Former interim city manager could head school district

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School board continues discussion on sex abuse reporting policy.

By Jonathan Friedman / Assistant Editor

A man who headed the City of Malibu on an interim basis could be the new temporary leader at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. According to an online report from the Santa Monica news Web site The Lookout, a group of Santa Monica education and community leaders are encouraging former Malibu interim City Manager John Jalili to be the school district’s interim head. Jalili was the city manager in Santa Monica from 1984 to 1999. He was the interim manager in Malibu in 2006.

Jalili could not be reached for comment.

School board President Oscar de la Torre said in an interview on Tuesday, “We’re open to him applying for the job, but as of today he has not returned my call.”

De la Torre said he would like an interim superintendent to be hired by June 26. SMMUSD Superintendent Dianne Talarico, who was hired to head a district in the Bay Area earlier this month, is remaining with this district through the high school graduations next week.

At a special meeting last week on Wednesday, the board hired the firm, Leadership Associates, to assist with the search for an interim superintendent. Leadership Associates officials are holding public input sessions this week on Thursday in Santa Monica and Malibu. The sessions will take place at the Santa Monica High School Library at 3:30 p.m. and at the Malibu High School Library at 6 p.m.

At last Thursday’s board meeting, the board discussed its plan for hiring a permanent superintendent. The plan is for the issuance next month of request for proposal notices to search firms. By September, the firm would be selected. The superintendent would be selected by March 1.

Abuse policy discussion continued

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education at its Thursday meeting continued its discussion on creating a stricter policy for reporting alleged abuse at schools. This comes in the wake of last month’s arrest of Lincoln Middle School teacher Thomas Arthur Beltran for allegedly sexually molesting female students at the school. Beltran has been charged with 23 felony counts, including nine additional charges filed on Friday, involving eight female students.

After Beltran’s arrest, it was revealed that school officials and the Santa Monica Police Department had investigated the teacher in 2006 on a sexual abuse allegation, but it was not reported to district officials. The proposed new policy requires all allegations to be forwarded to the superintendent. The board is expected to vote on a policy at its June 26 meeting.

New high school proposed

Also at the meeting, the school board heard a presentation on a possible new high school in the district. A task force had been researching the possibility for the past several months. The new school would have a theme of global environmental science and technology. It could serve as a continuation for the district’s existing Santa Monica Alternative School House, a K-8 school that uses alternative education methods.

The school would begin with a 100-student freshman class, and add 100 students each year until a full-four year school is developed. The board members were receptive to the concept of the school, and asked staff to develop a plan for it.