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Are Beverly Hills schools pushing out-of-towners out?

January 11, 2010 | 12:24 pm

Bevhills Is Beverly Hills trying to push students who don't live in the city out of its schools?

That's the charge from critics, but school officials say the claim is overblown.

"We're not building a wall around Beverly Hills. We're not telling anyone they can't move here," said school board member David Goldberg. "Some have tried to paint us in the most negative light possible, but we're not going to allow out-of-district parents to set policy for our board."

The Beverly Hills school board is expected to decide Tuesday whether to end a permit program that has allowed nearly 500 students who don't live in the city to attend its top-flight public schools. But because this is 90210, the proposal is not without drama -- including accusations of elitism, snobbery and exclusion.

Since the issue heated up this school year, tempers have reached a boiling point, with both sides trading insults and name-calling. Essays and even a video have turned up on websites such as the Huffington Post. And extra security is being called in to ensure that Tuesday's meeting remains civil.

Over the years, the district has enrolled hundreds of students who don't live in the city but who are taking advantage of its academically rich programs and extracurricular activities. The district benefited by receiving about $6,200 per pupil from the state and by filling empty seats in schools with declining enrollments.

But the battered state economy has changed that equation. The city this year is set to collect more in property taxes for education than it would receive in state education funds. So the Beverly Hills Unified School District is petitioning to become the first "basic aid" school district in Los Angeles County, meaning it will use its flush property tax base to finance schools rather than rely on student attendance funds.

Read the full story by Carla Rivera here.

Photo: From left, Joe Sigal, 14, Jackson Proffitt, 11, Jonathan Kupper, 11, Taylor Short, 13, Sarah Short, 10, and Lea and Lucas Dahlke, 8, may be forced out of their Beverly Hills schools next fall. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times