31 in L.A. Superior Court. A trial-setting conference is set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19.
The complaint contends that the county panel committed violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, including failing to properly analyze the project’s potential to create significant environmental impacts. Read the entire article.

As of January 2024, Posted by the CV Weekly.

From Superintendent Dr. Darneika Watson:

As you may recall, back in 2016 a group of residents from the territory known as Sagebrush submitted a petition to transfer students living in the Sagebrush area from GUSD to La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD). In October 2019, the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization voted to approve this petition and redraw the GUSD and LCUSD boundaries.

GUSD appealed the decision to the California State Board of Education (SBE). After several years of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBE is scheduled to consider our appeal at their meeting this Thursday, Jan. 18. I, along with Board President Jennifer Freemon, Board Member Ingrid Gunnell and several GUSD staff members, will attend this meeting and advocate for the SBE to reverse the County Committee’s decision and keep the Sagebrush territory in GUSD. Read the entire article.

From the La Canada Unified  Superintendent January 2024.

Dear LCUSD Community,

I hope this email finds you well and that 2024 is off to a great start for you and your family. I have some important and timely news I wanted to share with you.

As you may know, a potential Sagebrush territory transfer from the Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) to the La Canada Unified School District has been in discussion for over 10 years. After many rounds of appeals, we are excited to share that the California State Board of Education (SBE) has finally agendized the issue for their Thursday, January 18, 2024 meeting and we expect that they will make a final decision on the matter after hearing from both sides.

The SBE reviews recommendations on the matter as put forward by the California Department of Education (CDE). In this case, the CDE has found in favor of the territory transfer and has recommended that the SBE reject Glendale’s appeal of the LA County’s decision in favor of the Sagebrush petitioners. LCUSD concurs with this recommendation. However, the CDE is also recommending that the election area for the vote that would finalize the territory transfer would be the service areas of Crescenta Valley High School and La Canada High School. This means, in effect, that GUSD voters would outnumber the La Canada voters by a 2:1 margin, and LCUSD shares the Sagebrush petitioners’ concerns that such a voting area would make a final victory at the polls highly unlikely.
Read the entire post.

My Opinion
Based on my tiny involvement with the Sagebrush Territory transfer, an 80+ year battle, there doesn’t appear to be a significant community uproar among La Crescenta residents this time. This could be because some may not fully grasp the gravity of this prolonged conflict, have no knowledge, or most of the Sagebrush parents chose to go to La Canada on a permit so; therefore, there is no longer this vast break-up of friendships and connections as there would have been in the even 5 or 6 years ago.

Reflecting on 2016, when I served on the Crescenta Valley Town Council and supported Glendale Unified in the fight for territory, it’s evident that circumstances have evolved. The initial focus I was involved with was assuring GUSD retained ownership of the pocket park, and they have. For those who do not know, a small pocket park on Ocean View has a footbridge spanning Pickens Canyon, allowing access to Mountain Street and Mountain Avenue Elementary. As I contemplate the costs associated with continuing this battle, what becomes more relevant in today’s climate is the cost to support this fight for both districts, especially considering the ongoing decline in public school enrollment.

A critical question arises: is this dispute genuinely about the welfare of the kids, or is it primarily driven by concerns over the financial losses? It’s worth noting that residents of Sagebrush would shoulder a parcel tax if this transfer is approved, highlighting that this financial burden affects the broader community.

My skepticism about those claiming a lack of diversity honestly bothers me. These are two beautiful communities and Districts, and this is not what has driven this debate since 1961. To add this to the conversation now is irresponsible. Neither of these districts has demonstrated any signs of racial bias, and it’s essential to approach this issue with a fair and balanced perspective. If I were a parent in some of the other districts not fairing as well, I would be thrilled at the opportunity to have my kids in either of these school districts.

In conclusion, my thoughtful analysis prompts reflection on whether the resources invested in this ongoing battle involving a relatively small number of children and homes are still justified for GUSD.

For now, I will sit back and continue to watch the saga unfold.

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