Letter: Enrollment Problems

Letter to the Editor

Enrollment problems

An Open Letter to the SMMUSD Board of Education:

As members of the Malibu community, we are greatly troubled by the manner in which district officials have publicly addressed the enrollment decline in Malibu schools, characterizing the problem as “demographic.”

The fact that the District would address our current enrollment decline simply as a demographic phenomenon only reinforces in the minds of those who live here that the District is deaf as to what is taking place in Malibu and clueless as to what should be done. 

It is a well-known fact in Malibu that a large number of Malibu’s families have either decided not to enroll or have withdrawn their children from our public schools as a direct and specific response to the district’s takeover of fundraising as well as the PCB controversy.

Further, we are stunned to hear that the district’s proposed response to the enrollment decline is to advertise to get families who live outside Malibu to drive their kids to Malibu to fill the empty seats. While we have no objection to students transferring in, we would like to offer the superintendent and school board a much more appropriate and responsible response to the enrollment decline:

“District leadership acknowledges the reasons why Malibu parents are withdrawing their children. Public schools belong to the community; we are their stewards. As we develop and refine our policies and practices, we will work with the Malibu community in an increasingly responsive way so that these families will be excited to enroll their children and support public schools with the same commitment and enthusiasm they showed in the past.”

Historically, Malibu schools have been extraordinarily high-achieving, with extremely high levels of volunteerism and local financial support. These resources, along with higher enrollments of local children, will quickly return if the Board hears and empowers us as we work to improve our schools.

Desi Bradley, Soniya Perl, Lori Keeffe, Candace Kelly, Karen Farrer, Kim Bonewitz, Roui Israel, John Miller, Kasey Earnest, Siugen Constanza, Jennifer DeNicola, Seth Jacobson, Melanie Goudzwaard, Kristina Kell, Shamra Tankersley, Brian Strange, Suzy Forman, Bryan Ingram

Members of the Malibu Community