HANNAH HEINEMAN, Mirror Contributing Writer
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is considering renewing its interdistrict permit policy for the 2010-2011 with very few modifications. An interdistrict permit is issued by the School District so that students can attend school in the district, even though their parents live outside of the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu. The interdistrict permit policy has not been significantly modified since the 2008-2009 year. It was modified at that time in order to stabilize the declining enrollment trend in the district.
These policy changes retained the 2002 moratorium, but permitted new interdistrict permits for grades K-8 in Santa Monica and K-12 in Malibu. There was also a restriction of a total of 200 new interdistrict permits that could be issued districtwide. The policy did not permit any new permits for Olympic High School, and only new interdistrict permits for Santa Monica High School, if they were from certain priority categories. These categories were for students of parents who are employed by SMMUSD, the cities of Malibu and Santa Monica or Santa Monica College, or students who have siblings already attending the district on permit.
The School Board discussed the issue at its February 4 Board meeting. Board members recommended the clarification in language in the policy so that it is clear that children of district employees will have priority if there is adequate space and staffing in grades K-12.
The District’s Director of Pupil Services, Marilyn Freidman, told the Board that SAMOHI receives the most interdistrict permit applications. The number of permit students in the district has been on the decline since the 2003-2004 school year when the 2,536 permit students made up 20 percent of the district’s 12,842 student body. This year there are 1,545 permit students or 13 percent of the district’s 11,607 total students.
Board President Barry Snell told the Mirror after the meeting that, “presently 4 out of 5 of the 1,545 permits were priority type permits which shows the district is has a vested interest when parents provide services to the community.”
He also stated that the there is an “understanding that the optimal size for the district is between 11,500 students and 11,800 students.”
Therefore, the Board doesn’t want to increase the district size beyond that in order to get additional Average Daily Attendance funds from the state.
The board will take action on the issue at the February 18 board meeting.
Contact Hannah Heineman