Watch Ninth Circuit Court Recording for N. B. F. vs. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District & Wendy Wax Gellis, Case No. 15-56400

Click on link to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Argument dated March 9, 2017:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_video.php?pk_vid=0000011168

N.B.F. vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District & Wendy Wax Gellis:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhpbam0Wdsg

 

For details of this 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/

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The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District has Violated their Own Least-Hazardous Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy by Using Sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane) in their Elementary Schools

See PDF copy of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Revised Integrated Pest Management Program discussing the District’s adoption of a Least-Hazardous Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy.

IPM-RevisedMay2011

It is the policy of the District to focus and develop long-term pest prevention methods and give “non-chemical” methods first consideration when selecting appropriate control measures. The full range of alternatives will be considered, giving preference to non-chemical methods, and then chemicals that pose the least hazard to people and the environment.

Despite these written policies and procedures the SMMUSD has ordered the use of Vikane (Sulfuryl fluoride) in their elementary schools!

See links to:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfuryl_fluoride

Sulfuryl Fluoride Regulatory Documents and Activities

See PDF copy of the News Article Entitled:

Police Called on Moms, as Exterminators Poison Termites at Roosevelt Elementary School

Police Called on Moms, as Exterminators Poison Termites at Roosevelt Elementary School – Santa Monica Observer

See Link to News Article:

http://www.smobserved.com/story/2017/04/01/news/police-called-on-moms-as-exterminators-poison-termites-at-roosevelt-elementary-school/2790.html

The SMMUSD continues to show a blatant disregard to the health and well being of its Teachers and Students!

  1. Superintendent Sandra Lyon ordered the use of Fumitoxins and Strychnine on Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at Malibu High School, Juan Cabrillo and Webster Elementary schools despite hundreds of letters from parents in protest.

Her reckless actions put kids, staff and wildlife at risk.

See link to America Unites For Kids Freedom of Information Act request dated Aug 22, 2015:

Freedom Of Info Act Dec 22-1

See link to Malibu Parent’s letter to Superintendent Sandra Lyon and Published in the Malibu Times on September 4, 2015:

Malibu Parent’s Letter: Protecting Children

http://www.malibutimes.com/opinion/article_fcd1df0e-51c4-11e5-b14c-f35d240585b1.html?mode=story

Malibu Parent Stacie Cox’ Public Comment about Superintendent Sandra Lyon:

An empathetic and confident leader would make all her decisions based on how to best protect children, and not make decisions based on legally what she can get away with. You seem to act on false information, archaic ideals, and without a conscience. Your behavior is unconscionable and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

Rodenticide use at Malibu Schools Rouses Call for District Separation

See Malibu Times Article here:

http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_09817ee0-4bb1-11e5-b2b0-7f6db2b94b50.html

See City of Malibu Brochure Re: Poison Free Malibu:

BROCHURE%20Wildlife_antiPoison%20final_201403211343153527

In January 2014, SMMUSD staff raised concerns about PCB exposure in Malibu High School and Middle School (MHS) and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School (JCS) after three teachers reported thyroid cancer diagnoses.

See letter to Sandra Lyon from 12 teachers at Malibu High School:

http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/ca/1_13_14_teacher_letter.pdf

1_13_14_teacher_letter-2

The City of Malibu through Resolution No. 14-58 requests that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) conduct further source testing for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at all Malibu school campuses and in all rooms. Every inch of caulking does not need to be tested to verify there are PCBs. It is reasonable and based on standard building practices is responsible to assume that all like caulking in the same building contains PCBs. 

See City of Malibu’s September 23, 2014 Resolution No. 14-58 below:

9_23_14_Malibu_City_Council_Resolution

The SMMUSD is misleading the public with false statements to try and justify their choice to keep exposing Malibu children to cancerous, toxic PCBs. 

On Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, the SMMUSD ordered a “special” cleaning of the classrooms prior to Environ testing the dust and air. They asked teachers to remove all items from all surfaces so they can send a “special” crew to remove dust from surfaces; the same surfaces that Environ will be wipe testing hours later.

This renders PCB results meaningless. The goal of wipe and air testing is to see what the students and staff have been exposed to for the past 4 months. However, if they clean it hours before testing then any evidence of PCB exposure is removed.  Click Here to see email

Special-Cleaning-12-16-2014

This was done to guarantee the results are below EPA guidelines. Sadly, these test results will be nothing more than a PR move by the district to reassure parents and waste taxpayer dollars.

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.

Email the SMMUSD Board of Education and tell them to STOP poisoning our children and teachers!

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

The SMMUSD has total revenue of $100,088,426 with expenditures of $112,437,985 leaving the District with a $12.3 million deficit.

See PDF copies of the following:

1. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s 2016/2017 Budget

2. News Article Concerning the SMMUSD’s $12.3 Million Dollar Deficit

1.

2ndInterimBudget1617

2.

School Board update on latest budget plan

For the 2016 – 2017 school year, SMMUSD has total revenue of $100,088,426 with expenditures of $112,437,985 leaving the district with a $12.3 million deficit.

According to the presentation, 86% of the budget goes to SMMUSD employees costs including salaries and benefits. Between 2015/16 and 2016/17, SMMUSD provided a combined salary schedule increase in excess of 8%. Health and welfare costs have increased between 5% and 6% each year. Lastly pension costs continue to increase and will exceed 19% and 24% by 2020.

Now because we have the inefficient administrative performance, we have to cut, cut and cut.” said Santa Monica Resident Berenice Onofre.

See Link to News Article:

http://smdp.com/school-board-update-on-latest-budget-plan/160331

Transparent California released data which shows that employees of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District are overpaid by as much as 40 percent.

See pdf copy of all SMMUSD salaries:

santa-monica-malibu-unified-201

Transparent California is a tax-exempt Nevada Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which describes itself as “a free-market think tank that seeks private solutions to public challenges.”

It was also noted that many of the SMMUSD teachers’ salaries for 2015 “far exceed” Santa Monica’s median household income of $74,534. The median household income data is the most recent reported by the U.S. Census for 2014.

The database provided in the press release listed former SMMUSD Superintendent Sandra Lyons’ total pay and benefits as $284,028.

For details, go to:

Think Tank Attacks SMMUSD Salaries: Transparent California Released Data Showing That SMMUSD Employees Are Overpaid By As Much As 40% As Compared To Other California Teachers

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/think-tank-attacks-smmusd-salaries-transparent-california-released-data-showing-that-smmusd-employees-are-overpaid-by-as-much-as-40/

For details, go to:

http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/school-districts/los-angeles/santa-monica-malibu-unified/

Regrettably, the SMMUSD does not spend their tax dollars wisely!

The SMMUSD has spent approx. $8 million dollars on lawyers and environmental expenditures rather than $100 per caulk test. Superintendent Sandra Lyon told the board at the December 11, 2014 board meeting that the District has approval to spend $600+ per hour and the use of Pillsbury Law Firm as legal counsel, and now the SMMUSD Board has given her carte blanche permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to protect their decisions. See list of SMMUSD expenditures to date: $8,000,000 and rising!
11200986_700561446719884_1823505260638714771_o

July 15, 2015
Aug 12, 2015

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

Malibu Schools Drain $8 Million From SMMUSD In Legal Fees

For details, go to:

http://www.smmirror.com/articles/News/Malibu-Schools-Drain-8-Million-From-SMMUSD-In-Legal-Fees/45152

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Intentionally Discriminated Against its Disabled Students and Willfully Ignored Their “Child Find” Obligations in Violation of Section 504, ADA, and UNRUH Civil Rights Act

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
WESTERN DIVISION

Case No. 2:15-cv-09339-RSWLDTB

Liz Soto, Dan Chapman, Tab Chapman vs. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Complaint for Intentional Discrimination and Willfully Ignoring “Child Find Obligations” in Violation of Section 504, ADA, and UNRUH Civil Rights Act

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District has a demonstrated policy of intentional discrimination and deliberate indifference when it comes to educating students with known disabilities.

The Santa Monica Unified School District (SMMUSD) officials had policies of inaction that resulted in failures to provide adequate procedural safeguards and failure to train their staff.

The SMMUSD’s failure to execute its “child find” duty and evaluation obligations under Section 504 constituted intentional discrimination in that their failure to act was not just negligent; it was a deliberate choice to not act evidencing discriminatory intent.

That SMMUSD acted with deliberate indifference as shown by the facts that the SMMUSD had knowledge of facts tending to establish that Student had a suspected disability:

1) The SMMUSD had knowledge from which an inference could be drawn that a harm to Student’s federally protected right to be identified and evaluated under Section 504 was substantially likely to occur, and

2) The SMMUSD failed to act upon that likelihood when they refused to evaluate Student. These policies included failure to adequately and properly train school staff regarding compliance with their mandatory duties.

Through the policies of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District, the SMMUSD exhibited a deliberate indifference to the foreseeable consequences of the violations, including the foreseeable consequence of abuse of students with disabilities.

As a direct and proximate result of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s violations of law, Plaintiffs suffered out-of-pocket expenses and mental and emotional distress.

See JD Supra article:

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/complaint-for-intentional-discrimination-94039/

See pdf copy of Complaint:

STUDENT vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT RE VIOLATIONS SECTION 504 THE ADA AND UNRUH ACT

See Notice of Settlement:

STUDENT vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT RE STIPULATED SETTLEMENT

Other Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Intentional Discrimination Cases:

1. STUDENT vs. MARK KELLY & THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Re: Disability Discrimination

Plaintiffs allege that Mark Kelly’s conduct in baiting student was so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,”.

Mark Kelly’s knowledge that Student is peculiarly susceptible to emotional distress by reason of some physical or mental condition rises to both extreme and outrageous conduct.” (“eggshell plaintiff” principle)

Some students may have vulnerabilities which necessitate a greater degree of caution on the part of school districts and their employees. In M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School Dist.

Abuse of Power

The extreme and outrageous conduct may take place in the course of a relationship in which the defendant holds authority or other power over the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s interests.

If the authority — such as police officers, school authorities, landlords, and collecting creditor — abuse their positions in some extreme manner, they may be liable to the plaintiff for IIED.

A Public Record Act request has been served upon the SMMUSD to receive the Debra Reilly “investigation Report” concerning the two UCP Compliance Complaints against the SMMUSD, and Assistant Superintendent Mark Kelly.
Complaints and/or charges of misconduct against a public employee can/must be disclosed if “the complaint is of a substantial nature and there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint or charge of misconduct is well-founded.” (See Bakersfield City School Dist. v. Superior Court (2004) 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1044; see also BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 742.)

2. Student v Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. 13-55665

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 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

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

See Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW Complaint here: document-142

See Plaintiffs’ Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW 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

See Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW Notice of Settlement here:document-141

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.

For details, go to:

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

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/

4. PROFESSOR MICHAEL CHWE vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate Directed to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Ordering Compliance with the California Public Records Act

MICHAEL CHWE vs. SMMUSD RE WRIT OF MANDATE COMPLAINT

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/verified-petition-for-writ-of-mandate-di-72936/

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Was Ordered to Release their Investigation Report Concerning the Sexual Harrasment of its Students by their Teachers

MICHAEL CHWE vs SMMUSD RE APPEALS COURT PUBLISHED OPINION

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-d-42102

Public Record Act requests for employee disciplinary records, investigative reports and/or complaints or charges of misconduct against public employees must be disclosed if “the complaint is of a substantial nature and there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint or charge of misconduct is well-founded.” (See Bakersfield City School Dist. v. Superior Court (2004) 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1044; see also BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 742.)

FFF_CA Public Records_V11

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Board of Education

SPECIAL EDUCATION SETTLEMENTS

November 2013 to 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) Legal Cost: $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.

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.

17. 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)
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.

Below is how the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District treats some of its Special Education families.

See link to Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Disrict’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by filing false claims of child abuse with the Department of Children and Family Services:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

SMMUSD vs. Student

By Debra Shepherd

Good evening Council members. I am the parent of a child in general education and a child who requires special education services. I am also a member of the Working Group.

Although the non-disclosure agreements are no longer being used to my knowledge, the environment that brought about the use of those agreements still exists.

When a problem arises, there does not seem to be an ability to resolve the problem without input from the attorneys. Since November of 2008, the District has been more adversarial toward my family by threatening me with due process litigation at tax payers’ expense. The SMMUSD refuses to even acknowledge that my daughter has an autism spectrum disorder despite multiple pages of detailed assessments from UCLA in a school setting that have been a part of my child’s records for the last 4 years.

The District is also attempting to take needed services and accommodations out of my child’s educational program. I had to fight for two years for my daughter to receive occupational therapy services.

My extended family has also traveled thousands of miles to help me with these issues. The SMMUSD would rather spend thousands of tax payer dollars suing me than pay for a needed assessment for my child or provide her with a free and appropriate education as mandated by law.

I thought that we had reached our lowest point in the journey when school staff filed a false report against me with child services in retaliation against me for hiring an attorney. My youngest child is still not recovered from the trauma of that incident. I am also disturbed by the number of families of color that have left the district. When families of color complain about how they are treated by the district, their address is verified. This whole situation has taken a toll on my health and the well-being of my family.

See links to other litigation relating to other SMMUSD Retaliatory Acts:

Student v 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/

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.

The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to These Special Education Families.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon should be fired for not adequately protecting the School District’s students from all of this continuing harm.

For details, go to:

It’s 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/

See pdf copy:

IT’S TIME TO FIRE SMMUSD’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

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

 

 

 

MICHAEL CHWE vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT Re: Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate Directed to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Ordering Compliance with the California Public Records Act

PROFESSOR MICHAEL CHWE vs. SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Verified Petition for Writ of Mandate Directed to Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Ordering Compliance with the California Public Records Act

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/verified-petition-for-writ-of-mandate-di-72936/

See pdf attachment of Professor Michael Chwe’s Public Records Act lawsuit against the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

MICHAEL CHWE vs. SMMUSD RE WRIT OF MANDATE COMPLAINT

dwt20110223

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District has Publicly Misrepresented its Own Legal Obligations and than Admits in Court that they Were Legally Obligated To Release Information Through the California Public Records Act

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.

See pdf attachment of the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Opposition to Ari Marken’s Opening Brief which admits to its legal obligations to release information:

SMMUSD BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF RELEASING INVESTIGATION REPORT BASED ON WELL FOUNDED COMPLAINT

Generally, complaints and/or charges of misconduct against a public employee can/must be disclosed if “the complaint is of a substantial nature and there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint or charge of misconduct is well-founded.” (See Bakersfield City School Dist. v. Superior Court (2004) 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1044; see also BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 742.)

aalrr20111029

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Was Thereafter Ordered to Release their Investigation Report Concerning the Sexual Harrasment of its Students by their Teachers

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-d-42102

See pdf attachment to the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Second Appellate District’s landmark ruling in Professor Chwe’s lawsuit against the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District:

MICHAEL CHWE vs SMMUSD RE APPEALS COURT PUBLISHED OPINION

B231787-1

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.”

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District Removed Evidence of Child Abuse from its own records

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. For details, go to: http://chwe.net/safety/beltran/

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.

(See pdf copy of the attached letter)

aalrr20110228-1

DANIELLE BAEZ vs. BURBANK UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT et al.

In Baez v. Superior Court, 2008 WL 5394067 (Cal. Ct. App.) the defense representing the Burbank Unified School District asserted attorney-client privilege and the work-product doctrine as grounds for refusing to turn over the file from a investigation report.
The Second District Court of Appeal ordered production of the Sandhu investigative file, holding that disclosure was essential for fair adjudication of the action. (Baez v. Superior Court, 2008 WL 5394067 (Cal. Ct. App.).) Case Number B208294  Description: Petition granted by opinion

The Court of Appeals Also Upheld The Trial Court’s Award of $3,224,569.30 in Attorneys fees and $2,000,000 Million in Punitive Damages to Baez

The jury awarded Baez $199,398 in compensatory damages (consisting of $99,398 for past economic loss and $100,000 for past pain and suffering), and $2 in punitive damages. The trial court awarded attorney’s fees to Baez in the amount of $3,224,569.30.

“In this case, the trial court properly exercised its discretion in awarding attorney’s fees to Baez for the time spent in the first trial.” Justice ZELON, J.

See pdf copy of Appellate Court’s January 25, 2016 Decision:

B254852

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

Other SMMUSD Litigation, and Errors in Judgment:

There are many other troubling issues with the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District.

1. Student v Wendy Wax Gellis & SMMUSD:

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.

Click on Link to YouTube Video of:

N.B.F. vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District & Wendy Wax Gellis:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhpbam0Wdsg

 

Click on link to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Oral Argument dated March 9, 2017:

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/media/view_video.php?pk_vid=0000011168

 

For details of this 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/

2. Student v SMMUSD:

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

For details of this SMMUSD litigation, go to:

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

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 link to the 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

3. Other Superintendent Sandra Lyon’s Errors in Judgment:

“SANTA MONICA TEACHER WAS RIGHT, SUPERINTENDENT WAS VERY, VERY WRONG”

April 07, 2014|By Robin Abcarian (LA Times Reporter)

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/apr/07/local/la-me-ra-santa-monica-teacher-was-right-20140407

http://patch.com/california/santamonica/fire-sandra-lyons

https://www.change.org/p/sandra-lyon-and-smmusd-school-board-an-apology-from-superintendent-sandra-lyon-to-mark-black-for-throwing-him-and-all-teachers-under-the-bus-as-well-as-for-making-a-biased-inflammatory-response-to-mark-s-heroic-classroom-actions

4. 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/

For details of this pending litigation, go to:

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

IMAG0391

Student vs. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD); Sebastian Dane Sartorius; Jordan Clarke 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.

5. PCBS REMOVED FROM SANTA MONICA SCHOOLS BUT LEFT IN MALIBU SCHOOLS

Superintendent Sandra Lyon cares more about protecting landfills than protecting children and teachers.

http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/pcbs-removed-from-santa-monica-schools-but-left-in-malibu.html

AMERICA UNITES FOR KIDS & PUBLIC EMPLOYEES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY vs. SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT for the CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (Western Division – Los Angeles)

CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 2:15-cv-02124-PA-AJW

See link to America Unites for Kids & PEER’s Complaint against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

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

6. Superintendent Sandra Lyon ordered the use of Fumitoxins and Strychnine on Saturday, Aug 22, 2015 at Malibu High School, Juan Cabrillo and Webster Elementary schools despite hundreds of letters from parents in protest.

Her reckless actions put kids and wildlife at risk. The Fumitoxin Tablet warning label says that re-occupancy cannot occur for a minimum of 72 hours, but based on the weather in Malibu, more likely 5 days. Sandra Lyon told parents that in 48 hours kids could return to the fields.

See America Unites For Kids Freedom of Information Act request dated Aug 22, 2015:

Freedom Of Info Act Dec 22-1

Malibu Parent’s Letter: Protecting Children

http://www.malibutimes.com/opinion/article_fcd1df0e-51c4-11e5-b14c-f35d240585b1.html?mode=story

Malibu Parent Stacie Cox’ Public Comment about Superintendent Sandra Lyon:

An empathetic and confident leader would make all her decisions based on how to best protect children, and not make decisions based on legally what she can get away with. You seem to act on false information, archaic ideals, and without a conscience. Your behavior is unconscionable and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

See America Unites for Kids link to Change.org’s Petition:

Petitioning SMMUSD Board of Education and Superintendent Sandra Lyon

Stop Poisoning our Children and our Environment

https://www.change.org/p/smmusd-board-of-education-and-superintendent-sandra-lyon-stop-poisoning-our-children-and-our-environment?recruiter=92014425&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_facebook_responsive&utm_term=des-md-no_src-custom_msg&fb_ref=Default

7. America Unites Accuses the SMMUSD of Secret Cleaning

8.  THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS FAILED ITS AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, DISABLED & ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA MONICA HIGH SCHOOL & JOHN MUIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/09/13/the-santa-monia-malibu-unified-school-districts-caaspp-results-has-failed-its-african-american-hispanic-economically-disadvantaged-students-at-santa-monica-high-school-john-muir-element/

9. 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.

There is a statistically significant “relationship” between spending your days at Malibu High School and Thyroid Cancer.

For details, go to: https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/24/there-is-a-statistically-significant-relationship-between-spending-your-days-at-mhs-and-thyroid-cancer/

“There is no safe level of PCBs. All they do is cause harm. They increase the risk of a great number of diseases, and the one that’s of most significance in a school is that they’re known to reduce cognitive function — learning and memory. And that’s the last thing you want in a school.” David O. Carpenter, M.D., director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany.

10. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Classroom Teachers Association Urges SMMUSD Officials to Consider the Wellbeing of its Children and Staff

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/09/21/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-districts-classroom-teachers-association-urges-smmusd-officials-to-consider-the-wellbeing-of-its-children-and-staff/

Santa Monica Teacher’s Public Comment:

“Genevieve Szafran

I am a teacher at John Adams middle School. My classroom has been between 86 and 88 degrees every day since school started. I have not been provided with a fan and I’m using two of my own. It is unbearable . I have been suffering from heat exhaustion. My symptoms include nausea, dizziness and an inability to focus. My students are unable to concentrate. This is not a new issue. It is hot for at least 3 months out of every school year since I started working for SMMUSD 15 years ago. This is unacceptable.” 16 September 2015 20:20  See link: http://smdp.com/concerns-classroom-temps-heat/150774

11. 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 $8,000,000 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

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District appears to be more interested in attempting to 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.

12. Student vs. Principal Brandon Gallagher; Assistant Superintendent Mark Kelly; Director of Student Services Tara Brown; Senior Office Specialist Dina Mendoza; School Counselor Al Trundle & THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Re: Disability Discrimination

Plaintiffs allege that Mark Kelly’s conduct in baiting student was so outrageous in character and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency,” Mintz, 905 P.2d at 563. Mark Kelly’s knowledge that the plaintiff is peculiarly susceptible to emotional distress by reason of some physical or mental condition rises to both extreme and outrageous conduct.”  (“eggshell plaintiff” principle)

The 9th Circuit recently stated in

A.G. v. Paradise Valley Unified School District:

Some students may have vulnerabilities which necessitate a greater degree of caution on the part of school districts and their employees. In M.W. v. Panama Buena Vista Union School Dist., supra,

Abuse of Power

The extreme and outrageous conduct may take place in the course of a relationship in which the defendant holds authority or other power over the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s interests. If the authority — such as police officers, school authorities, landlords, and collecting creditor — abuse their positions in some extreme manner, they may be liable to the plaintiff for IIED.
See the 9th Circuit opinion in A.G. v. Paradise Valley Unified School District:
PRA requests for employee disciplinary records, investigative reports and/or complaints against public employees
Generally, complaints and/or charges of misconduct against a public employee can/must be disclosed if “the complaint is of a substantial nature and there is reasonable cause to believe the complaint or charge of misconduct is well-founded.” (See Bakersfield City School Dist. v. Superior Court (2004) 118 Cal. App. 4th 1041, 1044; see also BRV, Inc. v. Superior Court (2006) 143 Cal. App. 4th 742.)
See pdf attachment explaining School District’s Public Records Act obligations:

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s Superintendent Sandra Lyon should be fired for not adequately protecting the School District’s students and teachers from all of this continuing harm.

For details, go to:

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

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

COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATIONS OF:
(1) THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 ET SEQ.
(2) SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794 ET SEQ.;
(3) THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1400 ET SEQ.

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

See Notice of Settlement here: document-141

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.

OVERVIEW

Under the state’s Master Plan for Higher Education, California has developed three tiers of public post-secondary education leading to a college degree: a two-year community college system, a four-year California State University (“CSU”) system, and a four-year University of California (“UC”) system. Students may earn degrees in any of these tiers, but there are significant differences between the four-year UC and CSU institutions and the community college system.

Only students who complete college and obtain a four-year degree reap the substantial economic benefits of a college education.

Students who enroll in community colleges are also much less likely to graduate than students in four-year programs: according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 45% of community college students leave school before they obtain their degree or certificate, a dropout rate nearly three times that of students in four-year institutions.

The public perception that students frequently transfer between community colleges and the UC/CSU system is belied by data showing that such transfers are relatively rare.4 Even for students who successfully transfer from community college to a four-year campus, the graduation rate among transfer students is “significantly lower” than for students who begin their post-secondary education at a four-year college. And even community college transfers who succeed in obtaining degrees at public four-year institutions generally take at least two years longer to do so.

Only 44% of these students receive their bachelor’s degree within six years. This average two-year delay both increases the tuition costs of obtaining the degree and eliminates two years of wage earning potential.

Aside from the economic benefits that redound to four-year degree holders, there are qualitative differences in the educational experiences provided by community colleges and public four-year institutions. For example, faculty at community colleges are less likely to engage in scholarly publications and research.

Students at two-year colleges will have fewer (if any) opportunities to participate in research projects and scholarship. The lack of this experience places these students at a disadvantage when entering the job market for entire fields of study.

California’s four-year postsecondary systems have more rigorous admissions requirements than community colleges. The primary difference is that the four-year UC/CSU system requires all applicants to have completed high school coursework that meets certain baseline academic standards. High schools must submit the curricula for their courses to ensure that it meets these minimum academic standards.8 Classes that do are known in California as offering “a-g credit.” High school graduates who earned “a-g credits” are eligible to apply and be admitted to a college in the UC/CSU system.

A student who lacks “a-g credits” cannot apply to the UC/CSU system and must attend a community college.

The District freely acknowledges the differences between the three tiers of post-secondary educational placements, and advertises its commitment “to graduate students with the most post-secondary options available to them.”

The class graduated by the District in 2010 sent 589 Santa Monica Malibu High School (“SAMOHI”) students to college.

Of those 589 college-bound students, 89 went to a CSU campus and 108 went to a UC campus. Combined, roughly one-third of the 2010 graduating class from SAMOHI matriculated directly into the UC/CSU system.

Due to the way the District educates students with disabilities at SAMOHI, however, it was impossible for D to be among them.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has created a two-track educational system at SAMOHI, which excludes many students with a disability from completing courses offering a-g credit.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District requires disabled students like D, whose disabilities prevent them from receiving instruction in general-education classrooms, to take special education courses designated “SAI classes.” SAI classes do not offer a-g credits—even though D and students like her are academically capable of a-g level work.

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District thus precludes them as a matter of policy from matriculating directly to a four-year UC/CSU program.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has refused to submit the curriculum for any of the courses designated as SAI classes for a-g credit approval.

In contrast, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has applied for and obtained approval for more than 150 of its general education courses to award a-g credit.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s actions violated the IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA. When the District refused to offer Drew an appropriate educational program, her family was forced to identify and enroll her in an appropriate educational setting at their own expense, and to seek reimbursement from the District for the costs they incurred.

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s actions also violated the IDEA, Section 504, and the ADA when it retaliated against the Plaintiffs for exercising their rights under these statutes.

When the Plaintiffs rejected educational placements offered by the District at Ds IEP meetings, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District unilaterally disenrolled her and refused to provide related services to which she was entitled.

PEW Research Center Report on the Disparity of Income Between High School Graduates and College Graduates.

The Rising Cost of Not Going To College

(finding that holders of four-year degrees earn $17,500 more than high school graduates, but holders of two-year community college degrees earn just $2,000 more).

The Rising Cost of Not Going to College

See PEW Research Report in pdf here:

SDT-higher-ed-FINAL-02-11-2014

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: $25,000
The new total cost for this case is not to exceed
$31,000
 
22. DN-1005-15/16 (Special Education) TBD
Parent reimbursement: $30,000
The new total cost for this case is not to exceed $36,000
October 15, 2015

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

Legal fees: $ 34,500

Family reimbursement: $552

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.

Below is how the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District treats some of its Special Education families.

See link to Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Disrict’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by filing false claims of child abuse with the Department of Children and Family Services:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

SMMUSD vs. Student

By Debra Shepherd

Good evening Council members. I am the parent of a child in general education and a child who requires special education services. I am also a member of the Working Group.

Although the non-disclosure agreements are no longer being used to my knowledge, the environment that brought about the use of those agreements still exists.

When a problem arises, there does not seem to be an ability to resolve the problem without input from the attorneys. Since November of 2008, the District has been more adversarial toward my family by threatening me with due process litigation at tax payers’ expense. The SMMUSD refuses to even acknowledge that my daughter has an autism spectrum disorder despite multiple pages of detailed assessments from UCLA in a school setting that have been a part of my child’s records for the last 4 years.

The District is also attempting to take needed services and accommodations out of my child’s educational program. I had to fight for two years for my daughter to receive occupational therapy services.

My extended family has also traveled thousands of miles to help me with these issues. The SMMUSD would rather spend thousands of tax payer dollars suing me than pay for a needed assessment for my child or provide her with a free and appropriate education as mandated by law.

I thought that we had reached our lowest point in the journey when school staff filed a false report against me with child services in retaliation against me for hiring an attorney. My youngest child is still not recovered from the trauma of that incident. I am also disturbed by the number of families of color that have left the district. When families of color complain about how they are treated by the district, their address is verified. This whole situation has taken a toll on my health and the well-being of my family.

See links to other litigation relating to other SMMUSD Retaliatory Acts:

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/

The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to These Special Education Families.

THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT HAS FAILED ITS AFRICAN AMERICAN, HISPANIC, DISABLED & ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL, SANTA MONICA HIGH SCHOOL & JOHN MUIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

California Assessment of Student Performance
and Progress (CAASPP) Results for 2015

Beginning with the 2013–14 school year, CAASPP became the new student assessment system in California, replacing the Standardized Testing and Reporting system (STAR).

See Malibu High School’s, Santa Monica High School’s and John Muir Elementary’s 2015 School Results for its Minority, Disabled and Economically Disadvantaged Students.

1.

CAASPP 2015 CST – Santa Monica High School, Black or African American

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-2015-cst-santa-monica-high-school-black-or-african-american.pdf

2.

CAASPP 2015 CST – Santa Monica High School, Students with Disability

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-2015-cst-santa-monica-high-school-students-with-disability.pdf

3.

CAASPP 2015 CST – John Muir Elementary School, Hispanic or Latino

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-2015-cst-john-muir-elementary-school-hispanic-or-latino.pdf

4.

CAASPP RESULTS IN MATH AND ENGLISH AT SAMO HIGH FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-results-in-math-and-english-at-samo-high-for-african-american-students.pdf

5.

CAASPP RESULTS IN MATH AND ENGLISH AT JOHN MUIR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR HISPANIC STUDENTS

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-results-in-math-and-english-at-john-muir-elementary-school-for-hispanic-students.pdf

6.

CAASPP RESULTS IN MATH AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL FOR HISPANIC STUDENTS

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-results-in-math-at-malibu-high-school-for-hispanic-students.pdf

7.

CAASPP RESULTS IN MATH AND ENGLISH AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-results-in-math-and-english-at-malibu-high-school-for-students-with-disabilities.pdf

8.

CAASPP RESULTS IN MATH AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL FOR ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/caaspp-results-in-math-at-malibu-high-school-for-economically-disadvantaged-students.pdf

ADDITIONAL SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT STATISTICS

The Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s Achievement Gap in API scores by Race/Ethnicity is Among the Worst in All of California.

2012 and 2013 Statistics on SMMUSD Race/Ethnicity Achievement Gaps
Based on API Scores and Education West Report Cards

SMMUSD Achievement Gap in API scores by Race/Ethnicity 2012 and 2013

                                                      API Scores                         Size of Gap (Relative to White Students)    

2012             2013                                  2012              2013

White Students*                         907                 907                                          –                      –

Latino Students*                         784                 791                                    123                   116

African-American Students*      735                746                                    172                   161

*does NOT include English Language Learners
______________________________________________________________________________Source:  
SARC Report Card 2014 for SMMUSD (cited in the SaMoHi SARC: page 5, column 2)
http://www.smmusd.org/SARC/SARC2014/SAMOSARC14.pdf

2012 and 2013 Statistics on SaMoHi Race/Ethnicity Achievement Gaps
Based on API Scores and Education West Report Cards

SaMoHi Achievement Gap in API scores by Race/Ethnicity 2012 and 2013

                                                           API Scores                         Size of Gap (Relative to White Students)    

2012             2013                                  2012              2013

White Students*                        870                877                                          –                      –

Latino Students*                       769                 762                                   101                   115

African-American Students*     675                 689                                   195                  188

*does NOT include English Language Learners
______________________________________________________________________________Source:  
SARC Report Card 2014 for SaMoHi (cited in the SaMoHi SARC: page 5, columns 1 and 6)
http://www.smmusd.org/SARC/SARC2014/SAMOSARC14.pdf

Education West Grades for SMMUSD Relative to Other School Districts in California

                                                  2012                                                          2013
Overall Grade:                                                                                           C

White/African-American Gap   F   (among worst 3% in CA)                 F (among worst 6% in CA)

White/Latino Gap                       F   (among worst 15% in CA)               D (among worst 18% in CA)

______________________________________________________________________________Sources: 
EdWest Report Card 2012 for SMMUSD
http://reportcards.edtrustwest.org/district-data?county=Los+Angeles&district=Santa+Monica-Malibu+Unified&report_year=2012

EdWest Report Card 2013 for SMMUSD
http://reportcards.edtrustwest.org/district-data?county=Los+Angeles&district=Santa+Monica-Malibu+Unified&report_year=2013

Understanding the Academic Performance Index (API)

https://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us/pages/understandingtheapi.aspx

See attached California Department of Education’s Adequate Yearly Progress Standards for 2013 & 2014:

California Department of Education 2013 2014 Data for the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-has-failed-to-meet-the-california-department-of-educations-adequate-yearly-progress-standards/

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Board of Education

SPECIAL EDUCATION SETTLEMENTS

November 2013 to June 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) Legal Cost: $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 in attorneys 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.

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.

17. 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)

Below is how the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District treats some of its Special Education families.

See link to Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Disrict’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by filing false claims of child abuse with the Department of Children and Family Services:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

SMMUSD vs. Student

By Debra Shepherd

Good evening Council members. I am the parent of a child in general education and a child who requires special education services. I am also a member of the Working Group.

Although the non-disclosure agreements are no longer being used to my knowledge, the environment that brought about the use of those agreements still exists.

When a problem arises, there does not seem to be an ability to resolve the problem without input from the attorneys. Since November of 2008, the District has been more adversarial toward my family by threatening me with due process litigation at tax payers’ expense. The SMMUSD refuses to even acknowledge that my daughter has an autism spectrum disorder despite multiple pages of detailed assessments from UCLA in a school setting that have been a part of my child’s records for the last 4 years.

The District is also attempting to take needed services and accommodations out of my child’s educational program. I had to fight for two years for my daughter to receive occupational therapy services.

My extended family has also traveled thousands of miles to help me with these issues. The SMMUSD would rather spend thousands of tax payer dollars suing me than pay for a needed assessment for my child or provide her with a free and appropriate education as mandated by law.

I thought that we had reached our lowest point in the journey when school staff filed a false report against me with child services in retaliation against me for hiring an attorney. My youngest child is still not recovered from the trauma of that incident. I am also disturbed by the number of families of color that have left the district. When families of color complain about how they are treated by the district, their address is verified. This whole situation has taken a toll on my health and the well-being of my family.

See links to litigation relating to Additional SMMUSD Retaliatory Acts:

STUDENT vs. WENDY WAX GELLIS & THE SANTA MONICA MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

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/

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.

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/the-santa-monica-malibu-unified-school-district-board-of-education-re-special-education-settlements-by-the-smmusd/

The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to These Special Education Families.

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

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT

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

A. Excluding A Student’s Parents From An IEP Meeting Is A Per Se Denial Of A Free Appropriate Public Education

B. The District Did Not Act “Reasonably” When It Chose To Conduct The IEP Meeting Without Student’s Parents

The 9th Circuit COURT Affirmed the District Court’s Ruling:

The district court properly concluded that the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s failure to include student’s parents at an IEP meeting was a procedural violation of the IDEA. The IDEA’s implementing regulations require that parents participate in meetings concerning the formulation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the educational placement of their child. See 34 C.F.R. § 300.501(b).

An agency can make a decision without the parents only if it is unable to obtain their participation, which was not the case here. See id. § 300.501(c)(4); Shapiro ex rel. Shapiro v. Paradise Valley Unified Sch. Dist. No. 69, 317 F.3d 1072, 1078 (9th Cir. 2003) superseded on other grounds by 20 U.S.C. § 1414(d)(1)(B).

The District has not shown that it was required to meet before the end of the 2009-10 school year to formulate an IEP for the 2010-11 school year. Therefore, it was not faced with “the situation of complying with one procedural requirement of the IDEA or another.” Doug C. v. Hawaii Dep’t of Educ., 720 F.3d 1038, 1046 (9th Cir. 2013).

The district court properly concluded the procedural violation denied student a free appropriate public education in the 2010-11 school year. See Doug C., 720 F.3d at 1044-47; Amanda J. ex rel. Annette J. v. Clark Cnty. Sch. Dist., 267 F.3d 877, 892 (9th Cir. 2001).

“Procedural violations that interfere with parental participation in the IEP formulation process undermine the very essence of the IDEA.” Amanda J., 267 F.3d at 892.

Proceeding without the child’s parents cannot be justified by the scheduling unavailability of District employees; the attendance of parents at IEP Team meetings “must take priority over other members’ attendance.” Doug C., 720 F.3d at 1045; see also Shapiro, 317 F.3d at 1078 (holding a school district may not “simply prioritize[] its representatives’ schedules over that of [the] parents”.

Furthermore, even if student’s parents already had decided to enroll their child at Westview School, their exclusion was not permissible. See Anchorage Sch. Dist. v. M.P., 689 F.3d 1047, 1055 (9th Cir. 2012)

The IDEA, its implementing regulations, and our case law all emphasize the importance of parental involvement and advocacy, even when the parents’ preferences do not align with those of the educational agency.

AFFIRMED

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

Before: FISHER, BEA and FRIEDLAND, Circuit Judges.
Appellant’s joint motion to continue deadline for motion requesting attorney’s fees, filed June 25, 2015, is granted. The request for attorney’s fees shall be filed on or before July 29, 2015. See Appellant’s Joint Motion: Document-88

See June 29, 2015 Court Order: document-87

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)
See the January 20, 2012 OAH decision under OAH No. 2011070262. document-147
See United States District Court Judge Stephen Wilson’s November 28, 2012 Ruling reversing the January 20, 2012 OAH decision under OAH No. 2011070262. document-145

See Parent’s United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Brief: Document-47-2

See United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Order Affirming the District Court’s Ruling: Document-69

See the Related United States District Court Case under Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW

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

See Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW Complaint here: document-142

See Plaintiffs’ Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW 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

See Case No. 2:14-cv-06823-CBM-MRW Notice of Settlement here: document-141

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.

For details, go to:

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

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/

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District

Board of Education

SPECIAL EDUCATION SETTLEMENTS

November 2013 to 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) Legal Cost: $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 in attorneys 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.

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.

17. 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)
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.

Below is how the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District treats some of its Special Education families.

See link to Santa Monica Dispatch Article Concerning Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School Disrict’s Retaliatory Acts Against Students and Parents by filing false claims of child abuse with the Department of Children and Family Services:

http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2009/01/smmusd-vs-student/

SMMUSD vs. Student

By Debra Shepherd

Good evening Council members. I am the parent of a child in general education and a child who requires special education services. I am also a member of the Working Group.

Although the non-disclosure agreements are no longer being used to my knowledge, the environment that brought about the use of those agreements still exists.

When a problem arises, there does not seem to be an ability to resolve the problem without input from the attorneys. Since November of 2008, the District has been more adversarial toward my family by threatening me with due process litigation at tax payers’ expense. The SMMUSD refuses to even acknowledge that my daughter has an autism spectrum disorder despite multiple pages of detailed assessments from UCLA in a school setting that have been a part of my child’s records for the last 4 years.

The District is also attempting to take needed services and accommodations out of my child’s educational program. I had to fight for two years for my daughter to receive occupational therapy services.

My extended family has also traveled thousands of miles to help me with these issues. The SMMUSD would rather spend thousands of tax payer dollars suing me than pay for a needed assessment for my child or provide her with a free and appropriate education as mandated by law.

I thought that we had reached our lowest point in the journey when school staff filed a false report against me with child services in retaliation against me for hiring an attorney. My youngest child is still not recovered from the trauma of that incident. I am also disturbed by the number of families of color that have left the district. When families of color complain about how they are treated by the district, their address is verified. This whole situation has taken a toll on my health and the well-being of my family.

See links to other litigation relating to other SMMUSD Retaliatory Acts:

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/

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.

The SMMUSD’s Adversarial Posturing is Costing the SMMUSD Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Causing Unnecessary Harm to These Special Education Families.

THE SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT’S ENROLLMENT IS DECLINING WHILE THEIR DEFICIT IS RISING

2016-2017

The SMMUSD has total revenue of $100,088,426 with expenditures of $112,437,985 leaving the District with a $12.3 million deficit

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/the-smmusd-has-total-revenue-of-100088426-with-expenditures-of-112437985-leaving-the-district-with-a-12-3-million-deficit/

See PDF copies of the following:

1. Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District’s 2016/2017 Budget

2. News Article Concerning the SMMUSD’s $12.3 Million Dollar Deficit

1.

2ndInterimBudget1617

2.

School Board update on latest budget plan

For the 2016 – 2017 school year, SMMUSD has total revenue of $100,088,426 with expenditures of $112,437,985 leaving the district with a $12.3 million deficit.

According to the presentation, 86% of the budget goes to SMMUSD employees costs including salaries and benefits. Between 2015/16 and 2016/17, SMMUSD provided a combined salary schedule increase in excess of 8%. Health and welfare costs have increased between 5% and 6% each year. Lastly pension costs continue to increase and will exceed 19% and 24% by 2020.

For details, go to:

https://lawofficesofbarryfagan.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/think-tank-attacks-smmusd-salaries-transparent-california-released-data-showing-that-smmusd-employees-are-overpaid-by-as-much-as-40/

Now because we have the inefficient administrative performance, we have to cut, cut and cut.” said Santa Monica Resident Berenice Onofre.

See Link to News Article:

http://smdp.com/school-board-update-on-latest-budget-plan/160331

2015-2016

Enrollment Down, Deficit Up

SMMUSD facing projected $7.4 million deficit.

The Santa Monica-Malibu School District Board of Education stared down a $7.4 million deficit during a review of the preliminary budget for the 2015-16 school year.

The projected deficit weighing on a $94.9 million unrestricted general fund budget is due largely to a combination of proposed increases in special education and district-level staffing as well as the rising costs of employee benefits, reduced revenues for the district’s technical training program and an expected shortfall in annual fundraising.

Expenditures are forecast to top $102.3 million on the unrestricted general fund, which does not include restricted funds.

“We’ve got some hard numbers to swallow here,” board member Richard Tahvildaran-Jesswein said. “These numbers are problematic.”

The board’s study session came as the district prepares for the third year of its transition into the Local Control and Funding Formula program, which SMMUSD chief financial officer Jan Maez said puts more responsibility on the district to manage state funds.

The formula, which will be fully implemented by 2020-21, provides grants by grade level and supplemental money based on the number of English language learners, lunch discount recipients and foster youth.

Amid rising costs, the district is anticipating a slight decline in enrollment, from 11,295 students this year to 11,173 in 2015-16.

Administrators and board members expressed concern about the deficit and said the budget would have to be altered before being finalized.

And yet the SMMUSD has spent approx. $8,000,000 on lawyers and environmental and public relations consultants to “manage in place” the illegal contamination and try to convince the community that Malibu High/Middle Schools and Juan Cabrillo Elementary schools are safe.

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

Purchase-Orders-Approved-at-Board-Meetings2

On May 11, 2015 a Malibu Parent stated the following: ” Frankly I am concerned with how they manage money for all schools in our district. Appointing people to lead our funding who have foolishly squandered the money and do the blame game instead of problem solving is the real issue.” malibubeach posted at 6:27 am on Mon, May 11, 2015. The SMMUSD is now threatening to cut Art and other programs but is willing to spend $775,000 on attorneys (Pillsbury), and $3,225,000 on Consultants (Environ) who have been tasked with creating legal obstacles NOT to identify the sources of PCBs.

Sources:

See JD Supra Article dated May 21, 2015:

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-smmusd-has-spent-six-million-dollars-79259/

See May 9, 2015 Malibu Times Article entitled “Enrollment Down, Deficit Up”

http://www.malibutimes.com/news/article_7be91760-f5d8-11e4-94f5-0b2e1fa3b166.html

JUNE 29, 2015

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)

Regrettably, the SMMUSD does not spend their tax dollars wisely!

The SMMUSD has spent approx. $8 million dollars on lawyers and environmental expenditures rather than $100 per caulk test. Superintendent Sandra Lyon told the board at the December 11, 2014 board meeting that the District has approval to spend $600+ per hour and the use of Pillsbury Law Firm as legal counsel, and now the SMMUSD Board has given her carte blanche permission to spend unlimited amounts of money to protect their decisions. See list of SMMUSD expenditures to date: $8,000,000 and rising!
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July 15, 2015
Aug 12, 2015

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

Malibu Schools Drain $8 Million From SMMUSD In Legal Fees

For details, go to:

http://www.smmirror.com/articles/News/Malibu-Schools-Drain-8-Million-From-SMMUSD-In-Legal-Fees/45152

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