Schools Plan Spells Trouble in Beverly Hills

Heightened security, name calling... just another school board meeting

A contentious proposal goes before the Beverly Hills School Board next month.

Just how contentious?

Police will be on hand when the board votes. If heightened security doesn't do enough to illustrate the furor surrounding the plan, consider the name calling.

"I’ve been called 'Hitler,'" board member Brian Goldberg told the New York Times. "I just want the noise to lessen."

The noise is being generated by a plan that would eliminate hundreds of slots at Beverly Hills schools reserved for non-residents.

As things stand, the board allows some residents of nearby communities to attend Beverly Hills schools on a permit basis. That could change for some of those non-resident students if the proposal is approved.

"I am incredibly compassionate and sympathetic for what is going on here," Jake Manaster, a board member, told the New York Times. "It was very generous of Beverly Hills to take 20 percent of students from the outside."

That was back when school funding tied to enrollment worked in the district's favor. More students meant more state aid. 

The state's budget crisis changed things. According to the Times article:


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Essentially, because the city is collecting more in property taxes designated for education than it would receive from the state for its schools, the city is required to use its tax dollars directly to finance its schools.

Suddenly, with no state financing in the mix, there is no incentive to fill empty classrooms with children from other cities. From the point of view of most of the five school board members, the out-of-town students would essentially be on scholarship, and draining money — roughly $2 million a year, according to the superintendent for the district — that could go to other programs. The district’s annual budget is about $62.5 million.

In the article, the board's vice president compared it to dispatching BH police officers to a crime in another city.

"Membership has its privileges," she told the Times. "But anyone can be a member. I made a choice to spend more to live in a home here when I could have spent less on a bigger home in another area. But I made a choice and sacrificed."

Another board member, Myra Lurie, said the plan smacks of a "mean-spirited or elitist" attitude.

The plan was outlined at a Friday meeting. It allows 10th and 11th graders to remain through graduation. Seventh granders can apply to attend eight grade, but they would have to find a new district after that.

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