You are here

Scott Steepleton, Editor
9:46 am PDT June 1, 2021

The Los Angeles County Office of Education committee hearing Malibu’s request to form its own school district will meet on the matter on Wednesday.

Frustrated by what they see as a lack of equity out of the Santa Monica-based Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, officials in Malibu launched an effort to form the Malibu Unified School District. This is a long process that includes a plan from the new entity to stand on its own — and have the resources to do so — while ensuring the old district is “made whole,” that is paid for what it has done over the years and for what it will lose in coming years.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization, which starts at 9:30 a.m., is the first on the matter since a petition to separate was presented to the committee in a rare Saturday preliminary hearing April 17.

SMMUSD officials have blasted the proposal, from the signature campaign to what they say is a financial pact that hurts Santa Monica.

Ben Drati, superintendent of SMMUSD, said in a lengthy letter that “equity and fairness appear to have disappeared from (Malibu’s) formula” creating “very unequal” districts.

However, the screed — one of many on the theme — appears to be based on faulty reasoning.

Cathy Dominico of Capital Finance Group, one of Malibu’s consultants, recently told the Malibu City Council that, following a meeting with the district’s finance people, “We did agree that the way that the school district was actually interpreting our proposal was not what the city had intended.”

She noted one layer of Malibu’s proposal “is that we would make Santa Monica USD whole in the event one of their other local funding sources drops below current funding levels.”

The meeting will be held via Zoom. The meeting ID is 861 9810 0117; passcode 028856.

The meeting agenda is available on the LACOE website.