Sagebrush

The following illustration shows the "Sagebrush" region, which 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. (Steve Greenberg / Times Community News / July 15, 2013)

An effort to wrestle the westernmost part of La Cañada Flintridge out from under the domain of Glendale Unified appears to be gaining steam.

About 60 La Cañada residents filled the meeting room at the La Cañada Unified School District headquarters on Tuesday night to show support for the effort, many of them carrying 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.

But recently, a group of citizens that recently formed to reignite the process has gained momentum. Last month, the group encouraged the city to pass a resolution in support of the transfer and in the weeks since has grown in size.

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 school 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.”

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.

Hammons said she fought to unify the city and its school district in the past to no avail.

“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 talks with Glendale Unified officials.

La Cañada school board President Scott Tracy said he and his colleagues would likely 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.”

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.

The board may make a decision as early as Aug. 6. But, Tracy said, “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.”

Glendale Unified school board member Greg Krikorian said school officials from both districts have already begun discussing the issue.

“It is a unique occasion where both elected bodies are getting together and looking at ways where we could realistically look for options in an amicable way,” he said.

The Glendale board of education is slated to discuss the matter publicly in August, he added.

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