As the Santa Monica-Malibu school district searches for its next superintendent, it still must approve contracts and handle other administrative issues as it pivots towards the upcoming school year.
Even with the district facing a massive shortfall in its operating budget, money from a recent bond measure continues bankrolling improvements at campuses throughout SMMUSD.
Funds from the $385-million Measure ES for school improvements, which voters approved in 2012, are supporting the consultancy hired by the district to manage the bonds.
The district has designated an additional $53,000 to its contract with Steve Massetti, who was hired to oversee bond-related projects. The allocation will cover the cost of a deputy program manager to focus on Malibu issues and other “high-priority” projects, according to a district memo. Massetti Consulting is now set to make more than $667,000 in its first year with SMMUSD.
More than $650,000 in Measure ES money is going towards a series of technological improvements at Lincoln Middle School, according to a district memo. Classrooms at the California Avenue site will be outfitted with dual screen projection systems, new speakers, teacher and student microphones, audio and video controllers and other electrical equipment.
The district also plans to spend more than $370,000 in funds from the 2012 voter-approved measure on upgrades to windows, paint, floors and doors at Roosevelt and Webster elementary schools.
Struere won the roughly $181,000 contract for Roosevelt, while dsk Architects was awarded the Webster work totaling more than $192,000. District facilities staff received four proposals by the June 7 deadline and interviewed the two winning contractors June 15.
The school board has approved a $50,000 increase to the district’s contract with Orbach Huff Suarez & Henderson LLP, a law firm that was originally slated to receive $25,000. The money is for anticipated legal fees associated with Measure ES.
More than $19,000 has been allocated for DecisionInsite, the consultant that handles enrollment projections for the district. SMMUSD enrollment is expected to decline slightly next year to about 11,000, a topic of gravity as the district faces a $10-million shortfall in its 2016-17 budget.
Chief financial officer Jan Maez has said that the district must consider school closures as a way to cut costs.
Meanwhile, the district has also agreed to pay Forecast5 Analytics up to $8,100 to provide data analysis for the budget committee. Maez said the consultant’s assistance will come in handy as the district attempts to close the aforementioned $10-million deficit.
Talking it out
Karen Orlansky will be paid an hourly rate of $150 to facilitate meetings for the committee handling SMMUSD separation negotiations.
Representatives from Santa Monica and Malibu are working to address obstacles to a possible split of the district into two distinct entities. The talks involve fiscal, legal and other considerations.
The committee’s next two meetings are scheduled for this evening at SMMUSD headquarters and July 26 at Malibu City Hall at 7 p.m.
Info and outreach
The district is renewing its contract with Maryanne Solomon for website maintenance for SMMUSD and its schools. She will be paid up to $50,000 to create a new website for Santa Monica Alternative School House while maintaining and updating the other school websites. Malibu High School’s site is managed independently, officials have said.
The school board approved a contract with a consultant to improve the district’s recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce. Debra Moore Washington will make up to $24,000 in the coming school year, with a daily rate of $800. She previously served as assistant superintendent of human resources in the district.