Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District has been grappling with the issue of equitable private fundraising for local schools for years, and will likely continue to grapple with it for some time to come. The issue of Districtwide Fundraising, the process of centralizing contributions to pay for specific services, in SMMUSD’s case personnel and programs, comes to a head tonight at a special Board of Education meeting at 6pm, which has been moved to the auditorium at Lincoln Middle School, 1501 California Avenue. Superintendent Sandra Lyon stated in a notification about the meeting sent out last week to parents and community members, “Please note that the meeting will be held at Lincoln Middle School, which is a larger venue than the district office, to accommodate members of the public who wish to observe and/or make public comments during the meeting”.
The issue has attracted a lot of attention. This Sunday it was featured in a Los Angeles Times editorial titled Public Schools, Private Donations. The Santa Monica Daily Press has provided thoughtful coverage, include this recent article. Frank Gruber offers his opinion in the Lookout News. And the story even went national, going a little viral after first hitting Slate Magazine earlier this month.
On November 7th, Community for Excellent Public Schools’ Steering Committee unanimously approved the following statement, “Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS) supports the proposed revision of SMMUSD Board Policy 3290 concerning Acceptance of Gifts, with the added recommendation that the policy also include a well-defined Memorandum of Understanding between SMMUSD and the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation to address governance, accountability and transparency.