Chart: Even if the County approves the split, the proposal has a long road. Courtesy image

County officials will take additional comments on the long-gestating proposal to create an independent Malibu school district at a virtual hearing on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization will host a zoom meeting on Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. No decision will be made Wednesday but the Wednesday meeting is another opportunity for residents to give their perspective on the proposal.

The Committee previously met in September and agreed with a recent staff report that said more time was needed to evaluate Malibu’s proposal to split the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.

That meeting followed the release of a preliminary report that said the proposal submitted by the City of Malibu as written, failed to meet eight of nine conditions. Proposals should meet standards for enrollment, community identity, division of property, racial equity, cost to the State, educational outcomes, infrastructure costs, property values and ongoing fiscal health. However, staff said many of the failures were due to unanswered questions that may be resolved with additional research.

Proponents of the split believe the Santa Monica centric school board does not represent Malibu and that Malibu can never gain equal footing due to the difference in population. District critics have said the District’s response to environmental concerns at Malibu schools was unacceptable and have cited ongoing trauma caused by the Woolsey fire as significant evidence the District does not understand the community.

Opponents of a split have said the current proposal simply doesn’t meet the legal criteria for separation. They have also said the proposal is unfair to Santa Monica students and would contribute to social inequities.

For more information on the upcoming hearing, visit https://www.lacoe.edu/Business-Services/News-Announcements/ID/867/Public-Hearings

editor@smdp.com