Malibu Official Calls Santa Monica Superintendent’s Divorce Nastygram ‘Deeply Offensive, Wildly Hypocritical and Completely Inappropriate’

Written by on November 2, 2020

Bad relations between Malibu and Santa Monica school officials turned even more sour today …

“Shame on you all” … said Malibu board member Craig Foster to the school superintendent …. Ben Drati … in a letter today.

Foster called Drati’s letter of last week to Malibu “equal parts deeply offensive, wildly hypocritical and completely inappropriate”.

The lone Malibu representative on the seven member Santa Monica school board accused Drati of abandoning Malibu school kids.

“You should not be spewing baseless insults and taking sides” chided Foster.

And city manager Reva Feldman accused the Santa Monica School Superintendent of misleading people and cherrypicking facts …. when he accused Malibu of trying to harm Santa Monica school kids by divorcing out of the school district.

The school district refuses to make Drati available for an interview.

The school leader whose salary is one third paid for by Malibu taxes clearly crossed a line and took a position favorable to Santa Monica … and antithetical to those of Malibu children … parents and taxpayers, local school community members say.

In his letter last week … Drati accused Malibu officials of bad faith for taking their petition for a divorce off the desk … and forwarding it to the county Board of Education.

The Santa Monica superintendent blasted Malibu’s city council for supposedly breaking off talks on the proposed separation.

Feldman’s letter points out … it was the Santa Monica board members who walked away from an agreement on a legislative solution last March.

There had been an agreement on a proposed state legislative bill that would divvy up parcel tax receipts and property taxes between the two cities … a key plank for a divorce to happen.

And after Santa Monica board officials reversed course … Malibu asked the District to clarify its position … in both April and June.

Quoting from the city letter now … “We never heard back from the District about either issue, so it seems a bit disingenuous to claim that the City ‘abandoned our collaboration’ ” Feldman wrote.

The city also expressed unhappiness with Santa Monica’s proposed property tax formula … that would see Malibu transfer up to 4 billion dollars in Malibu property tax revenue to Santa Monica … a 4 billion dollar ransom payment in exchange for local control.

Craig Fister’s letter went further.

Under Santa Monica’s rule … he wrote …  Malibu has lost 35 percent of its students in six years.

Foster says the school board chose not to remove deadly carcinogenic PCBs from Malibu schools until forced to by a federal court … because it would be too expensive for Santa Monica.

He blasts the district for failing to close Malibu schools the night of the Woolsey fire as Malibu had requested …

And he accuses the Santa Monica dominated board of continuing to cut teachers, staff and programs which might have allowed Malibu schools to fight to retain students because we’re “too expensive.”

Finally … Foster throws the bad faith charge from Drati back in his face.

Foster points out that the school board appointed a divorce committee that recommended a divorce plan… but then walked away from their compromise.

The board voted 6-1 to reject their own committee’s recommendations …and now  demands billions of dollars of Malibu property taxes be transferred to Santa Monica over 50 or more years … Foster writes.

Again … Santa Monica school district officials refuse to make Drati available for an interview.

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