LCUSD Ready to Bring Back 3rd-Graders

The La Cañada Unified School District governing board unanimously voted last week to expand on-campus services by welcoming back 3rd-grade students on Feb.16 for in-person instruction.
Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said the move was possible because nearly half of families with 3rd-graders opted for the district’s virtual learning academy for the entire school year. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health permits schools to open for specialized services as long as the number of students on campus does not exceed 25% of total enrollment.
“I’m just very appreciative of the administrative team that’s worked so hard to implement all the protocols,” Sinnette told the Outlook Valley Sun on Tuesday. “I think it’s been fabulous that we’ve maintained a really positive and collaborative working relationship with both [the teachers and classified employees associations].”
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In Big Election Turnout, Locals Largely Favored Biden

Well, it’s official: La Cañada Flintridge residents care, and they show it by voting.
The final outstanding ballots from this year’s November general election were certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s office this week, and vote tallies indicate more LCF residents voted in this presidential election than any in recent history, with the majority supporting the Democratic candidate.
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Grateful for LCUSD Candidates and Right to Vote (Use It)

Charlie Plowman

It’s election season … and we are in the midst of competitive federal and state races and propositions. But this article is going to emphasize “local,” and that obviously means our La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board race.
For starters, we should all be thankful to have four candidates who want to give of their time and energy to help our students. Caroline Anderson, Jeremiah Arnold, Josh Epstein and Belinda Randolph should be commended for their willingness to donate hundreds (or is it thousands?) of hours over the next four years.
The two open school board seats aren’t salaried positions. These four individuals care about our community and youth so much that they are willing to endure the criticism that is inevitable during a four-year term so they can “give back.”
This race for the governing board positions is competitive, to say the least. Four candidates, two seats.

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Local Political Sign Theft Seen as ‘Sad,’ ‘Unfortunate’

The removal of campaign signs also was experienced by campaigns in the 2017 City Council election, with supporters for then-candidate Keith Eich reporting a slew of missing placards from their yards. Later, it was discovered that storm debris collectors had taken at least some of those signs.

The race involving four candidates for two seats on the La Cañada Flintridge Unified School District Governing Board has been marred by the theft of political signs from residential yards, a trend mirrored — and widely discussed on social media — across nearby municipalities ahead of the national, state and local elections on Nov. 3.
All of the LCUSD board candidates have reportedly had signs stolen or defaced since campaigning began, and though Sgt. Ed Retamoza of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station confirmed authorities have received multiple reports, he could not confirm a total. The crime is considered petty theft, he added.

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Governing Board Candidates Report on Donations

Jeremiah Arnold, one of four candidates looking to nab one of two open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board, raised more than $27,500 in campaign contributions through the most recent reporting period, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder’s Office.
Arnold’s campaign coffers, according to documents recording donations made through Sept. 19, were bolstered by a $9,500 loan from himself and about $2,700 in non-monetary contributions — such as bumper stickers and yard signs paid for by supporters. His campaign had also spent the most money for that period, with much of the approximately $15,600 — which also includes non-monetary contributions — going to advertising, including a rented billboard.
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LCUSD Candidates Tackle Issues Head-On at Forum

During a two-hour forum Tuesday night, four candidates earnestly stated their cases to be chosen for one of two open seats on the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board in the Nov. 3 election, answering questions on weighty and wide-ranging topics in rapid-fire succession.
In an event presented via Zoom and co-hosted by the League of Women Voters Pasadena Area and La Cañada Council PTA, the candidates fielded questions ranging from what makes them the best candidate to how they would speed the reopening of schools to improving the online learning platform in use because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
They also tackled queries on the implementation of any diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, potential changes in curriculum, methods to enhance the school district, ways to improve the LCUSD board, how to serve the students’ social and emotional needs, district policies the candidates may have disagreed with in the past, and many others.
About 226 viewers tuned in to watch the La Cañada School Board Candidate Forum in real time, as candidates were given two minutes to present an opening statement and one minute to respond to each question thereafter. No candidates were allowed to preview the questions, compiled in advance by the LWVPA. Due to the high volume of prepared questions, very few spontaneous questions by viewers were presented.

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Where Candidates Stand on DEI

As the local school board election on Nov. 3 approaches, readers have reached out to the Outlook Valley Sun as they try to understand the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion within the La Cañada Unified School District and each candidate’s stance on the issue. We asked the candidates to respond in about 350 words to the questions “How do you agree or disagree with the recent findings and recommendations from the DEI consultant hired by the district?” and “Do you have alternative solutions to any of her recommendations, and what are they?”
Here are their statements on the matter. Continue reading “Where Candidates Stand on DEI”

Letters to the Editor

LCUSD Leaders ‘Clarify the Record’

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in our community about the school district’s work on the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are grateful for the level of interest and appreciate all those who have offered their perspectives.
In addition to the many strong opinions expressed, however, there have also been many facts asserted or implied that we believe are at odds with reality in a way that might create confusion or even needless anxiety. We write today to help clarify the record, so that thoughtful and productive debate and community input can continue on solid, factual footing.
It is not accurate that the district is acting impulsively or superficially. Our current work on this topic has been underway since before the 2019-20 school year, and has involved public goal setting, workshops, surveys, focus groups and trainings. It is also far from done. The district will next create a committee that is broadly representative of the community to help identify top priorities for next steps. The board voted unanimously to incorporate this work into this school year’s superintendent’s goals to ensure that it continues with the highest degree of accountability and excellence.
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