Board Meeting Prompts Possible Try at School District Secession
• Council Members to Do Another Assessment of Pros and Cons of a Separate Malibu Organization
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education met in Malibu last week when Malibu city officials and parents attempted to make a strong case for Malibu representation on the school board. The board meeting was held in city council chambers at City Hall.
"We filled this room with Malibu parents," said Councilmember Lou La Monte, who complained the board applied the two minute rule, cutting down the total number of minutes advocates were able to speak to board members. It was not an item on the agenda.
"The board refused to invest 12 more minutes for Malibu," added La Monte. "Finally they seemed to get our message, but offered no time for putting it on the agenda," added La Monte.
According to state rules, the same Brown Act, a state law the city is bound by, prohibits the board from discussing any matter not on the agenda or has not been publicly noticed in a timely manner.
La Monte on Monday night, at the city council meeting, said the Malibu faction had asked that a non-voting Malibu resident be placed on the school board to act in an advisory capacity.
The council member said maybe it was time to once again consider separating the district. "Maybe separation from that school district is the only way. We should investigate the possibility to stay or find another way," he added. "Do we need an ad hoc committee?"
Councilmember Pamela Con ley Ulich wanted the city attorney to speak about the role of the city council in the matter.
City Attorney Christi Hogin said the city and the school district do have a relationship through the joint use agreement. "We have spent a lot of money on that. The city is not in the business of public school education. There is no reason why a city subcommittee could not get information," she added.
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal said there are already several studies that could be gathered. "Lou is asking for us to talk to people and get info," she explained.
"It is important to look into it," said Mayor John Sibert.
"We are trying to get info, pro and con," added La Monte.
"You haven't heard any negatives from the council," said Councilmember Jefferson Wagner.
For years, Malibu had a representative on the school board when either Mary Kay Kamath was elected to the panel or after when Kathi Wisnicki served on the board.
Since then Malibu has not had any candidate successfully get elected to the school district board.
La Monte, as part of his campaign promises, said he would seek better representation of Malibu at the school district.