The Superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), Tim Cuneo, announced on March 17 that he and other district superintendents were banning together to fight the new Los Angles Unified School District (LAUSD) out-going permit policy. The policy could cause cash strapped districts to lose badly needed Average Daily Attendance (ADA) state revenue.
The announcement was made at a meeting at John Adams Middle School that was packed by anxious LAUSD permit parents who were worried about whether of not their children would be able to continue to attend SMMUSD schools next fall.
LAUSD’s Superintendent, Ramon Cortines made a decision in February to restrict the type of permits that allow students whose families live within their district boundaries to attend schools in other districts. Currently, SMMUSD receives almost $7 million annually from the state’s ADA funding for the 1,245 students who are on Inter-District permits from the LAUSD.
Cuneo and other district superintendents would like to grandfather in all the LAUSD students and siblings who currently are attending school districts on out-going permits from the LAUSD as soon as possible. This according to Cuneo will help permit families so they won’t have to live under a cloud of “uncertainty” about what school district their child will be attending next fall. This will also help students maintain continuity in their education.
The magnitude of the effect on SMMUSD would depend on the type of out-going permit each student has received in order to attend SMMUSD, because LAUSD is allowing exceptions to its new policy. One exception is to allow students whose parents work in the district outside of 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 fifth, eighth, or 12th grade.
In an interview with the Mirror, SMMUSD Director of Pupil Services Marilyn Freidman explained that the district currently only knows which permit students have parents that work for the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu, the school district, and Santa Monica College because the district gives priority to those families to have their children attend district schools.
However, they don’t know which permit students have parents that work within the city boundaries of Santa Monica and Malibu. SMMUSD intends to gather that information because those students would be eligible to remain in the district due to the exception for the parent employment -permit.
She is encouraging LAUSD parents to apply for their out-going permits as soon as possible so if they are denied they have adequate time to appeal the decision. She noted that LAUSD is developing a new appeal process because in the past “normally when families applied they were approved.” She said that “if a permit application is denied LAUSD will give the family steps on how to appeal.”
If a family’s appeal to LASUSD is unsuccessful they can then appeal the LAUSD decision to the Los Angeles County Office of Education. SMMUSD Office of Pupil Services will help them with the appeal process.
School Board President, Barry Snell, said the funds the sistrict receives from the state for ADA are based on the prior year so LAUSD decision will not effect the District’s budget for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Hugo Pedroza, who is the principal of Santa Monica High School, told the Mirror that there are over 400 LAUSD permit students at his school and as far as he knows about one-third of them have parents that work in the cities of Santa Monica and Malibu.
Superintedent Cuneo is also working with the Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education on the issue.
More information about the permit appeal process can be found at www.smmusd.org.
Mirror Contributing Writerhannah@smmirror.com