Proposed Malibu Unified School District

Current STATUS

On October 12, 2020, City Council received an update from the City Council's School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee on the status of the City's negotiations with SMMUSD, and the City's consultant team gave a presentation analyzing the financial terms SMMUSD had requested for separation. 

In response, the Council voted unanimously to reinstate the City's petition for unification of an independent MUSD to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Committee of School District Organization. 

City Survey

The City is asking local Malibu residents to submit testimonials sharing their experiences with SMMUSD and the reasons why they support the formation of an independent MUSD.

BACKGROUND

Youth and children in Malibu and the surrounding unincorporated area have attended schools within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) since prior to the City's incorporation. Local school families and community groups have long expressed the desire to separate from SMMUSD to form a separate Malibu Unified School District (MUSD). 

Among the reasons for separation expressed by Malibu families is the physical distance between Malibu and Santa Monica, the distinct character of these communities, inadequate representation of Malibu on the SMMUSD Board of Education, and the need for local control over the education of Malibu's children. Since 2011, community groups have worked to advance Malibu's separation from SMMUSD. 

In response to community efforts to advance separation, the City Council adopted Resolution 15-60 authorizing the transmission of a petition for unification of the MUSD to the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools.

A brief history of these efforts is provided below:

2011 to 2015 - Advocates for malibu public schools (AMPS)

In 2011, Malibu families formed the Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS) devoted to the mission of creating an independent Malibu Unified School District dedicated to excellence in education for the Malibu community. AMPS commissioned studies to examine the feasibility of school district reorganization and collected thousands of signatures in support of separation.

2015 to 2017 - Malibu unification negotiations committee

In 2015, the Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee (MUNC) was formed with three members appointed to represent the interests of the Malibu school community and three members appointed to represent the interests of the Santa Monica school community. MUNC met for two years to develop financial terms for the separation of SMMUSD and the formation of two distinct districts. MUNC's recommendations were presented to the City Council and SMMUSD Board. 

2018 to 2020 - Negotiation Committee

In September 2017, the Malibu City Council formed the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee. In April 2018, Council asked the Los Angeles County Committee on School Separation to accept and temporarily suspend the City's petition pending negotiations with SMMUSD regarding separation. Council directed the City Manager and City Attorney to pursue negotiations with SMMUSD representatives to reach a mutual separation agreement and financial plan for both proposed districts under the guidance of the City Council's School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee.  

On October 12, 2020, the Ad Hoc Committee members reported that the negotiations had stalled and, in response, the Council voted unanimously to reinstate the City's petition for unification with the LACOE Committee on School District Organization. 

Actions & Milestones

  1. 2018-2020 Negotiations
  2. 2015-2017 MUNC
  3. 2011-2015 AMPS
  1. Directed staff to send a letter to LACOE requesting formal acceptance of the City’s petition for the unification of a MUSD and, once accepted, temporarily suspend further actions pending the outcome of negotiation efforts with SMMUSD; 
  2. Designated the City Manager and City Attorney to pursue negotiations with SMMUSD under the guidance of the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee; and 
  3. Accepted, in principle, the framework for school district separation recommended by the SMMUSD Board of Education at its March 20, 2018 meeting
  • 5/26/2019 - City Council adopted its Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Work Plan establishing school district separation as the City’s third priority after public safety and Woolsey Fire rebuilds
  • 9/23/2019 - City Council directed the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee, City Manager, and City Attorney to:
  1. Develop a plan to pursue SMMUSD separation with LACOE
  2. Consider any other options to facilitate separation; and 
  3. Continue considering negotiations with SMMUSD

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Acronyms

The following are commonly used acronyms in discussion of school district separation and formation of a new district:

  • AMPS - Advocates for Malibu Public Schools
  • LACOE - Los Angeles County Office of Education
  • MUNC - Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee
  • MUSD - proposed Malibu Unified School District
  • SMMUSD - Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
  • SMUSD - proposed Santa Monica Unified School District
  • SSC - School Services of California

Documents & Resources

  • SMMUSD webpage on Malibu Unification
  • School Services of California report  (2/22/2018)
  • School Services of California presentation on Review of Revenue Options for District Reorganization (3/20/2018 Board meeting)
  • MUNC Community Meetings [news release]
  • Negotiations Committee [team membership, committee purpose, Board objectives, timeline and backup documents]
  • Committee Meetings [agenda and minutes]
  • Analysis of MUNC Reports (October 2017) [by School Services of California - SSC]
  • MUNC Supplemental Meeting Report (7/11/2017)
  • MUNC Memorandum Report (February 2017) [negotiated terms of agreement]
  • Petition for Unification [from City of Malibu to LACOE dated 8/31/2017]
  • Board of Education Resolution In Opposition to the Unification Petition Submitted to LACOE by the Malibu City Council (December 14, 2017)