Overview:

The public meeting starts at 5 p.m. Thursday Dec. 8. Those wishing to comment virtually must submit an online form and those in person must turn in a request to speak card.

In a final item of business before new members are sworn in next week, the School Board is set to approve adjustments to its 2022-2023 budget at this week’s Dec. 8 meeting, including increased federal, state and local revenue as well as additional expenditures for employee pay and benefits.

The adjustments are the result of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) First Interim Report, part of the district’s annual budget review process. Twice a year, local educational agencies are required to show that they are capable of meeting their financial obligations for the near future through an in depth report. This recent report identified the need for several adjustments to SMMUSD’s adopted budget for the 2022-23 year, which was approved on June 30, 2022.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) reviewed and approved SMMUSD’s budget on Sept. 14, stating that it met all criteria, but included several notes on the future of the district’s financial situation and factors it must take into account for future planning, some of which are taken into account in the First Interim Report.

In a letter addressed to School Board President Maria Leon Vasquez, LACOE highlighted the district’s declining enrollment numbers, which are projected to further decrease in coming years by a total of approximately 300 students between 22-23 and 23-24. The letter also noted lower average daily attendance (ADA) numbers, an issue which was discussed at a previous board meeting and largely attributed to COVID 19-related factors.

“We recommend that the District continue to assess and adjust its staffing needs and facilities planning for the upcoming years based on the projected declines in enrollment and ADA,” it states.

The letter also touches on the status of several labor contract negotiations in which the district was involved that remained unsettled with the potential to impact the budget.

“According to the information provided in the District’s adopted budget, certificated and classified labor contract negotiations for 2022-23 remain unsettled and potential changes have not been calculated and incorporated into projected salary and benefit expenditures,” it read.

Assistant Superintendent of Business and Fiscal Services Melody Canady will present the report on Thursday Dec. 8 and will highlight proposed changes from the adopted budget followed by discussion time for Board Members.

The Board is also expected to approve multiple facilities improvement projects at the meeting including an amendment to the Malibu High School Campus plan to incorporate additional storm water pollution prevention measures and the purchase of equipment for districtwide technological infrastructure projects including more wireless access points and cabling replacements.

The public meeting starts at 5 p.m. Thursday Dec. 8. 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

Grace Adams

Grace Adams is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University where she studied Spanish and journalism. She holds a Master’s degree in investigative journalism from City, University of London. She has experience...