Hopes To Avoid Malibu Layoffs Smashed By SMMUSD Reality Check: 30 District Teachers May Lose Jobs In Budget Cataclysm

Written by on May 8, 2020

Malibu Elementary School parents wanted some good news last night … as they tried to save the jobs of teachers slated for layoffs …

They didn’t get it. 

Draconian budget cuts are coming to the local schools … both in Malibu and in Santa Monica.

Parent after parent … from Malibu and Santa Monica … made an emotional pleas to save the jobs of about 30 classroom teachers earmarked for layoff … to the Santa Monica Malibu school board last night.

And if Malibu parents wanted encouraging words from Malibu’s school board member … they did not get them.

Craig Foster noted that the current proposed reduction of teachers at Malibu Elementary School not even a part of the district wide budget cuts that that SMMUSD must implement. Craig Foster said it was simple math … a simple formula.


“You got Y kids and you get X teachers and that’s all that’s going on here.

“and it’s awful and the system is heartbreaking because it has no intelligence.

“We can make no mistake there’s going to have to be cuts and there there is no other place to cut than people.

“We spend 80 to 90% of our money on people.”

And that is going to hit Malibu hard.

But the school board’s president … Jon Kean … said the parents may not understand what is happening here.


“The disconnect that I am feeling tonight is, I don’t feel that many people who spoke tonight feel that the physical crisis is real within the school district.

“And to me …  I think that could be a failure of us to present the situation clearly.”

But Malibu member Craig Foster argued that the very existence of public schools in Malibu is in question. Over the past decade … there has been a 35 percent reduction in student population in Malibu …

Foster asked his fellow board members to make it a strategic priority … to try to save Malibu schools by reducing layoffs.


“We have a serious crisis in Malibu … that as we lose resources we continue lose students.

“And as we continue to lose students … the funding formula from the district means we continue to lose teachers.

“And we’re in a really frightening cycle.”

He got a sympathetic response from the six other school board members … all of them Santa Monica residents.

But no commitments.

Board member Laurie Lieberman.


“Look … this is very painful for all of us.

“Nobody … as Craig … said got on the board so they can lay off teachers.

“And believe me … watching the Santa Monica city council meeting last night … nobody ran for city council to lay off 400 people.

“This is a very very difficult time and we were challenged before the coronavirus hot.

“And now things are going to get worse and we don’t even know the magnitude yet.”

The Santa Monica Malibu School District was already broke … before the pandemic hit.

The district was already in the midst of a major budget slashing plan.

Board member Richard Tahlvadrian-Jasswein


“We’ve known that we have been deficit spending.

“We have known for some time that our reserve has been diminishing.

“We are not like the federal government – we cannot go into debt – we’re not allowed to.

“California can’t go into debt – municipalities can’t – school districts can’t.

“So while we have been deficit spending, and planning to ease ourselves out of that, we have been thrown for a major loop by the pandemic.”

The board members will meet again on Tuesday to finalize plans … to give the school superintendent authority to make the final decision on layoffs .. of about 30 teachers in Santa Monica and Malibu.

The local district is in the same Financial boat as school districts up-and-down the state.

And lest anyone think the budget situation can be solved by Sacramento … sobering news out of the state capital.

California had a $21 billion surplus three months ago.

The virus has flipped that into a gigantic $54.3 billion deficit in just 90 days.

because of the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus.

That is a stunning reversal.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has just signed an executive order to allow counties to forgive penalties for late tax payments.

Counties have always had the right to waive late penalties, fees and interest for home and small-business owners who can’t pay their property taxes because unexpected disasters,

The governors order extends that to the coronavirus disaster as well.

And surprisingly … the governors order covers not only this year’s second installment … which was due last month … but also both installments next year.

And that means California Will not only have a $54 billion dollars deficit to deal with now … but the state is all but guaranteed to have significant cash flow problems next year.

That aspect was reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:


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