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BHUSD Moves Forward To Revise Permit Policy

The Beverly Hills Board of Education is moving forward with its revision of the school district’s permit policy, as it does annually to review the number of permits to issue for the following year.

In the last of three study sessions Monday, boardmembers directed staff to draft revisions of  policies that will be brought for a formal vote in February. Revisions include the following:

• If enrolled by July 15, all resident students will have the option to attend their neighborhood school (the school closest to the home). Although the commitment might mean adding new teachers at schools, or creating combination classes, the board is committed to the new policy.  

District staff’s proposal to minimize the movement of students is to leave a few empty seats at each grade level to allow for new enrollees, and consider combination classes.

• There will be no change to how the board prioritizes movement of students if overflow occurs at a school. However, movement will be prevented as much as possible. Students will only be moved once.

“Movement is destructive to students,” Myra Demeter said. “We will make all the efforts to minimize movement, and only move when necessary.”  

Brian Goldberg suggested looking at creating a zero based budget, carving out part of that budget to minimize the movement of students.

“Anything to stabilize enrollment is better,” said Beverly Vista Principal Erik Warren. “It is better for the student to be stabilized.” All principals and district staff share this thought.

The issue of tenure, after a certain time two years 10 days – a student would not be impacted, was delayed to the budget study session on Feb. 3.

• No new opportunity permits will be issued for the following year except for the children of City and BHUSD employees. The decision was unanimous.

• A small number of new diversity and legacy permits will be granted. Diversity permits are only granted at the high school.

“I have seen a number of wonderful kids go through our diversity program,” said Lurie. “I would support continuing issuing at the level of 10.”  

The number of how many Legacy permits will be issued and at what grade level is still under discussion. Steven Fenton, Lurie, Nooshin Meshkaty and Goldberg agreed to keep the number small.

Myra Demeter is opposed to issuing any new Legacy permits. “To suggest not having opportunity permits, but allowing legacy permits is deeply troubling to me,” she stated.

 • For students currently possessing permits, the board agreed those students would continue if they meet the terms of the permit. Terms include meeting attendance and behavior requirements.

This concludes the last of three study sessions that started Oct. 14.  

Since the discussion began, all five members have worked with the district’s staff closely, considering a variety of factors that will largely affect the district’s current and outdated permit policy.

Those factors include:

• The awareness that the district will transition to a basic aid district within two to three years.

• Factoring in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mid-year cut to the state’s education budget by $11.2 billion, followed by proposed cuts for the following school years by 16 percent in 2009-2010 and 16 percent in 2010-2011.

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