SMMUSD HDQTRS — The school board last week voted to transfer $800,000 in the school district’s reserve to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation after the nonprofit came up short in the first year of the controversial districtwide fundraising campaign.

“It is essential for the program to be funded fully … so I fully support the superintendent’s recommendation to dip into the board’s discretionary money,” said board member Jose Escarce.

According to figures released by the Ed Foundation, Malibu’s four public schools generated the least amount of donations to the campaign among the district’s 16 schools.

The fundraising campaign, called the Vision of Student Success (VSS) program, prohibits parents from donating money directly to individual schools for support staff and additional programs, instead making the Ed Foundation the sole fundraising vehicle for the district.

The model met resistance in Malibu, where many parents believed the program would essentially transfer money from Malibu schools to Santa Monica schools. Faced with a lofty $4 million goal, the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) ended its 2013-14 drive with $3.2 million in donations.

Karen Farrer, who sits on the leadership board for Advocates of Malibu Public Schools and has children attending Malibu schools, said she remains concerned some schools may lose teaching aides even if the full $4 million is spread throughout the district.

“Please do not put into effect a policy that can and will cause monumental changes at schools that have worked so many years to build these programs,” Farrer said.

Superintendent Sandra Lyon admitted some schools might see some staff shake-ups, but it was too early to determine.

“There are some schools that have staffing that is above and beyond what the $4 million covers,” Lyon said. “We’re still uncovering what that will be. Allocation of instructional assistants may change for some [schools] that have had a very rich staffing there.”


This story first appeared in The Malibu Times.

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