ETHNIC: Minority Enrollment on Rise : Minority Enrollment Rises in Santa Monica-Malibu Schools

Times Staff Writer

The minority population in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is increasing despite the fact that the high cost of housing is continuing to drive down the overall enrollment, particularly among Anglos, according to school officials.

The results of a student ethnic survey show that overall enrollment has dropped by 435 students, from 10,009 in September, 1984, to 9,574 in September, 1985.

The report disclosed that the number of minority students had risen by 26, from 3,885 to 3,911. The number of Anglo students, however, dropped by 461, from 6,124 to 5,663 over the same period.

Leo Martucci, the director of pupil services, said that the district has experienced a steady decline in student population since 1976, when enrollment was 14,000. Last year the district closed Madison Elementary School and earlier it closed Washington and Point Dume elementary schools.

Martucci said the decline in Anglo enrollment was the result of Anglos graduating or leaving the district at a greater rate than they are coming in, particularly in the elementary schools. He said that some parents are sending their children to private or parochial schools.

He said that several factors have contributed to the rise in minority enrollment, including an influx of Asian and Latino families into the district. He also said that many young minority parents had not delayed having children while establishing their careers, as had many young Anglo families. And, he said, the Santa Monica community has always had a stable black population which has remained at about 8% of the district's enrollment since officials began the ethnic surveys in 1972.

"We are becoming a small district and more and more we are becoming a minority district," Martucci said. "We used to be a middle-sized district when we had about 14,000 students, but now we have dropped and we have become a small district in a large urban area."

School officials attributed the loss in student population to the high cost of housing in Santa Monica and Malibu. Martucci said, however, that some minority families had decided to share housing to meet the high costs.

Martucci compared enrollment to the population in Santa Monica and Malibu. He said that the district's enrollment of fewer than 10,000 students was less than 10% of the combined populations of Santa Monica (90,000) and Malibu (17,500).

"Twenty-five percent of the population in Santa Monica is over the age of 55 and that group doesn't produce babies," he said.

The ethnic population survey is mandated by the state to measure the percentage of minorities in the district. According to this year's survey, the district's population is 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% American Indian, 0.5% Filipino, 8.1% Asian, 8.1% black, 23.6% Latino and 59.2% Anglo.

Martucci said the district has experienced a significant increase in the number of Asian and Latino students since 1976. The percentage of Asian students has nearly doubled, from 4.1% to 8.1%. The percentage of Latino students has increased from 16.6% to 23.6% over the same period. The percentage of blacks has remained relatively constant at about 8%.

Martucci said that Webster Elementary and Malibu Park School, both in Malibu, have the fewest minority students. Webster has 274 students, of which 45 are minorities. Malibu Park School has 735 students, of which 92 are minority members.

Martucci said that the student population in Santa Monica is about 50% Anglo and 50% minority.

Edison Elementary School in Santa Monica has most minority students. Eighty-five percent of its 445 students are minority, mostly Latino. At Santa Monica's McKinley, Muir and Rogers elementary schools minority enrollment is about 65% each.

Last year in the district's 14 schools, 1,264 students spoke limited English. The number of students enrolled speaking limited English increased this year to 1,384.

Santa Monica-Malibu District Ethnic Enrollment

Percentage of minorities (Asians, Latino, black, Pacific Islander, Filipino and American Indian) at each school:

Edison Elementary 85.4% Franklin Elementary 24.8% Grant Elementary 52.7% McKinley Elementary 65.1% John Muir Elementary 65.7% Will Rogers Elementar 65.3% Roosevelt Elementary 32.9% Webster Elementary 16.4% John Adams Junior Hig 52.6% Lincoln Junior High 42.3% Malibu Park (K-9) 12.5% Santa Monica High 32.4% Olympic High 44.9% Alternative (K-12) 28.9%

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