In the coming days, we expect that almost 10 of Malibu’s finest teachers will be receiving pink slips, as the school district begins its efforts to cut costs and dig out of the budget crisis it created. The question we should all have is why teachers are the first to be cut.  Shouldn’t the students and teachers be the area touched last—especially, as our schools rebound from two incredibly damaging years of fire, integration of elementary schools and administrative changes?  And as these pink slips are sent out to some of the newest and most energized teachers, the school district is looking to add administrative layers to an already bloated bureaucracy.  As a member of the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee and chairman of the Financial Oversight Committee, I have seen the recommendations, and it includes new positions for administrative jobs at Santa Monica Schools and additional support for financial services and consultants to pursue programs that are duplicative and don’t serve the Malibu community.  Yet, once again, (like the permit issue), our community is not acknowledged for our geographic, cultural and community differences.   

Also, the district should and can look at how to rate teachers for dismissal in a variety of ways, which is permitted under the current contract. Why, for example, are the teachers that for years have had district/fellow teacher and parent complaints filed against them not at the front of the line for dismissal, rather than a brand new kindergarten teacher who has brought exceptional new skills and energy to our every shrinking population of new students? We are at a tipping point in our community, with more new students going outside our community for school than using what were (and continue to be) world class schools. If we do not shift the way we do business, the way we treat our teachers and students, soon we will not have enough students to support the schools we have. And justify the $200+ million taxpayer dollars of new construction underway and planned for a new middle and high school. Parents and community leaders must band together and stop this irresponsible move toward gutting what little faith our community has in our schools and our public education system. There is too much at stake—not just for our schools, but for our entire city. Find out more. Ask your child’s teacher and reach out to the superintendent (bdrati@smmusd.org) and say, “children come first, whether in Malibu or Santa Monica.”

Seth Jacobson

Chair, SMMUSD Financial Oversight Committee

Co-Chair MHS Site Council

Member, Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee

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