On Tuesday, August 17, the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) emailed a video to its undisclosed distribution list which purportedly includes parents, teachers, staff and community members attacking Malibu’s years-long effort to separate and form its own independent Malibu Unified School District.
Malibu residents are encouraged to voice their opposition to this move and reiterate their support for school separation by making public comment at the SM-MUSD School Board meeting today, Thursday, August 19. Public comments can be submitted starting at 4:30 PM and the meeting starts at 5:00 PM. Submit comment with this form. The meeting agenda, viewing and commenting instructions are posted on the School Board's website.
To get the facts about the City’s petition, visit Malibu’s MUSD webpage at https://malibucity.org/musd.
This highly produced video is a piece of political propaganda, filled with numerous distorted facts and numbers, half-truths, and highly debatable projections about school district funding, all paid for with School District taxpayer money, a portion of which comes from Malibu families.
Among other distortions, the SM-MUSD’s financial projections reflect a loss of revenue without accounting for the loss of Malibu students. The video also falsely states that school separation will force SM-MUSD to cut funding for programs for English learners and at-risk students, as well as special education. The truth is that federal law requires that a school district provide services to vulnerable populations and the federal government provides dedicated funding for them. SM-MUSD will not see any reduction in the amount of funding for these programs on a per-student basis as a result of the proposed separation.
The City and SM-MUSD both agree 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. After years spent negotiating with SM-MUSD on the financial terms of separation, the City has submitted a petition to the County to form an independent school district. The financial terms of which are based on California’s school finance principles as they apply to school districts throughout the state and would not harm students in either district.
The City is saddened by this highly political attack on Malibu residents’ decades-long effort to form its own school district, have local control over the education of their children and address the inequities between the educational programs the District currently offers in Santa Monica and Malibu. Malibu is a small, rural, residential community 20 miles from Santa Monica, separated by the City of Los Angeles, with its own values and needs. This propaganda video serves as another example of SM-MUSD using taxpayer dollars against the best interest of its Malibu students and parents.
In May 2021, the City again asked SM-MUSD to return to the negotiation table with an independent, third-party mediator. However, rather than respond to the City’s offer, SM-MUSD has spent valuable time and resources producing a video full of falsehoods and misinformation.
Malibu students and families have faced educational inequity for decades as part of SM-MUSD and are seeking the same opportunities and local control as currently afforded to Santa Monica students and families.
Save the date to attend and give public comment in favor of a separate Malibu Unified School District at the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization (LACOE) hearing on Malibu’s petition on September 18, 2021. The agenda, viewing and commenting instructions will be posted in advance of the meeting on the City website, social media and e-notifications.