BEVERLY HILLS —Parents and students are outraged as the Beverly Hills School Board plans to cut out 10 percent of its “opportunity permit” students. Those students classified as “opportunity permit” students are individuals who are not residents of the city.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District defines the purpose of an opportunity permit as that which “allow[s] out of district students to attend [a BHUSD school] if space is available.” When space is available, the outside students are typically informed that they may join a BHUSD class by the third day of instruction.
Both Permit Renewal Application and the New Opportunity Permit applications are closed for the 2009-2010. The 2009-2010 Diversity Permit Application for the district is also currently closed.
The new change is expected to be confirmed in a board meeting in February, and will be enforced in the next school year.
Many families, who have children in a Beverly Hills school but don’t live in the area, have expressed their anger and frustration. Some have expressed their disappointment on social networking sites such as Facebook. At least one student was reported to have made a threat against those who support the upcoming exclusion of non-Beverly Hills residents. According to police, that student was questioned by his school’s administrators.
The cuts are being blamed on poor finances, education cuts and a lack of extra funding to support the students. Though the board may understand the frustration of students being released from their schools, it’s still something they’re planning to follow through.
While an estimated 484 children will have to either attend school in their home district or another district which would accept outside students, at least some compromises are being made. Some of these arrangements include seventh-grade students with permits being able to finish middle school, and students with alumni parents and grandparents who reside in Beverly Hills being allowed to remain as legacy students.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District lists eight primary goals for the 2009-2010 school year, one of which includes the goal to “retain and attract Beverly Hills residents to [the] Beverly Hills Unified School District.” The district hopes to enact this goal by June of 2010 in a number of ways, including by increasing “the percentage of students enrolled who are residents” by about two percent.