The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education voted to modify the District’s permit policy in order to slow down the decline in enrollment the District is currently experiencing.
This new policy lifts the moratorium placed on interdistrict permits in Malibu completely, and lifts the moratorium for this year in Santa Monica. By taking this action, the Board hopes to permit in 200 students between the two cities to compensate for the 200 permit students the District is currently losing annually. The Board had placed a moratorium on interdistrict permits back in the 2001-02 academic year.
By changing the policy, the Board hopes to improve District state revenues two years down the line and help those schools that need to increase in size.
Changes in the policy in regards to permitting students in when the District has adequate staffing and budget will be:
1. Intradistrict permits (those families who live in the District but want their children to attend different schools than they are zoned for).
2. Interdistrict permits for District employees who live outside the District.
3. Interdistrict permits for siblings of children with interdistrict permits.
4. Interdistrict permits for children of employees who work for the cities of Malibu or Santa Monica.
5. Interdistrict permits for children of Santa Monica College employees.
6. Interdistrict permits for children who are in good standing and have been in the District at least three years even though they have moved out of the District.
Board member Kelly McMahon Pye asked District officials whether there would be a problem with the home districts of students requesting permits releasing the students to come to the SMMUSD because other districts are facing declining enrollment as well.
Deputy Superintendent Tim Walker responded that this has been a problem with the Inglewood School District in terms of secondary students, but so far it hasn’t been a problem with the Los Angeles Unified School District because of its “size.”
In an interview with the Mirror, Walker stressed that in order for an interdistrict permit student to remain in the District they must “maintain adequate grades, behavior, and attendance.”
Santa Monica Classroom Teachers Association President Harry Keiley told the Board his Association was in support of the revised policy “due to the downward pressure on the state budget that we will feel.” He then pointed out that even with this new policy in place, the District “will still be down 200 students next year from the current level” of enrollment.