News Briefs

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School board discusses $2 million in cutsr

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials proposed reducing next year’s budget by $2 million at a special budget meeting Saturday at district headquarters in Santa Monica, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press. The bulk of the savings would come from employee layoffs. Up to 20 jobs could be cut, including 10 classroom teachers and 10 employees in the district’s Special Education department. Other positions could also face cuts. By state law, employees must be notified by March 15 that their positions could be eliminated for the 2012-13 school year.

On the secondary level, all subject areas face reductions, including mathematics, social studies, English and foreign languages. In elementary schools, general education teachers could be let go. Class sizes would almost certainly increase if the reductions take place.

The SMMUSD faces a structural deficit of $4.6 million, and a cost of living adjustment in Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget could result in an additional $2.2 million in lost revenue to the school district.

The cuts proposed Saturday come after Brown’s state budget proposal for 2012-13 was released in January. The budget calls for an automatic $4.8 billion cut to public education if voters do not approve a proposed tax increase Brown hopes to put on the ballot in November.

District staff estimates if the ballot measure fails, the district could lose another $4 million in education funding from the state. Several reports indicate the failure of the ballot measure is a real possibility. Brown’s proposal is expected to be joined on the ballot by a competing proposal by attorney and civil rights advocate Molly Munger that calls for a $10 billion tax increase through raising income taxes. Reports have speculated that having both tax measures on the ballot could dilute the vote, with the result that neither passes.

One dead after car plunges off Kanan-Dume, starts fire

A car plunged 200 feet off the side of Kanan Dume Road near Latigo Canyon Road last Thursday around noon, causing a brush fire and killing the driver.

Authorities are investigating the incident as a possible suicide and the case is being handled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. The identity of the driver has not been released to the public.

Firefighters got the call from a witness at 11:56 a.m. who saw the car drive off the side of the road and start the brush fire. The fire burned two to three acres of brush and was out by around 1 p.m. The midday crash closed Kanan-Dume for a few hours, with all lanes reopened around 4 p.m.

One injured in PCH crash

One man was injured in a crash involving a car and a truck that took place on Pacific Coast Highway between the PC Greens shopping center and the Thai Dishes shopping center Feb. 14 around 3:45 p.m., Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station traffic Sgt. Philip Brooks confirmed.

Peter Torres of San Pedro said he blacked out while driving north on the highway and collided into the rear of a parked truck on the shoulder. The driver was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center so his medical condition could be monitored. No one else was in the car or the parked truck.

Obama allocates $2.4 million to protect Santa Monica Mountains

The Obama Administration has included $2.4 million in its Fiscal Year 2013 Budget to acquire and protect 238 acres of land in Zuma and Trancas Canyons in the Santa Monica Mountains, according to a press release from Congressman Brad Sherman’s office.

The project was one of six nationwide land acquisition priorities in the budget and the only one in California.

Brownley joins Congressional District race

Assemblywoman Julia Brownley announced she will run for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Ventura County’s new 26th Congressional District, the Ventura County Star reports. Brownley, a democrat, is stepping in after supervisor Steve Bennett dropped out last week.

Brownley currently represents the 41st Assembly District, which includes Malibu, Calabasas, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and parts of the west San Fernando Valley. She will be termed out this year, having served the maximum of three terms in the California Assembly.

Water district tests modifications for water pressure upgrade

The Los Angeles County Waterworks District 29 is modifying its interconnection with the Metropolitan Water District to improve water pressure in the area, according to a release from the city. The interconnection will temporarily shut down to modify the system during April and May. During the shut downs water will be supplied to residents through storage tanks throughout the district. The district conducted a “dry run” of the operational changes during the course of last week. For more information, visit malibucity.org.

City seeks skate park design proposals

The City of Malibu’s Parks and Recreation department released a Request for Proposals Feb. 8 asking for proposals to complete design elements for a skate park facility to be located at Malibu Bluffs Park, a release from the city states.

Qualified candidates should have previous experience in public skate park design, including preparation of construction documents and cost estimates.

“The concept discussed in community meetings with the Skate Park Ad Hoc Committee was for a mixed-use skate plaza that would combine challenging skate features with pedestrian-friendly pathways and landscaping amid a skate park layout,” the release says. “The design could include all-wheel friendly features that would allow BMX and rollerblade uses. There was also discussion of a traditional style, permanent skate park specifically for skateboarding.”

Design proposals must be submitted to City Hall, 23825 Stuart Ranch Rd., by 4 p.m. on Wed., March 14.

For more information, contact Parks and Recreation director Bob Stallings at bstallings@malibucity.org or visit malibucity.org.