After months of rancorous debate about what to do with non-Beverly Hills residents who attend the city's schools under special permits, trustees voted unanimously late Tuesday to allow them to continue.
"We're right back where we started, but our community is damaged because . . . all the hatred that was latent beneath the surface in Beverly Hills just came to the top," said Myra Demeter, a Beverly Hills Unified School District trustee. "We need to unify and get on with talking about education, learning and achievement."
The district receives $6,114 in state funding annually for each student it enrolls. For years, it has pumped up its coffers by issuing "opportunity permits" to non-residents. Although families applied for permits each year, in practice the permits were renewed if children kept their grades up and stayed out of trouble and there was space for them.
Those permits were called into question recently because Beverly Hills Unified is on its way to becoming one of the state's few "basic aid" districts, which means it will rely largely on local property taxes rather than state aid based on student attendance. And when it does, the district will no longer have a financial incentive to enroll non-residents.