City of Malibu and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Complete draft of key deliverables
By Sam Catanzaro
Negotiations between Santa Monica and Malibu to create an independent Malibu school district are progressing, according to city officials this week.
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and the City of Malibu have completed a draft of one of three important documents necessary in the plan to create two distinct school districts – Malibu Unified and Santa Monica Unified.
At Monday’s Malibu City Council meeting, Deputy City Attorney Christine Wood gave updates on the progress made since November. According to her statement, they have drafted a tentative revenue-sharing agreement, outlined an operational agreement detailing what assistance Malibu will need from Santa Monica’s school district, and anticipate beginning work soon on a joint powers agreement creating a third-party public agency to manage the transition.
Wood added that while progress is being made, it is not happening as quickly as desired. The framework for negotiations was agreed upon in November and aims to submit the proposal to Los Angeles County by May for review by the California Board of Education before appearing on ballots in March 2024. The most optimistic timeline for completion of both respective school districts would be July 1, 2024, though it is expected to take longer than that.
Officials will meet at a mediation session next month on March 21. This week both councils within the cities met in closed sessions to discuss district matters, with Santa Monica voting 4-3 to join their school district in appealing against Los Angeles County Committee decisions. In addition, their recent vote opposed a petition requiring school trustees be elected by district instead of at large according to their current Charter system; guaranteeing elected board members ties with either Santa Monica or Malibu.