In a hotly debated move, the Beverly Hills School Board voted this week to terminate special permits that allow students from outside Beverly Hills attend the first-class public schools. The reason for the move is because fiscal sources for Beverly Hills Schools will be switching from state funding to funding from property tax revenue. The median house price in Beverly Hills in 2008 was $2,590,563 (www.city-data.com).
The decision will impact hundreds of students who will not be allowed to attend BH High next fall. Students who are currently in the high school or middle school will be allowed to continue until graduation, but students in the elementary school will not be allowed to matriculate on to the other schools. No new permit applications will be accepted.
Cries of elitism and exclusivity have poured out from the surrounding communities, while Beverly Hills residents have remained mostly supportive of the move stating that they are simply, “trying to take care of their own.” Clearly however, the people who will feel the impacts the most are the students. Even those who are permitted to stay say they feel as though they are not welcome anymore.
Recent budget cuts in education funding have prompted other districts in California to bow out from state funding. These districts are mostly ones in wealthy neighborhoods where the revenue from property taxes will potentially exceed the amount they are receiving in per pupil funding from the State. Irvine School District made the move last year.
Beverly Hills is not a part of the City of Los Angeles, but is rather a general law city with its own City Council and Mayor. The city is most famous for the famed Rodeo Drive and mansion-style homes. The median income in Beverly Hills is just over $86,000. According to the Beverly Hills Website, the population in the city is 85% Caucasian, 7% Asian, 4.6% Hispanic, and the remaining percentage African-American or other races.
Some families who live outside of the jurisdiction are planning on moving into Beverly Hills and others plan to fight the ruling. Beverly Hills School Board members defend the move by saying they are only trying to do what is fair for their residents. From both sides of the fence however, the situation clearly highlights the devastating impacts the fiscal crisis in California is having on public education in the State.
Beverly Hills Demographics: