A decades-long issue, Malibu schools’ efforts to separate from the overarching Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is once again at the forefront of local conversations, so much so that the city will host a Zoom town hall about the topic from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28.
According to a statement from the city, the purpose of the town hall is to help residents “learn more about the steps the city has taken to support the community’s efforts to separate … and gain local control of Malibu public schools.” Attendees will be able to hear from the members of the city’s ad hoc committee on school district separation–which is made up of city council members Karen Farrer and Rick Mullen–and the city’s consultant team and receive questions to answers submitted in advance.
The road to separation has been long–and does not lead through city council, which does not have the power to remove Malibu schools from SMMUSD, though many local politicians have voiced their support for the move. District separation is considered one of the few local issues with near universal local support. Long-running negotiations with Santa Monica were broken off earlier this month when city council voted to file with the Los Angeles County Board of Education to officially split away. Wednesday’s Zoom meeting will “bring everybody up to date,” Mullen said in a phone interview.
“Malibu has 15 percent of [SMMUSD’s] students. We have one guy on the school board, which is seven people. So we have no say in anything, but we pay more than our fair share. What we want is like everything in Malibu: We want to have local control,” Mullen said.
Participants may join the Zoom meeting here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85841880852, using the meeting ID 858 4188 0852. The meeting will also be streamed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3j1GtM1vJk.