SMMUSD Super Takes Santa Monica’s Side, and His Malibu Constituents Are Not Happy

Written by on October 30, 2020

Local reaction is pretty much predictable to the letter from the local school superintendent … coming out against Malibu’s plans for an independent school district.

Ben Drati sided with Santa Monica interests this week … in the now-public battle over Malibu property tax revenues.

Social media posts are blasting the superintendent …

Even longtime school boosters … not happy … not happy at all.

Malibu’s city government wants to put an end to the tax flow from Malibu to Santa Monica … a property tax bonanza that Santa Monica officials are loathe to give up.

Malibu bean counters say Santa Monica is unfairly counting on a flood of property tax revenue that will flow from Malibu to Santa Monica.

How much property tax revenue?

125 million dollars in the next year.

And an estimated 4 billion dollars over the next 50 years … from Malibu to Santa Monica.

That’s billion with a “B.”

Right now … Malibu supplies 35 percent of the tax revenue that goes to SMMUSD.

We supply 15 percent of the student count.

And Malibu just got finished sending 90 million dollars in construction bond money … over the past two decades … to Santa Monica.

The superintendent sent a letter to parents alleging that the Malibu divorce plan would be drastically unfair to kids in Santa Monica schools.

Malibu officials say the figures cited by Drati in his letter were not accurate … because they failed to include Santa Monica revenue from sales tax … redevelopment projects and other revenue streams.

The Malibu analysts say both school districts would be better off financially if they divorce ….given California’s convoluted and complex funding formulas.

Drati abandoned any pretext of neutrality … and took sides.

He said our school district is “deeply skeptical of what we’ve seen thus far” from Malibu.

One question … which we would love to be able to put to the school superintendent.

Although one would expect a fight from Santa Monica interests … Drati works for taxpayers of both cities.

Why is Drati taking the side of one group of parents taxpayers?

The school district has been unable to provide for five minutes of Drati’s time to be interviewed.

We will see if that changes.

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