Malibu’s efforts to part ways with SMMUSD remain alive

The city of Malibu was given more time after the September 18 hearing

From Dolores Quintana

The Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization voted on Saturday to give the city of Malibu more time to meet the conditions the committee needs to decide on the desired separation from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) to decide.

Malibu will be given an additional six months after the committee’s eight to two votes on Saturday, September 18. These efforts were resolutely rejected by the City of Santa Monica and (SMMUSD) during the controversial three and a half hour meeting. According to the study commissioned by the committee, Malibu’s proposal failed to meet eight of nine necessary requirements that must be approved after careful consideration.

Santa Monica had negotiated with Malibu in advance of the hearing to enable a transition to Malibu to create its own school district. The negotiations dragged on for years and Santa Monica is convinced that a fair distribution of resources cannot be achieved with Malibu’s current resource requirements. The President of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Jon Kean, issued the statement.

“As a county, we are not optimistic that major developments will occur during this additional review period, as we have been in talks with the city for years and the Malibu City’s position in seeking an unjust distribution of financial resources has remained consistent,” said Kean called. “Our district will continue to fight for students in both communities, and urge Malibu education leaders to interfere in the city’s process to help them understand why their proposal is flawed.”

The SMMUSD believes that separation under current conditions would cause irreparable damage to students in both districts and that this ongoing attempt to separate the school districts currently makes it more difficult for the school district to respond to the needs of schools and students while the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city of Malibu must meet the conditions necessary for the process to get the committee’s approval next March if they hold another vote on the petition. Malibu must prove that the split would not cause any significant damage to the district, nor would it contribute to ethnic segregation or discrimination. In the run-up to the meeting, advocates from the region worked to show the community that this proposed separation could create a deep ethnic divide between these two communities, as Malibu’s new school district would consist almost entirely of white students.

Even if the new district motion were approved by the committee, the process would still require an environmental review, which could take two years, and then it would have to be approved by the State Board of Education, which could take several years after that. Finally, the petition has to be voted on in public.

The committee must hold another public hearing or hearings over the next 60 days. Further details on the procedure and further public participation in the debate will follow this decision.

Comments are closed.