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Number of students in Burbank Unified from outside the district trends higher

Number of students in Burbank Unified from outside the district trends higher
Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill, pictured at a Walt Disney Elementary School meeting, says the district is not overcrowded due to interdistrict permits and believes city workers should be allowed to send their children to Burbank schools. (Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

Interdistrict permits for students living outside Burbank Unified but attending local public schools ticked up for a third straight year, according to a school district report released last week.

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The 15,171-student district accepted an additional 23 nonresident students through its permit program offered to those working in Burbank this school year.

The district’s tally now stands at 1,328 interdistrict students, which represents about 9% of the pupil population.

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“We only accept enough permits to keep enrollment flat,” Burbank Unified Supt. Matt Hill said. “We aren’t overcrowding our schools with permits. If we had more resident students here, we would reduce the number of permits.”

The majority of the permits are at the secondary level, with 526 at high schools, 367 at middle schools and 435 at the elementary schools.

The number of permitted elementary students dropped by 21, while the number of middle school students rose by 23 and high school students increased by 21.

“There was a slight decrease in our elementary permit acceptance; partly, that was because our schools are pretty full,” said Stacy Cashman, the district’s director of student services, during a board meeting on Dec. 20.

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In 2017, the district enrolled 1,305 permitted students, which was more than the 1,191 total from 2016.

The increase in permits has helped keep the district’s enrollment and funding steady, school officials said.

According to a Dec. 14 budget review from School Services of California — a business, financial and management advocacy educational resource group — Burbank Unified receives some of the lowest funding per student, per average daily attendance in Los Angeles County.

The local district was compensated $8,737.38 per student during the 2016-17 school year, which was lower than nearby districts La Cañada ($10,320.12), Pasadena ($10,199.71), Glendale ($9,224.80) and South Pasadena ($8,988).

Using School Services figures, the 1,328 interdistrict students in Burbank Unified roughly translated into a little more than $11.5 million this year for the district from the state.

Although the district lost 10 Burbank resident students, its numbers increased by 13 overall to 15,171 because of permitted students.

While Burbank attracted several outside students, it lost relatively few. Only 46 students went to other districts, with 33 heading to Glendale Unified.

In all, Burbank Unified lost 68 fewer students to transfers this school year than it did in 2017-18.

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Those interested in obtaining a permit must work or own a business in Burbank, obtain child care for students from kindergarten to fifth grade within district boundaries or fall into the “opportunity” category.

Opportunity petitions are granted to students with special curriculum needs, students who have moved away from the district but wish to continue their education in Burbank Unified, sibling attendance and prior attendance.

“These are the sons and daughters of our firefighters, our teachers, our business owners,” Hill said of permitted students. “These are individuals whose parents work in Burbank; they just can’t find housing here. They’re great kids and great parents, and they help us have a great district.”

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