SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) has recently approved the possible layoffs of six members of the teaching staff, as well as nearly six positions on the nursing staff. On Thursday, February 17, all seven members of the Board of Education met to discuss and ultimately determine whether they would choose to possibly eliminate approximately 11.5 positions. The final result ended in six of the board members voting to approve the layoffs, while only one member voted against it.

Some factors which played a defining roll in this decision are the decline in state funding due to the decreasing number of currently enrolled students, as well as the possible conversion of the Point Dume Marine Science Academy into a charter school. In an interview with Canyon News, Ben Allen, vice president of the SMMUSD Board of Education, stated “If the charter petitioners’ request does go through it could cause definite complications with our staffing model.”

Also, since the elimination of AB 3623 has occurred, which ensures that children with disabilities are entitled to a free and public education, the district has lost millions of dollars in funding for special education, resulting in the need to terminate staff.

In November 2010, an information sheet regarding an idea called Propositions Y and YY from the SMMUSD stated that “if passed by voters, these two propositions would generate an estimated $12 million per year in new revenue. Half of those funds, or $6 million annually, would be used to support schools, educational, and after-school programs in Santa Monica.” Despite these efforts, the district is still in major financial crisis.

According to the 2011-2012 Budget Summary, Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal to close the budget gap is intended to maintain funding for schools, fund public safety services at the local level and balance the budget. “We hope that things go well with Governor Brown’s plan and that legislature will pass budget,” says Allen. “The voters deserve to make a decision.”

It is required that the people who are listed in danger of being terminated are made aware and notified by March 15, before the following fall school semester.