With “social distancing” orders still in effect throughout Los Angeles County, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education gathered online once again Wednesday for its second Zoom meeting of 2020.

Through the online platform, Superintendent Ben Drati detailed how the district will adapt to the ongoing need to keep schools closed. Drati said the district had anticipated the recent announcement from state officials and SMMUSD had taken several measures to guarantee quality education.

“As a result, we have been preparing to make sure that we’re able to extend the learning all the way to the end of the year,” Drati said Wednesday. “We have acquired information about our families as to who does not have a computer device or WiFi. And as of yesterday, I believe we distributed over 780 computers to families who needed that support.”

This district has also purchased WiFi hotspots for those in need of WiFi, and Drati said that technology would be coming in the next week.

“We have to be able to deliver instruction and we think online is probably the best way to do this,” he said. “Once all of our students have computers, then we can then really work towards strengthening the delivery methods of our educational services.”

In addition to the informational update, the Board did have a decision to make Wednesday night regarding issuance and sale of 2020 Refunding General Obligation Bonds in the not to exceed $90 million.

“This is something that we have been doing all along when we see opportunities in the market to refinance our debt obligations and save our taxpayers money,” Kean said prior to a presentation that detailed how the district could save upwards of $6.469 million. “This is another example of that.”

The Board voted in favor of issuing the bonds.

Other board actions

– The district approved an Emergency Resolution that designates various construction work as “essential” so the district’s project can continue in compliance with governmental health and safety requirements.

– A resolution honoring the Week of the Young Child on April 11-17, 2020 was approved Wednesday in an effort to highlight SMMUSD’s State Preschool and Seaside Programs and call on the residents of our community to support the needs of local youth

– Adult Ed Week will be celebrated in SMMUSD from April 6-10, 202, according to a resolution approved this week. And Dolores Huerta, arguably the most prominent Mexican-American female labor leader in the United States and the co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America, will be honored as well. Her 90th birthday falls on April 10.

– The board held its annual public hearing on the Measure R Parcel Tax Plan. The plan will be adopted at the next board meeting.


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  1. The SMMUSD is 1 of the wealthiest communities (SANTA Monica city + Malibu city)- it’s a joke to think that ensuring each student has proper computers and WiFi is the answer to successful online education. My son attends SAMO High and was personally given a laptop as is every child attending that high school, for example. And he already has his own laptop at home, separate from the one given… Technology isn’t the problem: depression, anxiety, loneliness, lack of teacher and community support are the obstacles to my senior son’s successful graduation & hundreds of very ambitious kids in this community.

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