May 15, 2013
Encouraged by the results from a 2012 study that found that separating from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District would meet most legal requirements, a group of Malibu parents is aggressively pursuing a goal of creating an independent Malibu school district by July 2015. But many roadblocks remain, including skepticism from unions about the effects of separation on SMMUSD service workers.
A feasibility study commissioned by local group Advocates for Malibu Public Schools (AMPS) earlier this year found that an independent Malibu school district could garner sufficient enrollment and enough property tax and bond revenue to operate. Now the group is commissioning a second study to address concerns listed in the first report. Those concerns include the preservation of bond indebtedness and parcel taxes to fund schools in both the Malibu and Santa Monica communities, as well as a potentially arduous sticking point: whether unionized teachers and service workers would be guaranteed benefits, bargaining rights and job stability if the Santa Monica-Malibu union is disbanded.
AMPS President Craig Foster said the study, to be completed by the educational research company WestEd, should help give information to the unions as the process of potential separation moves forward.
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