The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent, Ramon Cortines, has made a decision to restrict the type of permits that allow students whose families live within their district boundaries to attend schools in other districts. This decision could deepen the $14 million budget deficit the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is already facing due to the California’s budget crisis.
Currently, SMMUSD receives almost $7 million annually from the state’s Average Daily Attendance funding for the 1,245 students who are on Inter-District permits from the LAUSD. In an interview with the Mirror, SMMUSD’s Superintendent, Tim Cuneo, mentioned that the LAUSD permit students were spread out throughout the district but the two schools that would be most effected by the policy change would be Santa Monica High School and the Edison Language Academy. At this time he is “not sure of what the impact” will be on the district.
The magnitude of the effect on the district would depend on the type of Out-going Permit each LAUSD permit student has received in order to attend the SMMUSD because LAUSD is allowing exceptions to its new policy. One exception is to allow students whose parents work in the district outside of the LAUSD to continue to receive a Parent Employment Permit. The other exception would be the Senior Status Permit which would be issued to allow students to complete their final year in another district at their current school if they are going to be in the 5th, 8th, or 12th grade.
Cuneo is “concerned about the timing” of the announcement of the change in LAUSD’s permit policy. He just learned about it on March 8 even though Cortines notified his Board of Education about the change on February 16. Timing is important here because changes in enrollment could effect the district staffing. By law, if teachers have to be laid off for the next academic year they must be noticed by March 15. Cuneo stated that if its necessary to reduce the number of teachers due to the new policy it would not be done until “the following year.”
SMMUSD’s current permit policy allows up to 200 new permit students to enter district schools but not at the high school level. Cuneo noted that recently this has meant about 135-145 new permit students enter the district annually.
The Superintendent also mentioned that very few students whose parents live in the SMMUSD request to attend school outside the district. It is usually requested when a parent works outside the city.