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Dear Board of Education and Dr. Drati:

We are writing to you because we believe in the strength of Malibu Elementary’s community, and we believe that we can survive this unprecedented crisis - but not without your help.

When our schools merged last year, we were promised that this would result in smaller class sizes. We were assured that no teachers would be lost, and no classes would be split. And yet we have learned that in the coming year the district plans to maximize class sizes, split at least once class, and has pink-slipped 2 beloved teachers at MES. Additionally, a THIRD teacher, Ms. Tafi, is being involuntarily transferred.

As a community, we have survived PCBs, fires and displacement, and now, along with the rest of the country, we are fighting to survive a pandemic. We should not, at this moment, be fighting for our teachers’ jobs - and our children’s educations - as well. We need your help.

These choices will, quite frankly, sound the death knell for Malibu schools. Under these conditions families new to the system will choose to enroll their children elsewhere - in schools where class sizes aren’t pushed to the extreme, and where the long-term needs of the children are prioritized over the short-term needs of the district. We simply cannot afford to lose a single student as we are still recovering from the fire; many families have not moved back yet as they have not been given permits to rebuild. Furthermore, maxed out class sizes (due to pink slipping two teachers) will mean that children who are seeking permits and whose parents wish to enroll them will be unable to do so.

The unique conditions imposed by Covid-19 suggest that we will have to create some degree of social distancing in our classrooms come fall, which will be challenging under any circumstances. With a reduced teaching staff and increased class sizes, maintaining these standards will be virtually impossible.

Malibu is not the same as Santa Monica. Santa Monica did not have half the teachers of an elementary school lose their homes; or have 25% of kids from Cabrillo lose their homes; 500 houses in Malibu were burned leaving people displaced. Please understand these differences and give us a chance to rebuild our school populations. I am asking that you rescind the pink slips that have been issued to Ms. Hammack and Ms. Harradine, and to stop the involuntary transfer of Ms. Tafi. This not only would retain their excellent teaching, but also reduce the high class sizes, which is something we were promised when the merger was being proposed and sold to the public.

In this moment of crisis for our society and our children, we need more educators and more support - not fewer, and not less.

Thank you so much for your hard work, consideration, and support of our community’s families.

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