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Muir Parents Face Tight Deadline to Relocate Students

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Jorge Casuso

June 8, 2022 -- Parents of the approximately 250 students at John Muir Elementary have until next Friday to find another school for their children for the upcoming school year, District officials said Wednesday.

The Santa Monica public school -- where more than 60 percent of the students are minorities and nearly 40 percent are poor -- must undergo extensive repairs due to severe water damage and mold.

"We understand that this is not what any of us expected to be facing at the end of a school year," District Superintendent Ben Drati wrote in a letter to Muir parents and Guardians.

The announcement came two days after the School Board at a special meeting Monday directed District staff to implement a relocation plan for students at the school at 2526 Sixth Street in Ocean Park.

Under the plan, students will be moved to Will Rogers Learning Community some ten blocks away in Sunset Park.

Parents also have the option "to apply for transfer to another SMMUSD school, namely Grant, Roosevelt, McKinley or Franklin," Drati said.

Families can also opt to transfer their children to the District's two Malibu elementary schools.

For those who do not submit a transfer request by June 17, their child "will be automatically enrolled in Will Rogers for the fall," Drti said.

"This short timeline is necessary for us to coordinate all aspects of this transition," he wrote.

Families who are currently enrolled in after school care will only have a guaranteed childcare space at Will Rogers in the upcoming school year.

"If you are interested in another school site we will NOT be able to guarantee your child(ren) a childcare space," Drati said.

The District has scheduled tours of Santa Monica campuses next week that allow families to "visit some classrooms and shared campus spaces such as playgrounds, auditoriums and libraries."

Families who live outside the District whose children attend Muir with an interdistrict permit must submit a new permit application.

"If we do not receive a new interdistrict permit application from you, we will not assign your child a school placement for fall 2022," Drati said.

The relocation plan was put in place after failed attempts to repair damage from severe water intrusion at the Muir E.S./SMASH campus that had persisted since it was built in the mid 1990s, officials said.

During modernization construction, additional problems were uncovered, "including past water intrusion and mold growth that was abated."

Rains in December revealed the "depths of the problem" and a water intrusion expert's report "detailed the extensive repair work
necessary to make the campus watertight."

According to a power-point presentation at Monday's special meeting, "The repair work will take years to complete" and will require sections of the campus to be vacated.

Under the relocation plan all of SMASH's approximately 330 students will be relocated to Olympic High School two blocks away.

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