PRESS RELEASE - April 7, 2021 - City of Malibu’s Last, Best Offer Protects Santa Monica School Funding
In its ongoing effort to create a separate public school district, the City of Malibu has made what it considers a generous “last best” financial offer to ensure that Santa Monica schools will have at least the same per-pupil funding for the coming decade.
“It’s been over a month since Malibu presented its offer and school district administrators haven’t responded or even presented Malibu’s offer to the School Board. They persist in saying we walked away from negotiations last spring, when in fact they are the ones who are refusing to compromise,” said Councilmember Karen Farrer.
Malibu made the offer in renewed negotiations with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) on March 2, 2021. The City proposed a tax-sharing agreement that transfers property tax revenue from Malibu to Santa Monica for up to 10 years in the event SM-MUSD’s per-pupil funding dips below its current level. In addition, the proposal also identifies the approximately $50 million in Other Local Funding (grants, sales taxes, rental income, redevelopment funds, and parent/business donations, etc.) that SM-MUSD receives each year beyond state education funding and property tax sources which Santa Monica will be able to retain in separation. Under this plan, the state would not have to increase its Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) allocation to Santa Monica if separation was approved.
The offer is available to view at www.MalibuCity.org/SeparationOffer.
For years, Malibu taxpayers have been disproportionately funding the School District budget. Malibu only has 14% of the students in SM-MUSD yet contributes one-third of the $90 million in property tax revenue in the District budget.
The School District persists in demanding Malibu’s property taxes in perpetuity. The School District is trying to extract billions of dollars from Malibu as the price for local control over schools in Malibu’s own community. The SM-MUSD Board of Education and administration have gone on record saying they agree that it is time for separation to occur, and that their only objection has been the money.
Despite the accusations by the SM-MUSD, the City of Malibu has made clear that it does care about the impact of separation on all students in both communities and is prepared to share its tax base for 10 years so that Santa Monica can adjust to operating on its own without causing inequities in the Santa Monica schools.
On Saturday, April 17, the City of Malibu will present to the Los Angeles County Office of Education Committee on School District Organization a petition to split from SM-MUSD and form its own independent school district. The preliminary feasibility study shows convincingly that both Santa Monica and Malibu will benefit by having separate school districts.
For more information, visit the school separation webpage.