Proposed Malibu Unified School District

Current Status

Los Angeles County Office of Education’s County Committee on School District Organization (County Committee) voted on September 18, 2021 to move the City's petition to separate from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) and form an independent Malibu Unified School District (MUSD) into the regular petition process. As part of the regular petition process, the County Committee held a public hearing on the City's petition on November 10, 2021.  State guidelines recommend that the LACOE County Committee review the feasibility of the petition and vote on the City’s petition within 120 days of the hearing. 

At the February 2, 2022 County Committee regular meeting, City representatives and community members spoke under public comment calling attention to the feasibility study the City submitted on January 26, 2022 and requesting that that it be carefully considered by the County Committee. Deputy City Attorney Christine Wood stated that SM-MUSD agreed to enter into meditation with the City and requested a one-month delay in the County Committee’s review of the City’s petition to allow both sides to meet with the meditator. The County Committee voted to delay its review.

City's Feasibility analysis on SM-musd reorganization

On January 26, 2022, the City submitted its Feasibility Analysis on the proposed reorganization of the SM-MUSD into two separate districts. The analysis addresses the California Department of Education's nine criteria governing reorganization and demonstrates how the City’s petition substantially meets the intent of each criteria. County Committee staff is preparing a feasibility study as well that will be presented to the County Committee at a later date.

Nov. 10 Public Hearing on City's Petition

On November 10, 2021, the County Committee held a public meeting on the City’s petition. Approximately 200 people attended the virtual hearing, including many Malibu residents who spoke in favor of the City’s petition. As part of the hearing, City representatives gave a presentation on the City's petition

Watch the November 10, 2021 Public Hearing (Passcode: F+T9u#us)

LACOE County Committee voted Sept. 18 to move the City's preliminary Petition Forward

On Saturday, September 18, the County Committee concluded the preliminary hearing on the City’s petition to separate from the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SM-MUSD) and form an independent Malibu Unified School District (MUSD). As in April, Malibu community members voiced their support of an independent MUSD. Even the presenters from the SM-MUSD agreed that separation should be achieved under financial terms that are fair and equitable for both jurisdictions. View the City's presentation from the September 18, 2021 hearing. The City submitted supplemental material to the County Committee in advance of the hearing. The full recording of the hearing can be viewed on the LACOE website (Passcode: hUzm#D%8).

After hearing presentations from the City and SM-MUSD, as well as public testimony, the County Committee voted 8 to 2 to move the City’s petition forward into the regular petition process. This will allow the City to demonstrate that its petition will substantially meet all nine of the criteria for school district organization established by the California Department of Education. 

With the vote of the County Committee, the City’s petition will now enter the County Committee’s regular petition process with prescribed timelines and evaluation criteria. In accordance with this established process, the County Committee will hold a public meeting or public meetings within 60 days, followed by a public hearing to the review the feasibility report and vote on the City’s petition. 

During this time, the City will gather information from SM-MUSD and work with County Committee staff to develop the feasibility report and demonstrate once and for all that the City’s proposal sufficiently addresses all nine of the State’s criteria.

City's Preliminary Petition to form an independent Malibu unified school district SUBMITTED to LACOE

View the City's preliminary petition for unification of a new Malibu Unified School District submitted to the Los Angeles County Office of Education's (LACOE) County Committee on School District Organization (County Committee) submitted in April 2021.

The LACOE County Committee held a public hearing on the City's petition to form an independent Malibu Unified School District (MUSD) on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (View video of the meeting). The County Committee ultimately decided to continue the hearing to Saturday, September 18, 2021. 

LACOE County Committee on School District Organization Staff's Preliminary Report on the City's Petition

On September 2, 2021, LACOE County Committee staff distributed its preliminary report on the City's petition. The County Committee staff also released a Spanish language version of the report's executive summary.  

As part of the supplemental material the City submitted to the County Committee in advance of the September 18 hearing, the City submitted clarifications to the preliminary report prepared by LACOE County Committee staff. View the City's memo providing clarifications to the LACOE County Committee staff's preliminary report.   

Proposed financial terms of separation

SM-MUSD and Malibu both agree that the District should be separated but are not aligned on the financial terms of separation. The City has proposed to allocate funding in the same way that other school districts throughout California receive funding. 

  • Watch this video to understand how property taxes are used to fund public schools in California.
  • Watch this video explaining the financial analysis in the City's proposal.

Concerns about SM-MUSD’s interpretation of the City’s proposal led to a meeting in May 2021, at which representatives from the City and SM-MUSD discussed the proposal and answered questions. Read the memo summarizing the meeting, including areas of agreement and disagreement between the two parties, and get all the facts.


On May 27, 2021, the City Attorney sent a letter via email to the SM-MUSD renewing its request for the parties to participate in a binding arbitration that would lead to a negotiated agreement on how the school district should separate. To date, the SM-MUSD has not responded.

Community Participation

Community members wishing to show their support for this effort to give Malibu residents local control over local public schools can get involved in the following ways:


The separation process is complex. This page offers accurate facts and straight answers. To receive updates directly, subscribe for e-notifications from the City and stay informed on what is happening.


The City is collecting testimonials about personal experiences with Santa Monica-Malibu public schools. Submit your testimonial and endorse the City's application to form an independent MUSD.


The following are commonly used acronyms in discussion of school district separation and formation of a new district:

  • AMPS - Advocates for Malibu Public Schools
  • LACOE - Los Angeles County Office of Education
  • MUNC - Malibu Unification Negotiations Committee
  • MUSD - proposed Malibu Unified School District
  • SM-MUSD - Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District
  • SMUSD - proposed Santa Monica Unified School District
  • SSC - School Services of California