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Beverly Hills school district renews move to end permits for nonresident students

Photo: Students on campus at Beverly Hills High. Beverly Hills Unified has a long history of allowing nearby students who live outside the city limits to attend their schools. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles TimesThe Beverly Hills school district has renewed a controversial measure that has slowly ended a permit program that allowed students who live outside the district to attend its prized public schools.

Board members voted unanimously Tuesday evening not to issue new inter-district permits for the upcoming school year, a move that shut out students who could apply for special permission to attend the Beverly Hills Unified School District. The permits were used for legacies -- those  whose parents attended Beverly Hills schools and/or grandparents who live in the city, and to promote diversity.  An exception will be made for children of city and district employees.

Additionally, members decided in a 4-1 vote to continue the practice of revoking the permits of nonresident students graduating from the fifth and eighth grades.  Board member Lewis Hall cast the dissenting vote.

"In our tough economic time, the school district can't afford to have any additional students in our district that we are not required to educate," said Brian David Goldberg, board president.

He added that the Los Angeles Unified School District is losing more than $50 million a year as a result of these permits, which allow students to leave its schools.

The Beverly Hills school district has slowly discontinued enrolling students who don't live in the city after a shift in funding.

The district decided during the 2010-2011 school year to decline state aid, which granted $6,200 to the district for each student enrolled.  Instead, the schools moved to become a "basic aid" system, and use property tax revenue to pay for education.

Board members voted to end the opportunity permit program in January 2010, citing the new financial burden of educating nonresident students. After a contentious fight, a provision was made to allow inter-district permits for children of city and district employees, ethnic and racial minorities, and so-called legacy permits.

Nearly 500 students who attend Beverly Hills schools on opportunity permits were forced to leave the school district.

The district currently enrolls about 4,600 students. Of those, 430 are attending Beverly Hills schools with inter-district permits.


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Photo: Students on campus at Beverly Hills High. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

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