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The cost of pushing school district separation for Malibu has gone up slightly, and the City Council is being asked to OK the increase.
Separating from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is among the top three priorities of the City Council, along with public safety and Woolsey Fire rebuilds.
In April, the county committee that hears separation requests held a preliminary public hearing on the city’s petition to go it alone.
Because of delays, a decision isn’t expected until at least June.
On Monday, the five-member City Council will be asked to add $20,000 to the contract with Ryland School Business Consulting for its work on the city’s behalf. Amending the contract won’t add to the city’s costs as the funds would be transferred from Malibu’s City Council Travel and Training accounts, which have been little used because of restrictions put in place over the pandemic.
The initial Ryland contract was capped at $118,710. But that deal and the scope of work it covered “did not foresee or anticipate the recently renewed negotiation activities with SM-MUSD, the continuation of the preliminary hearing and additional outreach and public presentations needed to support the city’s petition through the extended preliminary hearing process,” according to Elizabeth Shavelson, assistant to the city manager.
Bringing in a new consultant at this time, according to Shavelson, won’t necessarily reduce costs.
“It is anticipated that the county committee will make a decision in June on whether or not the city’s petition may move forward through the process,” Shavelson writes in a staff report. “At that time, the city will need to evaluate how best to move forward and determine what additional consultant support is needed.”