Higher program funding, increased parcel tax recommended to school district

In a marathon meeting last week, seven advisory committees reported to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Several recommendations could significantly impact Malibu: $1 million in capital improvements for Malibu High School athletics, and an increased parcel tax to come before voters in November. The special education committee, whose members have recently become vocal about controversies in the district program, called for an ombudsman.

Highlights of the committee reports:

Parcel Tax Renewal

This ad hoc committee recommends a measure continuing the parcel tax be placed on the November ballot. The tax, which provides more than $2 million annually to the district, should be increased from $75 to $110 per parcel for 10 years, adjusted annually for inflation, in order to meet the school district’s “critical” needs.

Instructional Technology

Short-term funding:

  • Site support enhancements of $320,000 for fiscal year 2000-2001 to support existing investment in equipment, software and training for the online library system, instructional technology integration and Internet access.
  • Replacement of $155,000 carry over educational services funds, for World Book online, software upgrades; new fourth- and fifth-grade computers.
  • Elementary librarian coordinator, $50,000. This is a full-time credentialed position, the first step toward the larger goal of placing a librarian/technology leader on every elementary campus.
  • Technology professional development training, $20,000, replacement of planned budget reduction. Thereafter, $40,000 per year.

Long-term recommendations

  • Third year high school hardware purchase, $130,000 for Santa Monica High School, $6,500 for Olympic High School. Failure to secure this money will result in loss of matching funds for the Digital High School Grant.
  • Elementary librarian/technology leaders, $500,000.
  • Elementary computer laboratories, $760,000. Establishes a computer learning laboratory at every elementary site. Necessary to reverse setbacks due to class size reduction program.

Fine Arts

  • Give high priority to developing a districtwide fine arts program for K-5.
  • Focus attention on preparation for high school students who wish to enter professional schools in their disciplines.
  • Hire a development officer.
  • The Board of Education should develop a policy on Fine Arts facilities.
  • Phase I of fiscal year 2000-2001 funding in the amount of $500,000 includes adopting state standards and funding music, drama and visual arts materials, as well as more dance instruction.
  • Phase II of fiscal year 2000-2001 funding, in the amount of $2 million, calls for increased equipment purchase, facilities upgrade and funding for more music, drama and dance lessons to meet “National Arts Standards.”
  • Phase III of fiscal year 2000-2001 funding, in the amount of $4 million, calls for providing electronic music production studios at elementary schools, year-long general music instruction for K-5, semester-long dance classes for middle schools and high school visual art classes


  • One-time high school capital improvements expenditure of $2,525,000, including a new locker room building for a new Malibu gym ($750,000) and building a football/soccer field amphitheater at Malibu High ($250,000). These might be joint projects with the city.
  • Ongoing high school operating program improvements, $792,500.
  • K-12 operating improvements, $1,480,000; one-time elementary school instructional technology, $5,000 per site.
  • Establish an Athletic Foundation as a subsidiary of the Santa Monica-Malibu Educational Foundation. School board member Todd Hess, whose term ends in November, said he wants to be part of the foundation.

Special Education

  • Accommodate like programs at the same campus.
  • Establish ombudsmen.
  • Complete the Special Education Workshop Series.
  • Initiate intensive teacher training workshops.
  • Assure special education representation on site-based governance teams.
  • Create a reader-friendly budget.
  • Address special education computer hardware/software needs
  • Establish an annual special education site compliance review.
  • Establish a Special Education Equal Opportunity Foundation.
  • Open a development office.
  • Provide computer-friendly Individual Educational Program documents rather than the illegible, handwritten ones now used.

Health and safety

  • Adopt strategy options to prevent repetitive stress injuries attributable to carrying too much weight in backpacks.
  • Four proposals for healthier school lunches.
  • Identify resources to fight drug abuse, anti-social and suicidal behavior.
  • Increase coordination between the committees, especially the sports and physical education committee, to establish an integrated health plan.

Child Care

  • The school board should direct a portion of revenues to its Child Development Services Division, whose budget is primarily funded from parent fees.
  • Create district-city joint ventures, similar to the district’s alliance with the City of Santa Monica for fourth- and fifth-graders, the Upper CREST program.
The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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