School Board Approves Separate Malibu/Santa Monica Fundraising

Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District School Board of Education unanimously voted, 5-0, to separate fundraising between the two cities’ schools at its last meeting on June 28.

Board Member Ralph Mechur recused himself from the hearing; Board Member Craig Foster was absent.

The vote comes after a lengthy discussion during the June 14 meeting, where it was reported that Malibu’s participation in districtwide fundraising was at a consistent low. This, in part, comes from a decision to centralize funding for the schools back in 2011. It was a decision that angered Malibu parents, who were convinced local programming would suffer from the combined fundraising.

With the new fiscal year, which began on July 1, a Malibu organization will fundraise for local schools for the 2019-20 school year while the now Santa Monica Education Foundation (SMEF) [formerly Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation] fundraises for Santa Monica schools. 

Both organizations will be in charge of fundraising money for programs set and approved by the school board. Additionally, each community will have a Superintendent’s Advisory Committee (SAC)—“comprised of representatives from all the community’s respective schools,” according to a letter shared to community members by Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati—to help with recommendations given to the school board.

It is unclear which Malibu organization that will be. Malibu High School Booster Club, The Shark Fund may be open to the idea of serving as the fundraising vehicle for all local schools, as confirmed in a phone call with The Shark Fund chairwoman Gardia Fox.

In a letter titled “SMMUSD Fundraising Change—What Does It Mean?” on its website, the SMEF said, “Malibu families will be hearing from their non-profit fundraising entity soon.” 

It goes on to assure parents that any funds raised during this past school year (2017-18) will still be used for both Santa Monica and Malibu schools for the upcoming 2018-19 school year.