The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) School Board unanimously elected Kathy Wisnicki to serve as its president and Oscar De La Torre to serve as its vice president for the coming year.
Wisnicki has been a Board member since 2004, and served as vice president this past year. De La Torre was elected to his second four-year term in November.
The Board then turned to establishing the Prop 39 Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for Measure BB and approving its by-laws. Measure BB is the $268 million bond measure approved by the voters from both Santa Monica and Malibu in November to upgrade the District’s facilities. Prop 39 was passed by California voters in 2000 and requires a 55 percent approval for school facilities bond measures. It also requires a district to create and recruit a very specific type of seven-member Citizens Bond Oversight Committee to give input to its board to make sure the bond funds are spent on the items approved by the voters. Due to this, the SMMUSD’s Board agreed with Board member Jose Escarce that, “Inevitably we’re going to have to have two committees because this one [the Prop 39] committee is very very prescribed…and the roles [for the members] are very limited and can’t be expanded.”
The other committee would be similar to the advisory committees formed in the past that gave input to the Board on facilities bond measures X and ES, and will include representatives from the school sites – such as teachers and administrative staff – as well as members of the community at large. The application deadline for the committees is January 30, and the Board will make appointments in February.
The Board also heard a status report from Superintendent Dianne Talarico on the search for a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to replace Winston Braham, who resigned in November. Talarico stated that the search for an Interim CFO is in progress. She and her staff believe the “interim needs to take us through the 2007-2008 budget planning process.” They would like the permanent CFO to start July 1, 2007.
Talarico stressed that there will be “pretty broad-based community input” when a search is done for the permanent CFO. In the meantime, she is seeking input “from the District’s Financial Oversight Committee at the interim interview level.”