You are here

Scott Steepleton, Editor
2:22 pm PDT July 8, 2021

With preliminary efforts to form an independent school district in Malibu taking longer than expected, the city is seeking to spend an extra $32,000 on consultants working on the separation from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District rather than bring in new help.

In February, the Malibu City Council authorized an amendment to the contract with Kirk-Carter and Associates for a total not to exceed $60,000. And in May, the council authorized an amendment to an agreement with Ryland SBC for a total contract amount not to exceed $138,710.

It was expected that a preliminary hearing on the matter before a county schools committee would result in a vote on the city’s separation petition. Instead, the preliminary hearing was continued to Sept. 18.

“The existing scope assumed that the county committee would conclude the preliminary hearing in June and did not foresee or anticipate the continuation of the preliminary hearing until September and the additional analysis, coordination and public outreach needed to support the city’s petition through the extended preliminary hearing process,” according to a staff report on the request for extra money in the July 12 City Council agenda.

City officials say bringing in new consultants at this time would cause “unnecessary expense and delay” to the city’s school separation efforts. “The process would not necessarily result in a lower price for these services if the city were to hire new consultants to perform this work.”

Bringing any new consultants up to speed would take considerable time and funds.

“This would result in a net cost increase to the city for the same services,” according to the report.

A decision on whether to move forward with the Malibu proposal, which the district rejects, could come in September — only then would officials need to evaluate what to do next “and determine what additional consultant support is needed.”

The Malibu City Council established school district separation as one of the city’s top three priorities — after public safety and Woolsey Fire rebuilds.