The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education is considering State grant money to support textbook purchases for high school students dual enrolled in classes at Santa Monica College.

The Board discussed uses for the State’s College Readiness Block Grant (CRBG) at their April 20 meeting and decided the money will be used to supplement costs for high school students getting a jump on a college education.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Terry Deloria presented the basic information about the Grant to the Board, explaining the CRBG is a two-step process that requires the board to publicly discuss how the money will be spent and then approve the spending plan at a second meeting.

According to Deloria, this is a simple and straightforward one time funding source.

The CRBG was established to provide high school students additional support and increase enrollment numbers at institutions of higher education. The money should be used to give students a greater chance of completing an undergraduate degree within four years.

At the meeting, staff said secondary students who successfully complete a college course while enrolled in high school are more likely to enroll in and graduate from a four-year college or university.

“One of SMMUSD LCAP goals is all students graduate prepared for college and careers, so the one time funding can really help us to that end,” said Deloria.

The goal is to increase the number of students enrolling in dual enrollment courses.

“Currently we have about 21 percent of our students in the high schools who enroll and complete dual enrollment classes through SMC, which is a pretty high number,” said Deloria.

Staff said SMMUSD continues to have a productive and successful partnership with the Santa Monica College (SMC) where many SMMUSD students have benefited from enrollment in SMC courses.

Many of SMC’s fees are waived for high school students but SMMUSD still provides funding for some costs such as college textbooks.

Currently, dual enrollment textbooks are funded by the District’s existing Educational Services textbook budget and without the grant funding, dual enrollment textbooks will have to come out of the existing textbook budget in 2018-19.

If the grant is fully funded by the State, SMMUSD will receive $157,532. Staff is recommending that all of the CRBG funding be reserved to fund dual enrollment textbooks for students in grade 9-12 and the funding must be spent by June, 2019.

The board voiced initial support for the proposal but expressed concern over funding books once the one-time grant funds expire.

Discussion of the grant funding will continue at the Board’s May 4 meeting.