On Nov. 24, 2020, The Malibu Times received a districtwide email on behalf of SMMUSD Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati with a list of 10 FAQs (frequently asked questions) and answers about the school district separation. The FAQs are also posted on SMMUSD’s website.
The choice of questions asked, as well as many of the answers, appeared to be talking points in favor of Santa Monica’s position of not splitting the district. There did not appear to be any attempt by the Santa Monica-based SMMUSD to speak to anyone in Malibu for input on the FAQs. In order to provide balance, The Malibu Times presented those same 10 questions to Malibu’s group of representatives. Below is a selection of the original school district FAQs, placed alongside the responses to those same questions written/approved by Malibu’s representatives.
Malibu’s consultants and representatives on this project are: Christine Wood of Best Best & Krieger Law, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Malibu; LaTanya KirkCarter, Kirk Carter & Associates, who provides the financial model for reorganization; Cathy Dominico, Capitol Public Finance Group, managing partner, strategic consulting, tax demographe; Terri Ryland, Ryland School Business Consulting, founder and president; Reva Feldman, Malibu city manager; and Karen Farrer, Malibu City Council member.