Call it Scenes from the Classroom Struggle in Beverly Hills. For months the 90210 has been riven by a debate triggered when the city's school system announced that in 2011 it would become a “basic aid” district that funded itself on local taxes instead of state assistance. This meant that the Beverly Hills Unified School District would no longer receive from Sacramento the $6,114 it has been getting for each student enrolled in its schools. In turn, this spelled the end of about 500 special “opportunity permits” given to families living just outside the city limits. (Other permits, not affected by the switch to the basic-aid system, are granted to legacy kids whose grandparents still live in Beverly Hills and pay property taxes there, as well as the children of city employees; some others are granted for racial diversity.)
In February the school board decreed an end to the issuance of all future permitted students but couldn't decide whether to kick out the Beverly Hills-adjacent students who were currently enrolled as soon as the next term ended, or to let them matriculate all the way through the end of high school. The issue grew very ugly very quickly, with parents on both sides passionately holding to their positions. Some resident parents said the “freeloaders” should move into Beverly Hills if they cared so much for its schools, while the parents of adjacents felt their kids were being kicked out of an educational lifeboat.
Tuesday night, however, BHUSD trustees voted to remain all-inclusive for the next few years. Today's L.A. Times reports
that because of two state funding initiatives on the upcoming May
ballot, whose passage would postpone Beverly Hills' going basic-aid until at least 2015 — after most of
its present permit-students have already graduated. An undeniable civic
wound has been self-inflicted, however, and a distinct bitterness
promises to linger over the matter.
“Our community is damaged,” the Times quotes
BHUSD trustee Myra Demeter, “because . . . all the hatred that was
latent beneath the surface in Beverly Hills just came to the top.”