Malibu’s Split from Santa Monica Would be Costly, School District Report Finds by Jason Islas

Another article that mostly missed the key facts from the meeting. In fairness, it is highly complex.


May 4, 2012 – Splitting the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District could be costly, especially for Malibu, where a secession movement has been gaining momentum, according to a preliminary report issued by District officials.

The report, prepared by the district’s Chief Financial Officer, Jan Maez, found that if Malibu were to split from the district, its newly formed school system would face an operating deficit to $2.4 million. Santa Monica’s budget deficit would stay at around $4 million.

“The district usually runs an operating deficit of $4.6 million,” Maez said of the existing district, which serves both upscale beach cities. The $2.4 million increase on Malibu’s side would come primarily from the overhead costs, she said.

But the deficit question isn’t the only one facing proponents of the district split, District officials said.

The district has a number of general bond obligations, and one of the key issues officials would need to tackle is figuring out how that debt gets distributed, Maez said.

The School Board on Thursday decided to move ahead with the preliminary process by preparing a report that could cost as much as $40,000 detailing the impacts of dividing the district.

“Advocates from Malibu schools and the Malibu City Council have offered to pay for the study,” said Board President Ben Allen. “This is an incredibly complex government entity,” Allen said of SMMUSD, and there is a lot to understand.

“For this to work, we need all the key stakeholders to come to the table and agree,” Allen added.

To read more, go here.

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