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News, School Board, Santa Monica

SMMUSD Inter-District Permit Freeze May Be Lifted

Posted Mar. 11, 2012, 12:45 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

The moratorium on inter-district permits to attend any public school in Santa Monica or Malibu may be lifted with enough supporters from the board members of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). Inter-district permits would be allowed for any student from Kindergarten through the eleventh grade. Board members were set to vote on the issue at its meeting on Thursday night at district headquarters, but the vote has been postponed until March 15.

If approved, about 100 more students will be able to vie for them. The board will also on March 15 whether to increase “consider increasing the capacity number of new inter-district permits accepted and approved from 200 to 300” under certain considerations.

Under the new policy, if approved, certain grades and schools would be impacted by the new policy. For example, the number of inter-district applicants for Kindergarten students would be capped at 50, while those seeking inter-district permits for grades one through five would be issued “on a space available basis.”

No more than 10 inter-district applications would be approved for non-resident sixth graders seeking to attend John Adams Middle School (JAMS). For seventh and eighth graders at both JAMS and Lincoln Middle School would be capped at 10 per grade, per school.

Up to 20 applicants could be accepted for grades nine, 10, and 11 at Samohi, while those seeking to attend Olympic High will be accepted “on a case by case basis for students currently enrolled in SMMUSD.”

The district will also accept non-resident permit applications for Malibu-area schools, but there were no specific parameters as to how many would be considered or approved in the recommended action. International students seeking an application for Samohi would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The other policy considerations the board will vote in includes a provision that those students already possessing inter-district permits would not have to renew them annually.

“Staff is recommending that instead of submitting a permit renewal, continuing students annually submit a verification of continuing enrollment,” a report to board members said. “Last year, the board revised this policy to comply with the new California law, AB (Assembly Bill) 2444, which states that students who have obtained an inter-district permit no longer need to reapply annually for a release from their resident school district.”

Under the moratorium of issuing inter-district permits, students could only attend a public school within SMMUSD if they established residence within its reach. For example, a seventh grader whose residence was within a zone that required him or her to attend Lincoln Middle School could not attend JAMS. Just the same, a high school student living in Westwood would not be able to attend Samohi.

However, if approved, the new policy of permitting inter-district permits would allow for as many as 300 students to come into or move around within the school district. Just the same, a student living in Santa Monica would be allowed to seek an education outside of the city.

A portion of the recommended policy reads: “the Santa Monica-Malibu School District Board of Education recognizes justifiable reasons for interdistrict permits. Upon request, the Superintendent or designee may accept students from other districts and may allow students who live within the District to transfer to another school within the District or out of the District.”

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