Fifty-four new educators, firefighters, and police officers were welcomed to the Santa Monica community with gift bags and raffle prizes at the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce’s (SMCC) 15th Annual Heroes Celebration. The celebration took place at the Le Merigot Hotel and Spa on October 22.
Up until this year, the event just focused on the new educators from all of the Santa Monica-Malibu area schools (public and private, preschool through college) but this year it was expanded to include new Santa Monica public safety personnel as well.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) hired fewer teachers this year because of California’s budget crisis. Many openings that occurred due to attrition were not filled and as a result there was an increase in class size. Hiring by area private schools was also down due to the on-going recession.
Hiring in Santa Monica’s Fire Department (SMFD) was up due to a change in the way their dispatch services will be handled. Santa Monica Fire Chief Jim Hone explained that for the last three years those services were being provided by the City of Los Angeles. Now those services will once again be provided by the SMFD using updated equipment and technology. Most of his departments’ seventeen new hires will have duties related to dispatch services.
Santa Monica Police Chief Timothy Jackman noted before introducing his department’s four new officers that “we get hundreds of applications for just a few jobs every year and don’t have much turnover.”
The Chamber’s Education Committee puts on the event every year to “support excellence in education and promote meaningful business/ education partnerships with local public and private schools.” Leaders from the education community, the Chamber, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD), and the PTA make up the committee. More information about this committee can be found at www.smchamber.com.
The gift bags and raffle prizes were donated by local Westside businesses that are Chamber members.