THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT AND THE JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY LIKES TO TAKE THE GLOVES OFF AND FIGHT PARENTS AND STUDENTS IN COURT WITHOUT REGARD TO THE MERITS OF THE CASE

According to this article, the Joint Powers Authority (JPA) will authorize or require a school district to fight a case in Court without regard to the merits of the case and do so to dissuade other Plaintiffs from bringing claims!
Case Number:  BC372092
DANIELLE BAEZ VS BURBANK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL
See: http://www.callawyer.com/2015/10/burbank-unified-school-district-lawsuit/
     The Burbank School District fought for 7 years and ultimately lost at jury trial and must pay a combined $5.5 million dollars award and attorneys fees.
     The October 2015 California Lawyers magazine talks about the school districts goal of making litigation so costly that it discourages OTHERS from trying the same thing in the future and that the JPA (Joint Powers Association) that administers school district liability policies fully supports this “take the gloves off type of fighting”
      A report by School Services of California, Inc., a Sacramento-based consulting firm with a clientele of public school agencies, found that in three school years, 1995–96 through 1997–98, some 650 California districts spent about $250 million on tort-liability expenses that “could have gone to essential education services.” The report, prepared for the American Tort Reform Association, noted, “Especially in the big-ticket lawsuits, settlement amounts are often overshadowed by attorney costs.” See Report here: schoolreport    
“THE JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY LIKES TO TAKE THE GLOVES OFF AND FIGHT”
“IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE MERITS OF THE CASE MAY BE”

     John C. Manly, a veteran sexual-abuse litigator at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi in Irvine, says defending cases tooth and nail often has the blessing of the joint powers authorities (JPAs) that administer school district liability policies. “They like to take the gloves off and fight,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what the merits of the case may be.”

Manly believes many would-be plaintiffs have gotten the message. “If you’re a plaintiffs lawyer,” he says, “you know it’s going to cost you $250,000 to $500,000—and three to four years, if not more time—to get a real recovery. [The JPAs] know 95 percent or more of plaintiffs lawyers won’t take these cases.”

David M. Ring, of Taylor & Ring in Los Angeles, adds: “A lot of defendants, including school districts, will fight aggressively in hopes of dissuading the [plaintiff’s] lawyer from bringing another case against the same district down the road. It’s absolutely a tactic they use.”

PAST AND PRESENT SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT LITIGATION:
The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District has conducted themselves in the exact same way as the Burbank Unified School District has, and does so with the blessing of the Joint Powers Authority (JPA)
1. America Unites for Kids & PEER vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:15-cv-02124-PA-AJW

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District is Ordered to Stand Trial on May 17, 2016 for Failure to Protect Students & Teachers from Toxic Levels of PCBs

For details, go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/america-unites-for-kids-peer-v-sandra-lyon-et-al-re-the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-is-ordered-to-stand-trial-on-may-17-2016-for-failure-to-protect-students-teachers-fro/

See link to America Unites for Kids and PEER’s First Amended Complaint against the SMMUSD:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/document-52.pdf

See link to the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Most Recent List of Expenditures relating to the Toxic Substances Control Act Violation Lawsuit (TSCA):

Over $13,000,000 spent so far and still rising!

http://malibuunites.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Purchase-Orders-Approved-at-Board-Meetings2.pdf

Purchase-Orders-Approved-at-Board-Meetings2

Malibu High School Teacher’s Plea to the SMMUSD’s Board of Education for PCB-free Classrooms

See Video of Malibu High School Teacher’s Plea to the SMMUSD’s Board of Education:

See YouTube Video here:

https://youtu.be/UYn6RZA0l9k

Declaration of renowned PCB Expert Dr. David Carpenter confirming that PCBs at Malibu High School greatly exceed legal limits under the TSCA, and inhalation of PCB vapors constitutes a continuous hazard to teachers and students:

See pdf copy of Dr. David Carpenter’s Declaration:

DECLARATION OF RENOWNED PCB EXPERT DR. DAVID CARPENTER

CURRENT HEALTH ISSUES WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS AT MALIBU SCHOOLS
 
  • 6 teachers with thyroid cancer;
  • 4 alumni  (28-year-old)with thyroid cancer;
  • 1 current student with thyroid disease, possible thyroid cancer
  • 25 teachers with thyroid disease (including 14 of 30 Malibu Middle School teachers);
  • 10 alumni in their 20s with thyroid disease;
  • 1 alumni (22-year-old) with environmentally induced melanoma;
  • 2 current teachers with environmentally induced melanoma;
  • 1 teacher hospitalized from an environmentally-induced rash;
  • 1 current student with an environmentally-induced rash lasting several months
  • innumerable cases of headaches; persistent rashes; daily migraines; infertility issues; hair loss; immune issues; respiratory issues; and diabetes.
See America Unites for Kids October 29, 2015 letter to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon concerning new PCB test results showing widespread PCB contamination at Malibu High School:

See Congressman Ted Lieu’s letter to Jennifer DeNicola regarding Malibu High School’s latest PCB Test Results being sent to EPA’s Administrator Gina McCarthy:

10_29_15_Letter_from_Congressman_Lieu_to_America_Unites

See New PCB Test Results from Malibu High School:

See news articles concerning the SMMUSD Pressing Vandalism and Trespassing Charges Against the Parent who Proved that the Malibu Schools are Contaminated with Toxic Cancer Causing PCBs:

http://westsidetoday.com/2015/11/05/santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-want-sheriffs-to-investigate-parent-activists/#comment-123815

http://www.wnd.com/2015/11/mom-who-tested-classroom-for-carcinogens-to-be-charged/

http://fusion.net/story/227803/malibu-schools-pcb-thyroid-cancer/

http://laist.com/2015/11/05/malibu_pcb_case.php

In a bizarre twist, public school officials have filed a police report against a Malibu parent who allegedly took samples of window caulking from school buildings to test for toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), according to documents released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is also actively looking for teachers and other community members who may be involved, even as two elected board members have condemned the effort.

Two elected members of the SMMUSD have condemned the criminal complaint, as have several staff members, including the school librarian who decried the “administration’s hounding of staff members for statements and the threat of prosecution.” (See attached emails from Board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre) (See attached email from School Librarian Suzanne Moscoso)

See School Board Member emails here:

11_4_15_SMMUSD_board_members_protest

See School Librarian’s email here:

11_4_15_Librarian response

For two years Malibu Middle and High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School have been in an uproar as more than 30 Malibu teachers and alumni have come forward with serious health issues known to be related to PCB exposure.

District Attorney Will not Pursue Charges for Alleged MHS Vandalism

Allegations are dead in the water for school district

For details, go to:

http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_b0f6aaea-9325-11e5-8f3e-ef8159f51eb2.html

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to silence their critics and limit their exposure to liability from a toxic tort complaint, rather than to just simply comply with the TSCA, and protect its students and teachers from this continuing harm.

The person or persons responsible for the alleged violations are Sandra Lyon and Jan Maez, officials of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District; Oscar de la Torre, Joe Escarce, Maria Leon-Vazquez, Laurie Liebermann, Ralph Mechur, Nimish Patel, Craig Foster, and Richard Tavildaran-Jesswein, current members of the SMMUSD Board of Education.

America Unites for Kids Prevails Against the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District As The Court Orders the School District to Remove ALL PCBS

The Honorable Judge Percy Anderson ruled that Malibu High School & Juan Cabrillo Elementary have illegal levels of PCBs.

The court found them in violation of Federal Law: Toxic Substance Control Act

The court ordered the district to remove all PCBs by 2019.

This ruling confirms how unconscionable the School District has been to spend $13 million to avoid complying with federal law

See Court Order here:

AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS vs. SMMUSD RE COURT GRANTS INJUNCTIVE RELIEF TO PLAINTIFF 2 15 cv 02124 PA-AJW

POINTS: FROM JUDGE PERCY ANDERSON:

“The Court concludes, based on common sense, that it is highly likely that the same products were used to construct each of the buildings on the Malibu Campus. As a result, for the buildings completed at the Malibu Campus prior to 1979, and at which certain locations have been tested and found to contain caulk with PCBs in excess of 50 ppm, it is more likely than not that caulk containing PCBs in excess of 50 ppm remain in “use” at the Malibu Campus in areas that have not been tested or repaired.”

“Although Defendants have removed and replaced the caulk from the specific areas and rooms identified in their testing as exceeding the 50 ppm threshold, and some other areas may have had doors and windows repaired or replaced after 1979, there is no evidence that all of the caulk in the buildings at the Malibu Campus constructed prior to 1979 has been tested or removed.”

JUDGE PERCY ANDERSON ORDERED THAT:

“Defendants are hereby permanently enjoined from using any office, classroom, or other structure at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School (‘JCES’) and Malibu Middle and High School (‘MHS’) (collectively the ‘Malibu Campus’) constructed prior to 1979 in which students, teachers, administrators, or staff are regularly present after December 31, 2019, unless all window and door systems and surrounding caulk at any such location has been replaced.”

2. Student & Parents vs. Wendy Wax Gellis & Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

This lawsuit alleges that the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis are criminally liable for violations of California Penal Code § 11166 and 11172(a) et seq. for filing a knowingly false child abuse report with child services and the police.

Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by Filing False Claims of Child Abuse with the Department of Children & Family Services.

See link to News Article here:http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

The lawsuit alleges that an example of retaliatory action by the SMMUSD and Wendy Wax Gellis taken against this family includes knowingly and maliciously filing a false child rape and domestic violence allegation with the local law enforcement and with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) in retaliation for parent’s exercise of their federally protected right to bring claims against the SMMUSD before the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

The family alleges that on December 18, 2013, SMMUSD employee named Wendy Wax Gellis made a knowingly false referral to the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), and to local law enforcement that parent raped her own son. The allegations were determined by all investigating agencies to be unfounded.

For details of this pending Federal lawsuit go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/santa-monica-dispatch-article-concerning-smmusds-retaliatory-acts-against-students-and-parents-by-filing-false-claims-of-child-abuse-with-the-department-of-children-family-services/

3. DREW BALAGUER, REINA ROBERTS, and MARK BALAGUER v. SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT,

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

Case No.: 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW

THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS CREATED A TWO-TRACK EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM THAT EXCLUDES MANY STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES FROM MATRICULATING INTO A FOUR YEAR COLLEGE PROGRAM

For details, go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/10/19/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-has-created-a-two-track-educational-system-that-excludes-many-students-with-disabilities-from-completing-courses-offering-a-to-g-grading-thus-precludin/

See Complaint here: document-142

See Plaintiffs’ Motion To Compel Further Responses here: document-143

“Plaintiffs ask this court to issue an order (3) compelling (a) Dr. Woolverton to respond to questions raised about documents produced by the Defendant which she previously refused to (upon the advice of counsel) to answer of the grounds that such questions sought information protected by attorney-client privilege; and (b) Ms. Keleher to respond to similar questions which she also refused to answer upon the advice of counsel.


                        4.Student vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665 & District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct An IEP Meeting Without the Parents’ Presence

For details of this other SMMUSD litigation, go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/student-vs-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-re-the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-did-not-act-reasonably-when-it-chose-to-conduct-an-iep-meeting-without-pa/

*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.

See June 29, 2015 Board of Education Minutes: Re: Attorney’s Fee Settlement in the amount of $215,000

http://www.smmusd.org/brd1415/min062915_spmtg.pdf

              5. Severe Bullying at Malibu High School and Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Ratification of the Conduct:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2014/02/victim-becomes-villain-in-malibu-controversy/

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/severe-bullying-at-malibu-high-school-the-smmusds-ratification-of-the-conduct/

IMAG0391Student vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) et al

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT COMPLAINT

SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

LIST THE FULL NAME AND JOB TITLE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AT SMMUSD (AND/OR MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL) RESPONSIBLE AMENDING/REVERSING CANCELING AND OR OTHERWISE MODIFYING THE DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION OF DEFENDANT SEBASTIAN SARTORIUS ISSUED IN OR AROUND NOVEMBER 2012.

RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

SANDRA LYON, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon should be fired for not adequately protecting the School District’s students and teachers.

For details, go to:

ITS TIME TO FIRE SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/07/04/it-is-time-to-fire-the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-districts-superintendent-sandra-lyon/

6. SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S (SMMUSD) IRRESPONSIBILITY ENDANGERS OUR CHILDREN

See link: http://chwe.net/safety/failures.html

See pdf attachment:

SMMUSD IRRESPONSIBILITY ENDANGERS OUR CHILDREN

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District demonstrates a consistent pattern of evading responsibility for child safety. The SMMUSD has refused to answer questions about teachers who have sexually abused and sexually harassed children, failed to inform parents when their children have been victims of potentially criminal harassment, destroyed evidence concerning harassment of children, asked parents to destroy emails and not talk to each other about teacher sexual harassment of children, removed evidence of child abuse from its own records, impugned the testimony of its own employees who report child abuse, ordered teacher’s aides to not talk to parents, tried to intimidate students and parents, tried to mislead parents about their legal rights, publicly misrepresented its own legal obligations, and violated California state law.

1. In November 2011, the parents of four children accused Jennifer Becker, Juan Cabrillo Elementary special education teacher, of abusing their children. Four teacher’s aides witnessed these actions and the case is being investigated by the Los Angeles County Special Victims Bureau. SMMUSD administrators responded to only one of the many reported incidents and ignored the others. Sara Woolverton, SMMUSD special education director, told parents that the four teacher’s aides are not credible because they are committing a “mutiny.” http://chwe.net/safety/becker/

2. In May 2011, two Santa Monica HS students on the wrestling team locked an African American teammate to a locker, shouting “Slave for sale” and displaying a noose. They are currently being investigated on hate crime charges. Santa Monica HS administrators failed to inform the victim’s mother of the incident, tried to intimidate the victim by telling him that the wrestling program might be canceled, and destroyed cell phone pictures taken by other students of the noose. http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2011/06/smmusd-said-to-deny-civil-rights-of-students/

3. Ari Marken, Santa Monica HS teacher, sexually harassed a thirteen-­‐year-­‐old girl in December 2008. The SMMUSD has refused to release any information about Mr. Marken’s violation, in violation of California state law, and illegally delayed its response in order to allow Mr. Marken to try to stop or further delay the release of this information. http://chwe.net/safety/marken/

4. Thomas Beltran, former Lincoln MS teacher, was convicted in December 2008 of sexually molesting eleven Lincoln students over a period of more than ten years. However, a student complained about Mr. Beltran two years earlier, in March 2006. Even though this March 2006 complaint was serious enough to deserve a police investigation, the SMMUSD removed all records of this complaint and claimed complete ignorance after Mr. Beltran was arrested. The SMMUSD has refused to answer any questions about its handling of the March 2006 complaint. http://chwe.net/safety/beltran/

5. Carl Hammer, former Santa Monica HS band director, was convicted of a felony involving a fourteen-­‐year-­‐old girl in June 2005. After he was fired from his position in the SMMUSD, he continued to be paid by the Santa Monica HS band program to write musical arrangements for the band, using money from parent donations, with the full knowledge of SMMUSD administrators. No SMMUSD staff member has ever taken responsibility for re-­‐hiring Dr. Hammer after his conviction. http://chwe.net/safety/hammer/

6. Mike Hearn, former Santa Monica HS assistant coach, was convicted in October 2005 on nine sex-­‐related felony charges involving two 15-­‐year-­‐old Santa Monica HS students and another 17-­‐year-­‐old girl. http://chwe.net/safety/hearn/smdp100605a.pdf

On May 21, 2008, ten parents wrote a letter to SMMUSD Supt. Dianne Talarico asking 14 questions about the SMMUSD’s handling of the case of Lincoln MS teacher Thomas Beltran, who was later convicted of sexually molesting eleven Lincoln students over a period of more than ten years. On May 30, 2008, Supt. Talarico responded saying that “The active investigation status of this case prohibits the district from responding to many of your questions at this time.” We never received a further response. On September 2, 2010, long after the criminal case against Mr. Beltran was resolved, I wrote to Superintendent Tim Cuneo asking for the district to now answer our questions. Supt. Cuneo never responded. http://chwe.net/safety/beltran/chwe20080521.pdf

On December 7, 2010, over 150 SMMUSD parents wrote a letter to Supt. Tim Cuneo and Santa Monica HS principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza asking for information about Mr. Ari Marken, a Santa Monica HS teacher who was found by the SMMUSD to have sexually harassed a thirteen-year-old ninth grade girl in one of his geometry classes. Supt. Cuneo and Dr. Pedroza did not respond. (http://chwe.net/safety/marken/). The parents of the girl have never been given any information about the results of the SMMUSD investigation apart from this letter saying that Mr. Marken violated SMMUSD policy 5145.7. However on January 24, 2012, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, Second Appellate District, ruled  that “Marken occupies a position of trust and responsibility as a classroom teacher, and the public has a legitimate interest in knowing whether and how the District enforces its sexual harassment policy. . . . the public’s interest in disclosure of this information—the public’s right to know—outweighs Marken’s privacy interest in shielding the information from disclosure.” See http://chwe.net/safety/marken/marken.pdf

The SMMUSD has destroyed evidence concerning harassment of children

Several Santa Monica HS students took cell phone pictures of the noose in the wrestling team practice room. These pictures were essential evidence, as the display of a noose to terrorize another person is a specific crime under California Penal Code section 11411. However, without reporting the matter to the police, Santa Monica HS administrators confiscated students’ phones and destroyed the pictures. http://chwe.net/safety/wrestling/smdp20110617.pdf

The SMMUSD has asked parents to destroy emails and not talk to each other about teacher sexual harassment of children

On August 31, 2010, SMMUSD Supt. Tim Cuneo sent a memo to parents asking them to destroy an email which Mr. Patrick DeCarolis, attorney for the 13-year-old girl sexually harassed by Mr. Marken, sent to parents on August 30, 2010, asking for help and information. This email was communication entirely between private citizens. Supt. Cuneo felt that he had the authority to write: “Please destroy all copies of the email and do not forward it or discuss the content of the email with others.” http://chwe.net/safety/marken/cuneo20100831.pdf

The SMMUSD removed evidence of child abuse from its own records

In March 2006, an eighth-grade Lincoln MS student made a written complaint about Thomas Beltran, two years before he was arrested for sexually molesting students. However, on May 8, 2008, after Mr. Beltran’s arrest, Asst. Supt. Mike Matthews said that “this is all new to us” and said that there were no complaints about Mr. Beltran in his personnel file. One might expect that a handwritten student letter about a possibly abusive teacher would be among the most sensitive and crucial of all records kept by a school district. On February 28, 2011, SMMUSD attorneys wrote that the district did not have a copy of the student’s letter. http://chwe.net/safety/beltran/aalrr20110228.pdf

The SMMUSD has impugned the testimony of its own employees who report child abuse

On October 22, 2011, teacher’s aides in the special education classroom at Cabrillo ES informed parents that the special education teacher Jennifer Becker was abusing their children. On October 28, 2011, the parents of four students met with SMMUSD director for special education Sara Woolverton. At this meeting, Dr. Woolverton stated that the four teacher’s aides were not credible and not trustworthy, and were committing a “mutiny” because Ms. Becker was making them work. http://chwe.net/safety/becker/

The SMMUSD has ordered teacher’s aides to not talk to parents

Melissa Winder, teacher’s aide in the Cabrillo ES special education class, states that Bekah Dannelly, SMMUSD special education coordinator, visited the special education classroom to order the teacher’s aides to not talk, text, or call the parents of the special education students.

The SMMUSD has tried to intimidate students and parents

After the hate crime incident involving two members of the wrestling team, Santa Monica HS H House principal Leslie Wells told the victim that “The incident could get the whole wrestling program canceled.” The victim did not tell his mother about the incident, reportedly because he did not want “to make a big deal out of it.”

On September 8, 2010, I wrote Supt. Cuneo asking specifically whether parents are legally obligated to destroy Mr. DeCarolis’s email. In his reply on September 9, 2010, Supt. Cuneo wrote: “The further dissemination of inaccurate information, which may include slanderous accusations, comes with it legal risk or liability. As such, the District response to the recipients about the information did not mince words in describing the seriousness of further dissemination.” Supt. Cuneo did not make any specific claim that anyone said anything slanderous. His response was nothing more than an attempt to intimidate.

The agreement between the SMMUSD and the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association states that if a student or parent wants to file a complaint against a teacher, the teacher can request a meeting. However, “if the complainant refuses to attend the meeting, the complaint shall neither be placed in the unit member’s personnel file nor utilized in any evaluation, assignment, or disciplinary or dismissal action against the unit member.” This policy is a license for intimidation. Very few children, or even adults, would be courageous enough to make a complaint against a teacher knowing that they would have to then meet the teacher face to face.

The SMMUSD has tried to mislead parents about their legal rights

After Supt. Tim Cuneo asked parents to destroy and not talk about an email sent to them by Mr. Patrick DeCarolis concerning Mr. Ari Marken’s sexual harassment of a 13-year-old girl. One must conclude that the SMMUSD is willing to intentionally mislead parents. Of course no parent is legally obligated to destroy any emails, regardless of implications for the district. The SMMUSD has no business telling parents what they can and cannot talk about. See Chwe email to SMMUSD Superintendent dated September 8, 2010. http://chwe.net/safety/marken/chwe20100908.pdf

The SMMUSD has publicly misrepresented its own legal obligations

After over 150 parents wrote a letter on December 7, 2010 to Supt. Tim Cuneo and Santa Monica HS principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza asking for information about the SMMUSD’s finding that Mr. Ari Marken had sexually harassed a 13-year-old girl, Supt. Cuneo stated in a newspaper interview that the SMMUSD could not legally disclose details about the case. However, in its court filings, the SMMUSD admits that they are legally required to release this information. http://chwe.net/safety/marken/aalrr20111029.pdf

The SMMUSD has violated California state law

Under California Penal Code 11165.7, school personnel are legally required to report suspected child abuse to police. In the case of the alleged abuses in the special education classroom at Cabrillo ES, no one reported Ms. Becker’s actions to the police until the parents, informed by the teacher’s aides, reported it themselves.

The SMMUSD delayed in order to allow Mr. Marken to try to obtain a court order to stop the release of the records, ignoring the California Supreme Court ruling in Filarsky v. Superior Court (2002) that “the exclusive procedure for litigating the issue of a public agency’s obligation to disclose records to a member of the public” is a lawsuit initiated by the person requesting the records. http://ag.ca.gov/publications/summary_public_records_act.pdf

By not releasing the records concerning Mr. Marken’s violation, the SMMUSD is in violation of long-standing case law, including AFSCME Employees v. Regents of University of California (1978), which establishes that records concerning the actions of public employees who have been disciplined must be disclosed to the public. http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1592245.html

The agreement between the SMMUSD and the Santa Monica Malibu Classroom Teachers Association states that if a student or parent wants to file a complaint against a teacher, no record of the complaint will be kept unless the student or parent agrees to a meeting with the teacher. This violates the California Code of Regulations Title 5, Section 4621, which states that “local policies shall ensure that complainants are protected from retaliation and that the identity of a complainant alleging discrimination remain confidential as appropriate.”

http://chwe.net/safety/failures.html

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Board of Education

SPECIAL EDUCATION SETTLEMENTS

NOVEMBER 2013-DECEMBER 2015

Pursuant to Government Code §54956.9(d)(2)

1. DN-1001-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1001-13/14 was as follows:
a) Legal Costs: $16,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $16,000. It was moved by Mr. Mechur,
seconded by Mr. Patel, and voted 6/0 (Mr. de la Torre was absent) to approve the
settlement case.

2. DN-1002-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1002-13/14
was as follows:
a) Legal Costs: $14,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $14,000. It was moved by Mr. Mechur,
seconded by Mr. Patel, and voted 6/0 (Mr. de la Torre was absent) to approve the
settlement case.

3. DN-1003-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1003-13/14 was as follows:
a) Legal Costs: $6,500
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $6,500.
It was moved by Mr. Mechur, seconded by Mr. Patel, and voted 6/0 (Mr. de la Torre
was absent) to approve the settlement case.

4. DN-1004-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1004-13/14 was as follows:
a) Parent Reimbursement: $38,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $38,000. It was moved by Dr. Escarce,
seconded by Mr. de la Torre, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

5. DN-1006-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1006-13/14 was as follows:
a) Parent Reimbursement: $19,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $19,000. It was moved by Ms. Lieberman,
seconded by Mr. Allen, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

6. DN-1007-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1007-13/14 was as follows:
a) Parent Reimbursement: $13,600
b) Legal Cost: $15,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $28,600. It was moved by Mr. Mechur,
seconded by Dr. Escarce, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

7. DN-1008-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1008-13/14 was as follows:
a) Parent Reimbursement: $60,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $60,000. It was moved by Mr. Mechur,
seconded by Dr. Escarce, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

8. DN-1009-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1009-13/14 was as follows:
a)Legal Cost: $5,500
b) Parent Reimbursement: $7,500
The amended total cost for this case is not to exceed $13,000. It was moved by Mr.
Mechur, seconded by Dr. Escarce, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

9. DN-1005-13/14 (Special Education)
The substance of settlement agreement in case No. DN-1005-13/14 was as follows:
a) LegalCost: $5,000
b)Parent Reimbursement: $17,789.48
The total cost for this case is not to exceed$ 22,789.48. It was moved by Dr. Escarce,
seconded by Ms. Lieberman, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

10. Student vs. SMMUSD, OAH Case No. 2013051152
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Eileen M. Cohn, determined on December 23, 2013 that the
SMMUSD must reimburse parents for all of their tuition costs for a Non-Public School (NPS)
along with reimbursement for all tutoring expenses.
These amounts exceed $56,970.99 in tuition reimbursement thus far, and does not include
approx. $70,000 inattorneys fees. This tuition will need to be reimbursed for 3-4 more years as well.

11. DN-1002-14/15 (Special Education)

Legal Fees: $70,000

The total cost for this case is not to exceed $70,000. It was moved by Ms. Lieberman, seconded by Mr. Patel, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case.

12. DN-1003-14/15 (Special Education)

Parent Reimbursement: $ 5,000/month (11/1/14 through 7/31/15)

The total cost for this case is not to exceed $45,000. It was moved by Ms. Lieberman, seconded by Dr. Tahvildaran-Jesswein, and voted 5/0 (Dr. Escarcewas absent) to approve the settlement case.

13. DN-1004-14/15 (Special Education)

Educational Evaluation Services: $11,485

Legal Fees: $TBD as per OAH Case No. 2014040578

It was moved by Ms. Lieberman, seconded by Dr. Tahvildaran-Jesswein, and voted 5/0 (Dr. Escarce was absent) to approve the settlement case.

14. DN-1005-14/15 (Special Education)

Parent Reimbursement: $2,200/month during school year (through 2019-2020 or whenever the student graduates from high school, whichever comes first) It was moved by Ms. Lieberman, seconded by Mr. Mechur, and voted 6/0 (Mr. de la Torre was absent) to approve the settlement case.

May 21, 2015

15. DN-1006-14/15 (Special Education)

Parent reimbursement (legal fees & other related costs): $9,000

The total cost for this case is not to exceed $9,000

It was moved by Mr. Mechur, seconded by Ms. Lieberman, and voted 6/0 (Ms. Leon-Vazquez was absent) to approve the settlement case.

16. DN-1007-14/15 (Special Education)

Parent Reimbursement (educational placement & services): $55,000

The total cost for this case is not to exceed $55,000. It was moved by Dr. Tahvildaran-Jesswein, seconded by Mr. Foster, and voted 6/0(Ms. Leon-Vazquez was absent) to approve the settlement case.

JUNE 29, 2015

17. STUDENT vs. SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Case No. 13-55665
District Court No. 2:12-cv-03059-SVWPJW

THE DISTRICT COURT HELD THAT THE SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT VIOLATED A STUDENT’S RIGHTS TO A FREE APPROPRIATE PUBLIC EDUCATION WHEN IT CONDUCTED AN IEP MEETING WITHOUT THE PARENTS’ PRESENCE

*Legal Fees in the amount of $215,000 were approved by the SMMUSD’s Board of Education on June 29, 2015.

See June 29, 2015 Board of Education Minutes: Re: Attorney’s Fee Settlement in the amount of $215,000

http://www.smmusd.org/brd1415/min062915_spmtg.pdf

DN-1009-14/15 (Special Education)
Legal fees & other related costs: $215,000
It was moved by Mr. Mechur, seconded by Ms. Lieberman, and voted 6/0 (Ms.Leon-Vazquez was absent) to approve the settlement case. Ayes: 6 (Lieberman, Escarce, de la Torre, Foster, Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Mechur)
September 2, 2015

18. DN-1001-15/16 (Special Education)

Attorney fees: $26,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $26,000. It was moved by Mr. De la Torre, seconded byMs. Leon-Vazquez, and voted 7/0 to approve the settlement case. Ayes: 7
October 1, 2015
19. DN-1002-15/16 (Special Education) TBD

20. DN-1003-15/16 (Special Education)

Legal fees $5,000
21. DN-1004-15/16 (Special Education)
Parent reimbursement: $6,000
22. DN-1005-15/16 (Special Education) TBD
Parent reimbursement: $6,000
October 15, 2015

23. DN-1006-15/16 (Special Education) TBD

December 10, 2015
24. DN-1002-15/16 (Special Education)
(postponed from 11/19/15)
Legal fees: $137,500
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $137,500. It was moved by Ms. Leon-Vazquez, seconded by Mr. Foster, and voted 6/0 (Dr. Escarce was absent) to approve the settlement case.
25. DN-1007-15/16 (Special Education)
Parent reimbursement: $16,920
Legal fees: $4,410
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $21,330.
It was moved by Ms. Leon-Vazquez, seconded by Mr. Foster, and voted 6/0 (Dr. Escarce was absent) to approve the settlement case. Ayes: 6 (Lieberman, de la Torre, Leon- Vazquez, Foster, Tahvildaran-Jesswein, Mechur)

 

26. DN-1008-15/16 (Special Education)
Parent reimbursement: $18,500
Legal fees: $24,000
The total cost for this case is not to exceed $42,500.
It was moved by Ms. Leon-Vazquez, seconded by Mr. Foster, and voted 6/0 (Dr.
Escarce was absent) to approve the settlement case.

See link to Malibu Times Article Entitled “School Woes”

http://www.malibutimes.com/opinion/article_37232886-0af6-11e5-9805-c79129c3012e.html

See SMMUSD District Parent’s comment:

beachshopgirl posted at 12:07 pm on Mon, Jun 8, 2015.

The SMMUSD has an inordinate amount of due process cases (16 this school term). That would be the norm for a district five times this size. If they go that hard against the parents of children with disabilities that should tell everyone else something. The District will never stop fighting this lawsuit from all indications, regardless of the insane conclusion that is bound to occur. It’s pathetic that they are willing to burn down the village in an effort to avoid repairing it. It’s time for a new Board of Education, a new Superintendent and a new Director of Special Education Services. We need people in leadership that understand that tax dollars are not monopoly money and that this is not a private parts measuring contest.

Changes Continue for SMMUSD Special Ed

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:n6Ov6EJhbQoJ:smdp.com/continue-smmusd-special-ed/148784+&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

SMMUSD District Parent’s Comment about Special Education Director Dr. Sara Woolverton Leaving the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District

Debra Shepherd ·

Finally! There have been complaints about Sara Woolverton from Santa Monica to Malibu for the last six years. Now, that the District is in trouble financially, they decide to replace her. No one in the administration or on the Board cared about the bigoted comments that she made about children with special needs or their parents. No one cared about all of the complaints about this woman from outside agencies and service providers. No one cared about the parents who came to me and the other members of the Special Education District Advisory Committee with complaints about the way that they had been treated by Woolverton. No one cared about the ridiculous amount of litigation involving the Special Education Department. No one cared about the staff who left the District because of Woolverton’s behavior. No one cared about the black parents who came to me with tears and broken spirits when Woolverton was the Director. They only cared when the budget was impacted. Shame on you SMMUSD for not caring about kids with special needs and their parents BUT good on you for giving walking papers to Sara Woolverton. It’s what she deserves. We’re having a party at my house!!! 20 June 2015 12:05

The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Millions of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to All of These Families

IT’S TIME TO FIRE THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON

See link to Change.org Petition:

https://www.change.org/p/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-s-board-of-education-it-s-time-to-fire-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-s-superintendent-sandra-lyon

Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Board of Education’s Errors in Judgment:

Superintendent Sandra Lyon Receives a Three Year Contract Extension:

Despite all of the above facts, on July 15, 2015 the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Board of Education has awarded Superintendent Sandra Lyon with a new three year Contract.

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Sandra L. Lyon was granted a new three-year contract Wednesday, raising her salary to $239,200 annually, among the highest in California. Sandra Lyon’s total compensation including fringe benefits is hard to determine, although it was put at $282,030 in 2013, according to Transparent California, a website that tracks salary and other compensation for public employees throughout the state.
For details, go to:

See pdf copy:

IT’S TIME TO FIRE SMMUSD’S SUPERINTENDENT SANDRA LYON

Email the Santa Monica Unified School District’s Board of Education:

brd@smmusd.org

Oscar de la Torre
odelatorre@smmusd.org
Dr. Jose Escarce
jescarce@smmusd.org
Craig Foster
cfoster@smmusd.org
Maria Leon-Vazquez
mlvazquez@smmusd.org
Laurie Lieberman
President
llieberman@smmusd.org
Ralph Mechur
Vice President
rmechur@smmusd.org
Dr. Richard
Tahvildaran-Jesswein
rtahvildaranjesswein@smmusd.org
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