Most Southland school districts are scrambling to find ways to close this year’s enormous and unprecedented budget gaps. Los Angeles Unified School District, the state’s largest school district, recently announced a highly contentious way of recouping some of those funds: LAUSD plans to eliminate some 12,000 interdistrict permits for the coming academic year, 2010-2011.
What this means in practical terms for the parents of those 12,000+ students is that, while schools in other districts may still welcome them with open arms, LAUSD will not issue the required exit permits releasing them from the “home” schools. A student who lives in Mar Vista but attends school in Santa Monica is expected to withdraw from the Santa Monica school and attend the neighborhood schools as of September 2010. According to some sources, 400 students will be impacted that are currently attending the city of Santa Monica.
For years, these interdistrict permits have been a mere formality; any student receiving a place in another school district – whether it be for reasons of curriculum, convenience, sibling connections, or continuity – has been granted an exit permit from LAUSD. This year, the families of students who “permit out” of their neighborhood schools in favor of another district have an unpleasant surprise awaiting them when they apply for renewal.
Superintendent Ramon Cortines has announced that exceptions will be made only for pupils entering the last year of a school (i.e. fifth, eighth, or twelfth grade) or for parents who work in the city of the desired school district (as mandated by law).
The new application for interdistrict permits will be available starting April 15. Information about the new process and requirements is available by contacting Melissa Schoonmaker at LAUSD’s Office of Permits and Student Transfers.
Although this policy has been implemented by the superintendent, many parents are hoping that the LAUSD Board of Education will get involved and mitigate some of the fallout for families and students.