Superintendent Requests Postponement of District Separation Discussion

Dr. Ben Drati

Thursday, April 20, was initially believed to be a make-or-break point in the forward progress on Malibu’s fight for an independent school district, but a last-minute health issue for Malibu’s representative on the school board has the processes temporarily on hold. 

At just after 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, April 19, fewer than 24 hours before the scheduled school board hearing on the report completed by the Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District spokespeople sent out a message from Superintendent Ben Drati requesting a postponement of the hearing.

Below is the message in full:

SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati is planning to recommend postponement of the planned Board of Education agenda item on Malibu Unification set for discussion at the April 20, 2017 regular board meeting. This recommendation is due to board member Craig Foster unable to attend due to a health issue and new information received by the Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee that needs to be reviewed.

Board members in attendance will have to vote on this recommendation. The new date has not yet been set.

Foster’s “health issue” described in the message was a detached left retina, he confirmed. Foster is the only representative from Malibu elected to the seven-member board and a longtime advocate of an independent Malibu district.

“My left retina detached [Tuesday] and, while I expect a full recovery having had two days on intense medical focus and treatment, I will be sidelined for tomorrow’s board meeting,” Foster wrote in an email on Wednesday night. 

Though both Drati’s message and Foster’s email to The Malibu Times expressed confidence the discussion item would be shelved for a later date, the school board members in attendance will have to officially vote on the suggested move during the meeting on Thursday evening.

“They did not want to go forward [without] me,” Foster described in his message.

No further details were available as to the “new information received by the Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee” by the time this story was published.