MALIBU—The push for school chartering in Malibu received a fervent endorsement from the Malibu Film Society on Sunday, January 23, during a select screening.  The chosen film, “Waiting for Superman,” is an indictment of the public school system, its problems and its alleged failure of students.

Canyon News has previously covered the attempt of the Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School (PDMSS) to charter with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, and also the subsequent PDMSS appeal to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).  The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District rejected the PDMSS charter petition on financial grounds.

“There were several areas that were a concern in the document that was presented.  For example, attendance projections were inflated, unrealistic, and the document didn’t describe recruitment adequately”¦The petition relies heavily on community support, depending almost entirely on donations,” said a source at the district office to Canyon News.

The LACOE was set to hear the PDMSS appeal as of January 18.

PDMSS charter-proponents comprised the majority of attendants at the Malibu Film Society screening, and also served as hosts, prefacing the contents of the film with calls to action and plugs for PDMSS charter proposals.

“This will provide autonomy to be innovative, ability to attract and maintain the best teachers, local control to make quick and efficient changes that benefit your unique school and lower overhead to make the most of budget constraints,” said Robyn Ross, the lead co-petitioner for PDMSS charter status, before the film began. “Local control has made charters a very desirable option.”

The film, “Waiting for Superman,” addresses the shortcomings of public schools, specifically the lack of support for under-achieving students.

Tim Cuneo, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District president and vocal opponent of PDMSS chartering, publicly denounced the screening. “The legislation is very clear that the idea of charters is to provide support for those schools that are failing, not for those schools that are successful like Point Dume,” Cuneo said in an interview Monday. “If we have failing schools in this district we would be addressing those and make sure those students have the support they needed.”

Canyon News will continue to update readers on the progress of the PDMSS charter debate.