Drati Appears At Santa Monica School Rally To Egg On Opposition To Malibu’s Current School Independence Plan

Written by on April 5, 2021

Santa Monica-Malibu school superintendent Ben Drati appeared at a rally last week … a rally of Santa Monica residents opposed to allowing Malibu to pull out of their school district, without incurring an enormous SM tax subsidy.

There …. the man heading public schools in both cities urged Santa Monica residents to speak before the county Board of Educaiton at its meeting … one week from Saturday … to oppose Malibu’s independence plan.

Santa Monica’s six members of the school board want to continue to extract property tax revenue from Malibu …. to prop up schools in Santa Monica .. as a price for Malibu independence.  By Malibu’s estimate, Santa Monica is asking for $4 billion over 50 years.

And Santa Monica officials are allegedly framing the debate between the cities as an effort by Malibu to create a school district here that is racially imbalanced …. fewer minorities in the new Malibu district than Santa Monica’s district.

Several yeasr ago … Malibu had worked out a financial agreeement with Santa Monica … an agreement that would have continued payments from Malibu to Santa Moncia for a set period of time.  That would have expired when the new Santa Monica district caught up on property taxes, and other fees that the urban district takes in.

Santa Monica board members had agreed to set up the commission that worked out that compromise …. but then they walked away when its own commission agreed on the financial deal.

Malibu … frsutrated with a lack of movement from Santa Monica … has taken its compromise proposal to the county … which will hold a hearing April 17th … a week from Saturfday.

Drati tells the Santa Monica newspaper that Santa Monica does not oppose separation; he wants separation to occur … but on their financial terms.

Drati justifies his campaigning against the independent Malibu district in an interview with the Santa Monica Daily Press newspaper.

He said he is protecting Malibu students.

Santa Monica Malibu schools have a personnel manual … which appears to ban district employees from appearing at political functions during work hours.

The district was technically closed and Drati could argue that he was on vacatiojn during the rally … last Wednesday.

The dsitrict policy is that its employees may not engage in political activities during assigned hours of employment.

Of course … Drati assigns he own hours … at the pleasure of the Santa Monica dominated school board.

The rally was not announced in advance by the school district to reporters in Malibu …. but Santa Monica reporters were apparently tipped off.

But the recall notice has been served to board president Jon Kean … as well as members Laurie Lieberman, Maria Leon-Vasquez, and Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein.

On the separation issue … Drati told the Santa Monica Daily Press “there’s no way I can agree to or endorse something that’s going to leave one set of students harmed versus another.

Those are all my students,” Drati said. “I need to protect the Malibu students as well as they need to protect the Santa Monica students.”

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