Proposed Malibu Unified School District

Current Status

MAY 15, 2023: The City of Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District released the following joint statement on May 15, 2023:

Negotiations between the City of Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), initiated in October 2022, led to agreement on a “Term Sheet,” which outlined a framework to accomplish formation of an independent Malibu Unified School District and Santa Monica Unified School District. The Term Sheet identified a goal of finalizing three agreements by April 15, 2023, but clarification of additional details will be required to accurately   reflect the agreement between the parties.

Most importantly, the parties have reached an agreement that all students will benefit from the creation of independent school districts. Hence, the parties will continue to finalize key terms for the three agreements that will define the separation.

The next mediation session is scheduled for August 8, 2023. Meanwhile, an update on the negotiations was given to the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization on May 3 and was provided to the Malibu City Council on May 8. 


The City of Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) have jointly settled on a detailed framework and process to pursue the separation of the two territories into two separate unified school districts: Santa Monica Unified and Malibu Unified.

The framework emerged after months of mediation and joint meetings between the parties dating back to April of this year.

The details of the framework and process are spelled out in a Term Sheet document available on the website.  

Highlights of the framework include:

1. A conceptual financial model to insure both districts maintain sufficient revenue and revenue growth to provide the same or greater level of educational programs to students in both territories.

2. A description of agreements that the City and the District will need to finalize, including a tax-sharing agreement, operations agreement, and joint powers agreement, to fully implement the unification.

3. The pursuit of special legislation to assist in the implementation of the unification.

4. A detailed timeline of the process.

“This process we’ve identified reflects countless hours of negotiations and hard work on both sides,” Jon Kean, SM-MUSD Board Member, said. “Unification has been discussed, debated and pursued many times over the last few decades. The commitment by both sides to move forward under this framework represents the first time that we have been able to mutually agree upon an equitable financial model. While there is work left to do, we have reached an historic moment in this process.”

“After years of hard work and negotiations, we finally have a viable framework for an independent Malibu Unified School District,” Malibu Mayor Paul Grisanti said. “We would not be here without the hard work, dedication, and compromise made by the District and the City’s negotiating teams. Now that the Term Sheet has been accepted by both the SM-MUSD Board of Education and the Malibu City Council, I am hopeful that the process and framework set forth will guide us to the ultimate goal of two separate school districts.” 

There will be many opportunities for public feedback and input as progress is made by the parties. Additional public engagement on this process is expected to begin early in the new calendar year.


The separation process is complex. This page offers accurate facts and straight answers. To receive updates directly, subscribe for e-notifications from the City and stay informed on what is happening.


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
  • SM-MUSD - Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
  • SMUSD - proposed Santa Monica Unified School District
  • SSC - School Services of California