Decision Pending, LCUSD’s Sagebrush Enrollment Grows

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As Sagebrush residents wait to learn whether their neighborhood will, at long last, be redistricted from Glendale Unified School District to La Cañada Unified, 59 additional students from the 385-acre westernmost slice of La Cañada Flintridge are expected to enroll in LCUSD on permits in the coming school year.
This year’s anticipated influx would bring the total of Sagebrush students attending LCUSD schools to 159, according to Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
“We do think this is a historic migration of students,” said Nalini Lasiewicz, one of the leaders of the citizens group, UniteLCF, which filed the petition requesting the transfer with the county. “It’s going to really impact their futures and make those families much more invested in the city.”
Sagebrush students continue to attend LCUSD schools on permits while the districts await the results of a California Environmental Quality Act review associated with the transfer, which in May received preliminary approval from the county’s Committee on School District Organization.
The Office of Education is currently finalizing the scope of work before starting the process of selecting an environmental consultant to conduce the CEQA study, Public Information Officer Margo Minecki said.
Once the results of the environmental review — which is expected to take about a year, according to Minecki — are known, the committee again will vote on the transfer. Members will decide whether to put the matter to a vote among residents, and which residents would vote.
LCF City Councilman Jonathan Curtis said during last week’s City Council candidate interviews that he’s encouraged by the continuing increase in Sagebrush enrollment.
“The more students in [LCUSD], the less Glendale can say this doesn’t make any sense,” said Curtis, who has represented the city in earlier discussions about the transfer. “It also shows La Cañada can handle it.”
Sinnette said in an email the district continues to support the transfer, “so long as we can clearly articulate a plan with the city of La Cañada Flintridge and/or the residents of the territory to ensure all financial impacts are mitigated in the event of the transfer.”
Since 1961, Sagebrush residents have fought for a change in boundaries that would send students in their area to LCUSD rather than GUSD. Before UniteLCF’s push, which started four years ago, there were a pair of previous failed attempts at legislation and three previous petitions.
An independent analysis last year determined 364 school-aged residents live in the Sagebrush territory.

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