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My Hat's Off to the School Board

Mike King talks about how external forces have moved the Culver City School Board to effect some significant changes to their permit policies.

Change is the only constant.

I'm not sure where this saying originated from, but as I sat down to write this post, it was the first thing that came to mind. The subject of school permits is a hot one right now—recently, the Culver City School Board voted to limit the number of permit students entering the district if the particular grade has reached a 500-student cap.

The driving force behind this is the proposed decision by the LAUSD Superintendent Mr. Ramon C. Cortines to not allow any interdistrict permits in the school year 2010-2011 (which didn't pass).

This was akin to throwing a Molotov cocktail into the middle of a Culver City School Board meeting.  Why? Well for the uninitiated, or those of you without children of school age, the way schools in the State of California get their operating revenue, is with something called ADA (Average Daily Attendance). 

The schools are literally paid by each student attending the school on a daily basis. This means, if a school district has a lot of their ADA revenue coming from LAUSD interdistrict permits (children who do not reside in Culver City), then CCUSD could stand to lose a huge amount of revenue, OVERNIGHT.

Imagine if the breadwinner in your family came home one night and said that their income had just been slashed by 20 percent to 30 percent.

It was only a couple of years ago--before the recession had reared its very ugly head--when there was a campaign from a lot of the parents in Culver City to aggressively reduce the number of permits because class sizes were too big and the parents suggested we needed to cut down the number of permits, which had steadily increased over the preceding years. 

It's now possible that many of the parents, who campaigned to reduce the permits, are now advocating that we fight the LAUSD superintendent and stop the dramatic revenue drain from taking place. The reason?

Control.  

By announcing the decision to not issue any permits at all in 2010-2011, the LAUSD superintendent took the control away from the parents of those schools receiving the revenue and placed it firmly back into the hands of the LAUSD.

 Mr. Cortines has since rescinded the decision to recall all the inter-district permits, at least for the school year beginning in September 2010. So the immediate pressure is off.

However, the writing is on the wall for the future--and maybe LAUSD will decide on a gradual reduction verses the "guillotine" approach. But this is still unclear.

Meanwhile, I applaud the CCUSD Board for taking a positive first step to retrieve control of, and steadily reduce, the reliance on ADA revenue coming from permit children. This will ultimately leave the district far less vulnerable to the whims of external forces beyond their control.  And maybe, just maybe, even improve the quality of the education our children receive.

Now that is change we can all agree on. 

Mike King is an Associate Partner at Partners Trust Real Estate and Acquisitions and a father of two kids in Culver schools. He is passionate about three things: Family, Real Estate, and McVities Chocolate Biscuits (or cookies to the uninitiated). You can connect with Mike on Twitter @mikeking4re and on Facebook.

Ryan Mason July 29, 2010 at 05:47 PM
Fantastic story, Mike. Thanks for your in-depth analysis on the goings-on in the Culver City school system.
philippe rodrigue July 30, 2010 at 06:02 AM
Very Interesting! Thanks for the info, I appreciate you keeping me up to date with Culver City.
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