Proponents Are Preparing to Pursue Next Step in Complicated Procedure Known as ‘Unification.’
by Suzanne Guldimann, January 31, 2013
An independent study of the feasibility of breaking away from the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District to form a separate Malibu school district has been finalized.
The report, prepared by education consultants West-Ed and commissioned and funded by Advocates for Malibu Schools, finds that, “based on the analysis of data, interviews, and re view of information, most of the state criteria for reorganization are met. There are a few criteria for which specific conditions must be addressed before the criteria can be considered to be met.”
Proponents of the plan need to show that a separate district will meet the nine criteria required by the state Education Code, including adequate enrollment; community identity; equitable property and facilities division; non-promotion of racial/ethnic discrimination or segregation; no increase in state costs; no disruption of educational programs or performance; no increase in school housing costs; not designed to increase property values; and no substantial negative impact on district fiscal management or status, according to the report.
The issue of declining enrollment is also addressed in the report: “The state expects that reorganizations will not result in districts it deems too small to be efficient,” the report states.
“The standard set for unified school district enrollment is that they must at least have 1501 students or more. The enrollment of students living within the attendance boundaries of Malibu is estimated to be approximately 2037 and therefore would be sufficient to meet the standard.
“For the purpose of this analysis, it is presumed that the proposed Malibu Unified School District's attendance area will include the City of Malibu plus the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County that are currently included in the District's boundaries.
According to the report, “based on 2011-12 unaudited actuals, the financial condition of the impacted school districts appears to be financially feasible. It is important to note that this analysis assumes that the parcel tax proceeds are split based on parcel counts.”
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