The Santa Monica-Malibu school district is considering joining a different trust fund for employee retirement benefits.

Members of the local Board of Education earlier this month generally agreed with the Financial Oversight Committee’s recommendation to move funds into the California Employers’ Retiree Benefit Trust.

The school board discussed a variety of options, the extent of exposure to the stock market and the potential impacts on district coffers. And although the board did not take action Oct. 15, it’s likely that approval of a funds transfer will come soon.

The district could become a member of the CERBT plan by 2016, according to Jan Maez, the district’s chief financial officer.

Committee analysis showed that the district’s current pay-as-you-go plan is more expensive and risky over the long term than the CERBT option, officials said. Santa Monica College and the Los Angeles Unified School District have both used the latter option, officials said.

The oversight committee could eventually be tasked with assessing the performance of the retirement account annually “to see if it’s the right thing,” Maez said.

The current plan costs the district $1.1 million per year, Maez said. As of July, there was about $36.5 million in unfunded liability for existing and projected retirees.

District liability for retiree benefits should be considered when the district negotiates with its unions, Maez said.

The district provides post-employment health care benefits to employees who worked at least 10 years and who are at least 50 or 55, depending on classification. The district currently has 383 retirees receiving benefits and 1,363 active employees who are working to earn eligibility, Maez said.

PSAT participation high

SMMUSD had high rates of participation when it offered the Preliminary SAT to 10th graders earlier this month.

The district had approved funding to administer the test on a school day instead of holding it on the weekend, according to Terry Deloria, assistant superintendent of educational services.

Ninety-five percent of sophomores at Samohi and 90 percent of sophomores at Malibu High took the exam, which helps students practice for the SAT while making them eligible for merit scholarships.

“When those results come back, counselors and advisors can start to work together,” Deloria said, “and when they meet with students to plan their 11th grade year it’s another piece of data they can share with the students.”

Lyon to miss board meeting

Lyon will not be present for the Nov. 5 school board meeting, her first absence since starting as the district’s superintendent in 2011.

Lyon will be attending the Suburban School Superintendents conference in Boston, where she’ll meet with other education administrators from across the country.

She was selected this spring to join the leadership group, which was launched by superintendents from Beverly Hills and Glendale in 1964.

Maez will sit in Lyon’s seat at the upcoming board meeting.

jeff@www.smdp.com