Malibu will give more than $100K to school district under new agreement

School board will vote on new fee schedule for sports field use at its June 12 meeting.

By Jonathan Friedman/Special to the Malibu Times

The City of Malibu and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) have come up with a deal that apparently satisfies both parties’ needs with regards to use of district facilities. The City Council unanimously approved a joint-use agreement with the district Monday that increases its contribution to $135,105, while in return it will increase its use of SMMUSD facilities during non-school hours.

The city previously had three separate agreements with the district that covered its use of the facilities at Malibu High School, Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School and Webster Elementary School. The agreement originates from 1993 when the city contributed $450,000 toward the building of a swimming pool at Malibu High School (MHS), which amounted to half the total. It also gave $90,000 for the renovation of MHS’ ball fields and tennis courts. As part of the agreements, the city contributed $23,500 to the district to maintain the pool and tennis courts. Also, Malibu (AYSO) contributed a small fee for the use of the baseball fields, since the soccer playing on those fields led to wear and tear. Malibu Little League President Jack Evans said his group contributes $3,000 annually to MHS, but that could not be confirmed by any city or district official, including Principal Mike Matthews.

Of the city’s new contribution to the district, $111,605 will come from the city’s budgeted amount dedicated to youth services. That money was made available after the city removed a position from the Sheriff’s Department. From that source, the city will also use an additional $16,500 for custodial and supervision of the old MHS gymnasium and $9,000 for the weekend monitoring of the sports fields and playgrounds. The remaining $23,500 of the city’s direct contribution to the district will come from Proposition A Maintenance and Service funds. In addition, the city will contribute $165,360 worth of custodial and supervision services to the district, including services provided by the Point Dume Community Services District.

SMMUSD desperately needs help with its facility maintenance. Sports and Physical Education Coordinator Chris Corliss informed the Board of Education at its May 1 meeting that the district spends $750,000 annually on sports facilities maintenance, and $250,000 on replacement and renovation. A major problem is that the district’s fee schedule for groups to use sports fields and other facilities has not been updated since 1993, with many groups not being charged at all.

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“We have basically been subsidizing some of these community programs,” Corliss told the board.

To help offset some of these costs, the district has created a new fee schedule, with groups charged different rates based on what type they are. For instance, nonprofit organizations would be charged the least amount of money. Exclusive sports leagues and private school youth sports programs would then be charged slightly more, while for-profit youth and adult sports groups would be charged the full cost. The board is expected to vote on the new fee schedule at its June 12 meeting. Superintendent John Deasy said during a telephone interview last week that the same logic applies to why the school district is requesting more money from the City of Malibu in a new arrangement.

“We hope to expand opportunities for the city to use the facilities, and we are asking the city to make a greater contribution in exchange for that,” he said.

As part of the deal, youth sports programs such as AYSO and Malibu Little League will now go entirely through the city to get permits for district facility usage. Malibu Parks and Recreation Director Paul Adams said the determination of the cost of those permit fees is up to the City Council. The city had been in charge of issuing permits to the youth sports programs under the previous agreements, but there had been some lack of clarity on the matter.

“With the new joint use agreement, that will all be clarified so there is no confusion,” Deasy said.

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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