Last week, over 60 community members gathered at Webster Elementary School in Malibu to discuss potential joint use partnerships between the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) and other districts.This was the second in a series of workshops that are part of the SMMUSD 20-year Master Facilities planning process. Documents prepared by the District’s consulting firm, Concordia, state that the project is building upon “the SMMUSD Strategic Plan of 2002, incorporating the seven initiatives for creating the classrooms of the future. This master plan will guide District officials by examining immediate needs and presenting long-term strategies for improving District facilities.”Before brainstorming on potential joint use partnerships, participants heard a presentation on joint use by Mott Smith, a founder of Civic Enterprise Associates. Smith discussed six different concepts of joint use:
Concept #1 – Community Use
“Occasional non-school activities are conducted at school facilities.” Examples in the District include CREST, YMCA classes, the Boys and Girls Clubs and playground access.
Concept #2 – Program Partnerships
“Third parties participate in school programs, on campus and off.” Examples are P.S. Arts, the Police Activities League Youth Center (PAL) and the First Federal Tutoring Program.
Concept #3 – Site Sharing
“An entity occupies a site that someone else owns.” District examples are Memorial Park and the Malibu Equestrian Center.
Concept #4 – Mixed-Use
Using a facility for more than one use. No examples in the District.
Concept #5 – Joint Planning
“Multiple entities plan future land-uses together.” No examples in the District.
Concept #6 – Joint Development
“Two or more users partner to build a mixed-use or shared site project.” No examples in the District.
Smith mentioned some compelling reasons for a school district to have joint use partnerships, including “more efficient use of capital funds; more efficient use of operating funds; create better programs for the public; address an unmet community need; help realize a broader community or city plan; and/or reduce negative impacts or enhance positive impacts of public projects on surrounding communities.”
Smith did warn that joint use partnerships don’t always work and to use caution when entering into that kind of agreement. Smith concluded his presentation by noting, “You guys are way ahead of the curve regionally and nationally as far as doing partnerships.”
Ideas that came out of the workshop for potential partnerships included partnering with the Grammys for using their land for an intramural sports fields and partnering with the City of Malilbu and Santa Monica College to develop land around Malibu High School “centered around the idea of shared school/public library/ tech education center.”
Another idea was creating a district-wide partnership with Yahoo to create a “wireless city” that would work with a computer loan program for our students so every District student would have access to the internet.
An additional suggestion was partnering with the District’s existing Regional Occupational Program (ROP) so that academic classes for adults, GED high school diploma classes and English as a Second Language for citizenship can be at the same campus as business classes.
Partnerships with the Santa Monica Museum of Art and Bergamot Station were also mentioned as a way to partner with the arts community.