Parents and community members concerned about the future of the currently-shuttered John Muir Elementary School and Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH) site in Ocean Park could soon have a written commitment from the District that the campus will reopen and a chance to weigh in on what it will look like. 

At the Nov. 17 Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board meeting, members are expected to vote on a resolution affirming that there “will be a neighborhood school” at the Muir/SMASH location “following necessary water intrusion repairs” and that a committee of parents and staff will be convened to discuss “programs and opportunities for the renewed campus.” 

Following the closure of the campus due to the discovery of mold and extensive water damage, some parents and community members have expressed concern and anger over the district’s handling of the situation. 

At a special meeting in June, the board decided to relocate all approximately 330 SMASH students to the Michelle and Barack Obama Center for Inquiry and Exploration, at Ocean Park Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard) and disperse John Muir’s close to 230 students between other elementary schools in the district, primarily Will Rogers Learning Community and Grant Elementary. 

Last month, a group organized in part by several School Board challenger candidates gathered outside District headquarters prior to an Oct 6. Board meeting with signs that read “save our neighborhood school.”

While SMMUSD Superintendent Ben Drati has continuously reassured parents, staff and students that there will “always be a neighborhood school” at the site, the district has provided no specific guarantee as to what that will look like and if it will take the form of what has been John Muir.

What Drati and the District have committed to is involving the community in the discussion about the future of the campus, as stated in the upcoming resolution.

According to District officials, construction work is on schedule at the site and the repair process is on track for the campus to reopen in Fall 2024.

The Nov. 17 public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Those wishing to comment virtually must submit an online form and those in person must turn in a request to speak card. The form and full agenda can be found on the SMMUSD website: https://simbli.eboardsolutions.com/SB_Meetings/ViewMeeting.aspx

grace@smdp.com

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