Proposed Malibu Unified School District
Latest STATUS Update
COUNTY COMMITTEE CONTINUES Preliminary Hearing on MALIBU'S Preliminary PETITION UNTIL JUNE
The City has moved one step closer in its bid to separate its public schools from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD). The City made its case in front of the County Committee on School District Organization at a virtual preliminary hearing on Saturday, April 17. (View video of the meeting). Hundreds of Malibu residents, educators, students, and parents shared their views with the Committee in support of an independent Malibu Unified School District (MUSD).
This remains a contentious issue, and the City has been working hard to dispel misinformation about the true impacts of separating from SM-MUSD. The County Committee heard several hours of testimony from both the City and School District, and ultimately decided to continue the hearing to early June. In the meantime, the City team will continue to communicate to residents of both Malibu and Santa Monica. SM-MUSD agrees that the two communities need separate school districts; the only question is how to separate in a way that is fair and equitable for both jurisdictions and will not harm any students in the process.
City's Preliminary Petition to form an independent Malibu unified school district SUBMITTED to LACOE
View the City's preliminary petition for unification of a new Malibu Unified School District submitted to the LACOE Committee on School District Organization.
Community members wishing to show their support for this effort to give Malibu residents local control over local public schools can get involved in the following ways:
TELL US YOUR STORY
RECENT negotiation efforts
On April 13, 2021 the City’s Ad Hoc Committee on School Separation directed the City Attorney to respond to the SM-MUSD with a reasonable settlement offer, and on April 14, the City Council ratified that settlement offer. Since the financial terms of separation appear to be the only issue remaining and the City understands that the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) and their consultant, School Services of California, are well-suited to determine fair and equitable financial terms for separation, the City proposed that LACOE and School Services of California develop the financial terms of separation. The City urged SM-MUSD to agree to be bound to the financial terms to be developed by LACOE and School Services and to go on record that it supports Malibu’s petition to create an independent Malibu Unified School District. Here is the City’s counter proposal:
On April 16, the SM-MUSD voted 5-2 to reject the City of Malibu counter proposal on unification and would not agree to be bound by the LACOE County Committee's recommendations.
Youth and children in Malibu and the surrounding unincorporated area have attended schools within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) since prior to the City's incorporation. Local school families and community groups have long expressed the desire to separate from SM-MUSD 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 SM-MUSD 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 SM-MUSD.
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.
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 SM-MUSD, and the City's consultant team gave a presentation analyzing the financial terms SM-MUSD had requested for separation and voted unanimously to reinstate the City's petition for unification of an independent MUSD to the LACOE Committee of School District Organization.
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 SM-MUSD and the formation of two distinct districts. MUNC's recommendations were presented to the City Council and SM-MUSD 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 SM-MUSD regarding separation. Council directed the City Manager and City Attorney to pursue negotiations with SM-MUSD 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
- 2/26/2018 - Council directed the City Manager to send a letter to LACOE stating the City wishes to proceed with the LACOE process to separate from the SM-MUSD and form a new MUSD
- 2/26/2018 - Authorized a Professional Services Agreement with Pintoresco Advisors, LLC for school unification consultant services
- 4/9/2018 - City Council:
- 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 SM-MUSD;
- Designated the City Manager and City Attorney to pursue negotiations with SM-MUSD under the guidance of the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee; and
- Accepted, in principle, the framework for school district separation recommended by the SM-MUSD 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:
- Develop a plan to pursue SM-MUSD separation with LACOE
- Consider any other options to facilitate separation; and
- Continue considering negotiations with SM-MUSD
- 3/9/2020 - Following an update from the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee, the City Council endorsed legislation that provides for the continuation of the Measure R parcel tax after separation of SM-MUSD.
- 7/13/2020 - City Council authorized Amendment No. 1 to the Professional Services Agreement with STLR Corp, dba Ryland School Business Consulting
- 8/10/2020 - City Council authorized the City Manager to execute Amendment No. 2 to the Professional Services Agreement with Kirk-Carter and Associates (Supplemental report)
- 10/12/2020 - City Council voted unanimously to reinstate the City’s petition for unification of a MUSD to the LACOE Committee on School District Organization. The petition had been put on hold pending negotiations with SMMUSD.
- 10/12/2020 - School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee (Councilmembers Farrer and Mullen) and the City’s financial consultants presented an update on the status of the negotiations at the City Council meeting. (Meeting video)
- 10/28/2020 - City hosted a virtual town hall on School District Separation with presentations from the School District Separation Ad Hoc Committee and the City's consultant team who also answered questions from the public. (Town hall video)
- 10/28/2020 - City received a letter from SM-MUSD Superintendent Ben Drati in response to the City's decision to proceed with its petition to LACOE.
- 11/2/2020 - City Manager sends letter to Dr. Drati in response to his letter of 10/28/2020
- 2011 - Formation of the Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS)
- 2013 - Commissioned the West Ed. Study
- 2013 - Collection of thousands of signatures submitted to the Malibu City Council in support of a new MUSD
- September 16, 2015 - City Council adopts Resolution No. 15-60 , authorizing transmission of the petition for unification of a MUSD to the Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools
The following are commonly used acronyms in discussion of school district separation and formation of a new district:
- SMUSD - proposed Santa Monica Unified School District
- SSC - School Services of California
Documents & Resources
- SM-MUSD webpage on Malibu Unification
- School Services of California (SSC) presentation to SMMUSD on Review of Revenue Options for District Reorganization (3/20/2018)
- School Services of California report (2/22/2018)
- SSC Analysis of MUNC Reports (October 2017)
- MUNC Supplemental Meeting Report (7/11/2017)
- MUNC Memorandum Report (February 2017) [negotiated terms of agreement]
- City letter to LACOE filing Petition for Unification (8/31/2017)
- SM-MUSD Board of Education Resolution In Opposition to the Unification Petition (12/14/2017)