Letter: Support for One School District

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Logo

Forming our own Malibu school district is a bad idea.

First: never has AMPS suggested or discussed how student outcomes will improve once we become our own district. When pressed, AMPS leadership continually dodges this important issue. If student outcomes will not improve, why disrupt the current operating structure of our schools? Currently, students graduating from Malibu High School attend some of the best colleges and universities in the country. Should we really risk this?

Second: Malibu has never supported a parcel tax in the margins necessary for passage. This will not change when Malibu becomes its own district. The reality is passage of a parcel tax requires a favorable vote from 66 2/3% of the residents. Malibu’s best efforts have only been a bit over 50%. The only reason we have the extra funds from the parcel tax is because Santa Monica provided the necessary margins. 

Third: The unions representing the classified employees will never support this separation. Separation will necessarily result in a loss of classified positions. There is no real likelihood that the union will allow that to happen. 

Fourth: AMPS is projecting that we could have our own school district by July 2015. This seems extremely unrealistic especially in light of the hurdles they identified which must be overcome. Realistically this is a process that could take far longer than they anticipate. We need to focus on continuing the immediate support of our public schools. That means supporting the Santa Monica Malibu Education Foundation’s Vision for Student Success campaign

The funds raised in the Vision for Student Success campaign will support Malibu’s schools. It is essential that the campaign be successful so that there will be no cuts in programming. To date, Malibu’s participation in this campaign has been woefully inadequate. The facts are, if Malibu fails to participate and the Education Foundation fails to reach its financial goals, important programs will be cut and this will affect Malibu’s kids. 

Please give generously during this holiday season and show your support for our truly exceptional public schools. 

Mike Sidley