In a surprising retreat from his previous position, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Ramon Cortines decided yesterday, April 6, that LAUSD students attending other districts would be able to do so through the next school year (2010-2011). With almost 1400 permit students in the Culver City School District, the restriction of permits as proposed by Cortines in February would have left a cruel gap in the continuity of the education of many children.
Culver City School District Superintendent Myrna Rivera Cote was insightful as to why the descision was reversed. “Two of the LAUSD board members (Zimmer and Galatzan) were offering a proposal that would have allowed the permitted high school students to stay until graduation, so Cortines was already facing dissent from his board.” Cote added “The timing of the decision did not allow the permit parents of Los Angeles County to find other programs for their kids, and they would have simply been forced back to the schools they opted out of in the first place. These are very active, interested parents, and they were very vocal in their opposition to the plan.”
CCUSD Board Vice President Scott Zeidman expressed his thoughts on the matter – “LAUSD’s reversal (on the permits) does not mean that we are out of the proverbial woods. It does give us a one-year reprieve from the Draconian measures LAUSD has threatened.”
The loss of the permit students would have left the district so overstaffed and underfunded, it would have required that CCUSD close schools and shut down programs, laying off many teachers and classified employees.
CCUSD board member Kathy Paspalis stated “We have to look at this issue in greater detail, so that when it comes around again, we don’t get the short end of the stick. We need to look at our strategy and make some serious policy changes.”
Zeidman’s comments also focused on the underlying strategy of the district. ” The LAUSD reversal may only be a temporary reprieve, there is an indication that LAUSD will adopt a policy next December. What that policy will be is, at present, a mystery. As a district, CCUSD must free itself from the unreasonable reliance upon permitted students. We must do this gradually and intelligently.”
Zeidman believes that limiting new permits, while allowing the current permit students to finish in their respective schools, is the key to adjusting the balance.
“Within the next month, I will be proposing that CCUSD adopt a stringent and fair permit policy,” Zeidman continued, “We will do everything within our power to keep all of our present, permitted students. However, other than a few “fill in” permitted students in the elementary school level, we should refrain from accepting new permitted students at the middle or high school. By adopting this policy, we will gradually be able to wean ourselves off of the reliance on the funds from permitted students, and at the same time, we will start to regain our district’s financial independence. Moreover, this will result in a smaller middle and high school.”
Karlo Silbiger, who attended the LAUSD meeting and spoke on behalf of Culver City, noted that “This (the policy reversal ) gives us time to figure out how to deal with the issue.”
Cote also offered her gratitude that the crisis had been postponed, if not completely averted. “I’m very pleased that our children will be able to stay with us, and of course we will continue to try to work with LAUSD. Now we have the time to make appropriate and deliberate plans.”
For an audio of El Marino Principal Tracy Pumilia’s comments, please click on the link below.
There are no further meetings scheduled in the district in regard to the permit process.