County Financial Analysis of SMMUSD Divorce Paints Dismal Picture For Malibu Independence

Written by on September 5, 2021

A county analysis of tax revenue says giving Malibu an independent school district would “have a substantial negative effect on the fiscal health of the remaining Santa Monica USD.”
That is not a surprise, as the working theory in Malibu has been that Malibu taxpayers would have to send millions of dollars to Santa Monica over at least 10 years.
The county’s new financial analysis, released late Friday, does not make recommendations on how to solve the financial issues. Santa Monica has asked for a 50-year deal that Malibu officials warn could transfer $4 billion in property tax revenue from Malibu to Santa Monica over those five decades.
The financial report says allowing Malibu independence “would result in significant revenue loss for the remaining district both in terms of one-time losses from the division of assets as well ongoing losses in per-ADA funding.
“The impact would be disproportionate given the number of students that would remain within the district as compared to the number of students that would become part of the proposed Malibu USD.
“The funding disparities between the two districts would be stark, and the losses that would be experienced by the remaining Santa Monica USD would undoubtedly affect the educational programs currently being offered to students within the current Santa Monica-Malibu USD,” the report concludes.
The analysis does not offer any financial formula to make Santa Monica whole, apparently leaving that up to the LACOE subcommittee at its Sept. 18 meeting.
The analysis comes as Malibu parents are infuriated by an SMMUSD video, aimed at ginning up opposition to the divorce.
Malibu officials said they would file a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission over the video, which they claim violates state laws against using tax money to influence elections.
The US and state constitutions also prohibit using tax money to influence elections, calling that a violation of First Amendment prohibitions against compelled speech.
The video cost taxpayers $8,370, KBUU news learned last week.

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