Tentative agreement finally reached in Malibu Schools separation

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District administration office in Santa Monica, California. Photo by Samantha Bravo.

Malibu Unified School District could happen as soon as 2024 

The Malibu City Council has approved a term sheet regarding the separation of Malibu from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD). 

After years of negotiations to disentangle the complicated and messy financial implications a separation would entail, SMMUSD finally agreed on a framework and non-binding timeline Oct. 24. On Oct. 28, the Malibu City Council met in a closed-door session and accepted a tentative agreement with a 3-0 vote with Bruce Silverstein abstaining and Steve Uhring absent. 

Even though this appears to be a milestone in what’s called Malibu schools’ “unification,” according to the Malibu City Attorney, there are three important agreements that remain to be negotiated: a Tax Sharing Revenue Agreement, an Operational Agreement, and a Joint Powers Agreement. 

Councilmember Silverstein wrote to The Malibu Times, “In other words, all of the things that the parties have failed to negotiate and agree upon for however many years they have been at it.” If the terms are agreed upon in a proposed timeframe, the earliest a Malibu School District could be formed would be July 1, 2024. 

With the announcement of this latest proposed agreement coming right before a school board election, outgoing SMMUSD Board of Education member Craig Foster told TMT, “Nothing about this agreement changes our city’s support for Stacy Rouse, Angela DiGaetano, Esther Hickman, and Miles Warner in the Nov. 8 School Board election. If anything, electing Stacy Rouse et al. is MORE important than ever to ensure the smooth execution of this agreement and better governance in the meantime.”

See the next issue of The Malibu Times, on Nov. 3, for the full story. 

Article updated at 4:27 p.m. on Oct. 27, 2022