Proposed Malibu Unified School District

Current Status

Los Angeles County Office of Education’s County Committee on School District Organization (County Committee) has scheduled a virtual public 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) for Wednesday, November 10, 2021. The City will post the meeting information as soon as it is available.

LACOE County Committee votes 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 LACOE hearing. The City submitted supplemental material to the County Committee in advance of the hearing. View the City's supplemental material. 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 and 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. 

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