We identify and support issues that will support education and public schools in Santa Monica and Malibu.
Here's some things we're currently focused on:
A SMMUSD split must be equitable for Santa Monica and Malibu Students and Schools.
We support the continuation of existing local funding to sustain the high quality of the public education provided by SMMUSD.
CEPS endorses candidates and ballot measures that align with our mission.
CEPS recognizes and opposes systemic oppression that has lead to disparities and exclusion of many people based on race, religion, ability, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age and gender.
CEPS supports the existing system of at-large elections for both the Santa Monica City Council and SMMUSD.
School District Split
Santa Monica and Malibu have been trying to find an amicable split into 2 separate school districts for over 20 years. While the school board has agreed, the issue that remains is how to equitably split operational funding so that Santa Monica is no worse off than if the split hadn’t occurred. This has been the sticking point for several years. CEPS fully supports the school district’s position that no child in Santa Monica should receive any less in a Santa Monica only district, than they would have in SMMUSD and has organized speakers and letter writing campaigns for many years in this regard. Some of our members have participated in the work done to calculate the financial impact of the split into two districts.
The City of Malibu filed a petition with Los Angeles County of Education’s Unification Committee trying to force Los Angeles County of Education’s hand into pushing this matter up the chain. Currently the two sides (the City of Malibu and the SMMUSD Board of Education) are in negotiations regarding this very point. Los Angeles County of Education is holding off any additional decisions regarding the split pending the outcome of these negotiations.
Over the years, CEPS has worked tirelessly to successfully advocate for local school funding to augment the basic support provided by the state of California. Consequently, our kids now benefit from an additional $38,000,000 annually allocated to the school district.
Some of these annual funds are locked in through binding voter approval. However, other monies are renewable at regular intervals by the District and the City of Santa Monica. CEPS recently lobbied successfully for the renewal of the facilities contract with the City, providing $10,000,000 per year. We will be vigilant and proactive as the contracts for the disbursement of sales and use taxes to the District are due for renewal in the future.
CEPS Endorsements for 2022 Election include:
1. Rick Zbur for Assemblymember in California's 51st Assembly District:
2. California Proposition 28, which will allocate $1B for arts and music to schools statewide without raising taxes: https://voteartsandmusic.org
3. The Santa Monica College bond measure to fund facilities and tech upgrades and housing for low-income students: https://tinyurl.com/SMCBond2022
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We wholly support efforts by SMMUSD to address issues that result from historic injustice: lack of representation of the different cultures, achievement/engagement gap, the persistent disparity in academic performance between some minority and disadvantaged students and their white counterparts. While we are pleased that the district has added the American Culture and Ethnic Studies (ACES) requirement for graduation from high school, we believe more can be done to offer ACES in more than one high school class -- the school board's approval of ACES in 2018 noted that there would be multiple classes offered to fulfill the requirement. LIkewise, additional efforts should be made in elementary and middle schools to include the many cultures and viewpoints which comprise the American experience. We would encourage SMMUSD to do more to hire teachers that reflect the diversity of the students attending our schools.
CEPS supports the existing system of at-large elections for both the Santa Monica City Council and the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education and opposes changing to a system of electing councilmembers and school board members in geographic districts.
At-large elections provide each voter with seven votes each for City Council and Board of Education in a four-year cycle; in contrast, district elections would limit each voter to a single vote only every four years for both City Council and school board.
At-large elections ensure councilmembers and school board members consider the needs of the entire community and not only a small geographic section of the community.
At-large elections have successfully ensured a racially diverse City Council and Board of Education.
At-large elections have consistently resulted in strong, pro-education City Council and Board of Education members.
In support of CEPS’ position on at-large elections, CEPS has filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court (in concert with The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica, the Alliance of Santa Monica Latino and Black Voters, and the Human Relations Council Santa Monica Bay Area) supporting the City of Santa Monica’s position that at-large City Council elections do not violate the California Voting Rights Act. In addition, CEPS has filed opposition to the pending Senate Bill 442 petition filed with the Los Angeles County Committee on School District Organization earlier this year which would require district elections for the SMMUSD Board of Education.