Friday, March 26, 2010

TODAY’S INTERDISTRICT PERMIT NEWS/LACOE WEIGHS IN: Dispute Over Permits in LA and Beverly Hills Not Over + Parents pressuring LAUSD to reverse enrollment rule


“We certainly do anticipate an increase in appeals coming from Beverly Hills Unified School District and LAUSD.”

Victor Thompson, Ed. D.

director of student support services

Los Angeles County Office of Education

562-922-6233 -


 LACOE Interdistrict Attendance Appeal packet

Apelacion de Asistencia Interdistrital

 FAQ on Appeals (English & Spanish)




Dispute Over Permits Not Over

The Beverly Hills Courier - Amanda Peabody 

3/26/10 - Last week, Los Angeles Unified School District revoked most grants to interdistrict permits. So what’s next for families that were granted reprieve with the Jan. 12 BHUSD Board of Education vote to allow some children currently receiving an interdistrict permit to complete their education in Beverly Hills?

According to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE), those denied release from LAUSD schools are expected to fight.

“We certainly do anticipate an increase in appeals coming from Beverly Hills Unified School District and LAUSD,” said Victor Thompson, director of student support services for LACOE, the public office charged with overseeing all public education institutions in Los Angeles County. “We anticipate many more appeals than last year.”

Students wishing to apply for permit within BHUSD must first receive a release from their home district. As of March 17, all interdistrict permit release requests within LAUSD will be denied. Exceptions will be made for students entering their last year (e.g. fifth, eighth or 12th grade) and for students with one or more parents employed in their desired district, both of which are mandated by California education code. BHUSD expected the return of 457 permitted students under new guidelines established in January. Of those, only 121 students on permit meet LAUSD’s new criteria for release. LAUSD has roughly 12,000 students receiving district release grants.

Parents will be notified of denial and the process for appeal after permit application. Appeals must be submitted to the LAUSD Office of Permits and Student Transfers. If they are denied again, appeals are taken to the county level.

Per LACOE, appeals will be heard on a case-by-case basis, as states state education code.

“In general, though, each of the schools have their own local rules and regulations,” said Thompson. “We’re more concerned that parents exhaust all of their options on the local level first. We can’t hear their case until they do.”

Most cases will begin in early summer, said Thompson, as families cannot begin applying for permit within LAUSD until May 1.

The increase in requests may slow the process for students attempting to enter BHUSD as well.

“Beverly Hills Unified School District has not changed our policy (on acceptance of interdistrict permits) but as we have said all along, education code requires that the home district release the student every year,” said BHUSD Board of Education member Brian Goldberg. “And until their home district releases them, we can’t even consider them for a permit.” Current BHUSD permit policy states that for the 2010-2011 school year, all students in tenth through 12th grade will be granted an opportunity permit, as will students entering eighth grade. Other BHUSD permit categories affected by the LAUSD policy include environmental, legacy and diversity.

LACOE does have policies in place that advocate for continuity of education for all students, a possible foil to the new LAUSD permit policies.

“We say that LAUSD not letting (students) out is disruptive to the continuity their education and a major contradiction to the criterion of LACOE,” said Robert Tanenbaum, member of the Beverly Hills Residents Save the Children Committee, a group originally established to speak out against the BHUSD Board of Education 2010-2011 permit regulations.

To apply for interdistrict permit release from LAUSD, visit


Parents pressuring LAUSD to reverse enrollment rule

Los Angeles Daily News - Connie Llanos 

3/26/10 - Outraged by L.A. Unified's decision to deny nearly 10,000 students the chance to enroll in schools in neighboring districts, hundreds of parents have organized an online networking campaign to pressure the school board to reverse the move.

The school board quietly approved the new policy in early Februarycted to reduce the number of transfer permits – now at – by 80 percent.

Bringing the students back to district schools will return $51 million in average daily attendance funding from the state to LAUSD - money the district desperately needs as it faces a $640 million budget shortfall in the 2010-2011 school year.

But parents from across the district who have sent their kids to other districts in search of better programs and academic performance are furious. More than 1,800 have joined a Facebook page where they swap stories and exchange strategies to overturn the decision.

They plan to rally at the April 6 school board meeting to persuade board members to rethink the plan.

"My job as a parent is to make sure that my child gets the best public education I can find for her... I think that is my right," said Cathy Gordon, a Northridge resident and mother of three, whose daughter attends a high school in Simi Valley.

Gordon and other parents of the more than 12,200 students who transferred out of LAUSD last year to attend 99 different districts in Los Angeles County say the policy wasn't discussed thoroughly.


Now they have little time to plan for next year and they don't see why their children should have to leave friends and favorite teachers and exceptional programs to help the district with its finances.

In the San Fernando Valley alone, more than 3,800 students transferred to bordering districts, which now stand to lose state money as students transfer back to LAUSD.

LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines said he is sympathetic to the concerns of parents and other school districts. But he said financial challenges have forced him to "turn over every stone" at the district. Changing the district's lax transfer policy was an obvious way to raise revenue.

"The board of education has asked me to look at every kind of revenue generating possibility at the district so that I can save jobs for employees in this district and that is how this plan resulted," Cortines said.

Cortines said LAUSD has had one of the most open transfer policies he has ever seen. He added that while many families had legitimate reasons to request transfer permits, he questioned the motives of some.

"Some people just don't want to go to school with some of our children and I resent that," Cortines said, referring to the high proportion of transfers requested by students in upper-middle-class neighborhoods in suburban areas bordering higher performing districts.

"I also resent when someone says all of our schools are lousy... We had the state's three top Academic Decathlon teams in the state this year... I am not saying there are not schools that are not struggling, but don't paint us with a broad brush."

Gordon, the Northridge parent, said until last year all three of her children attended LAUSD schools. But for high school she and her daughter found Santa Susana High School's performing arts program to be a better match than any other LAUSD campus.

But now Gordon's 15 year old will not be allowed to return to the Simi Valley high school.

Under the new policy, for the most part only students whose parents work in another school district's attendance boundaries, or students who are already attending another district and are finishing their last year of elementary, middle or high school, will receive a permit.

For districts like Las Virgenes, Santa Monica-Malibu, and Glendale Unified – who combined receive some 2,800 LAUSD students – the new policy could mean serious loss of revenues and potentially layoffs and program cuts.

At Glendale Unified the new policy could result in a loss of about $2.5 million for next year and at Santa Monica-Malibu Unified - where 10 percent of the enrollment comes from LAUSD students – the new plan could mean even steeper cuts.

"It will definitely affect us, but we are more concerned about the impact this is going to have on our students and on the continuity of their education," said Tim Cuneo, superintendent of SMMUD.

"Many of these families have been with our district for years."

Cuneo said he is working with superintendents at Las Virgenes and Culver City school districts to petition LAUSD to reverse its decision and at least let students who are already attending these districts finish their studies there.

Cortines' statements over the last week have raised the ire of many parents, who resent the suggestion that they are fleeing urban schools for any reason other than to find the best programs for their children.

Josh Freeman, a Westchester resident and father of a 16-year-old sophomore enrolled at SMMU, said the district has a very economically and racially diverse student population.

Freeman said his son has attended that district since kindergarten, despite living within LAUSD's attendance boundaries, because of the high-quality schools.

"The issue is not about poor kids or the race of kids," Freeman said. "It is about LAUSD's sub-par test scores."

Carlos Zubieta, a Venice resident whose daughter is a second-grader at Edison Elementary in Santa Monica, said he pulled her out of LAUSD because of Edison's unique dual-immersion language program.

What bothers Zubieta most about this plan, he said, is its lack of transparency. He noted many parents did not hear about the policy change until a district memo began to be circulated via email.

"They did not take the time to study this transition well enough or prepare themselves and now they are coming up with bogus arguments about who we are as parents and why we are protesting against them," Zubieta said.

Under the new policy, the district will continue to review applications case by case, and the date to submit transfer permit applications has been extended a month to April 1.

Several board members, including Steve Zimmer and Tamar Galatzan have said they want to partially modify the plan, however it is unclear if Cortines is willing to make any changes.

The superintendent does not need board approval to make the changes to the transfer policy. Cortines said he hopes parents would warm up to the idea of coming back to LAUSD.

Still parents, like Gordon, who said she has spent the last 10 years volunteering at her children's schools that up until this year have been LAUSD, she said the issue is not about what district students attend.

"I am raising well-educated citizens who I hope will grow up and understand the importance of community, of public education and giving back to the community," Gordon said.

"The problem is not every school – or district – fits every child."

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