SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

PRESS RELEASE

 

CONTACT:  Gail Pinsker                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

310.450.8338, ext. 70230                                                       13 FEB 2015

gpinsker@smmusd.org

 

 

SMMUSD RELEASES TESTING RESULTS FOR MALIBU SCHOOLS

 

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has released an update on recent winter indoor sampling activities related to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at Malibu High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School.

 

The report, authored by the district's environmental consultant Environ (available here), concludes that the district's best management cleaning practices have led to indoor air and dust wipe sample test results that are below the USEPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Region IX's exposure thresholds indicating that classrooms continue to be safe for students and staff.  In most cases no PCBs were detected in the samples.

 

The Board of Education will hold a study session on the environmental issues at both schools at the regularly scheduled board meeting on March 19, 2015, at 5:30 pm at Malibu City Hall. The board will hear a report from Environ detailing the status of the investigations,  summary of the cost of the indoor and outdoor investigations relative to the government overseen testing and results; status with the DTSC and EPA, including the approved remediation of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) regulated caulk, and future environmental activities. 

 

The board will discuss the district's plans for moving forward with the EPA agreement outlining additional remediation efforts. As reported on the district's website: http://www.smmusd.org/PublicNotices/Malibu.html, SMMUSD continues to follow the plan agreed upon with the EPA in compliance with TSCA.

 

Upcoming plans include removal and replacement of all caulk in four classrooms and the woodshop at Malibu High School by June 30 and the plans for the voluntary removal of light fixtures at Malibu High School prior to school reopening after summer break in August 2015. The woodshop continues to be closed.

 

Questions about the health of our schools continues to be posed. State, local and federal agencies with expertise and oversight in the areas of public and environmental health have all reviewed the relevant data and concluded that the schools are safe to occupy. 

 

We agreed with the community that questions raised about the health of our buildings needed to be answered, so we engaged those with expertise in this area and invested significant funds in the thorough investigation of the school environment – both in the classrooms and throughout the campus. After reviewing this most recent test data, the experts at EPA confirmed our facilities continue to meet established health standards. 

 

We have reached out to America Unites (formerly Malibu Unites) regarding their independent testing so we may verify the information provided to us. Assuming the sample locations and results can be verified, any caulk in exceedance of TSCA standards will be removed under EPA oversight and subject to EPA approval. The Board of Education is elected to establish policy regarding education, including academic goals, instruction, services and resources; it is not elected to set highly technical, and sometimes subjective, environmental policy. The Board of EducationŐs actions are based on existing law and state and federal policy – the board does not act on speculative future standards. 

 

We understand the concerns of America Unites. However, it is clear that they are not satisfied with the district meeting current federal and state health standards.  Instead they want to change existing environmental health standards and laws. We encourage America Unites and other concerned parents and community members to take their concerns and evidence supporting those concerns to legislators, who in turn will have the ability to consider the evidence and potentially change the current laws.  But until that change occurs, the district is bound to follow the statutes and policies currently endorsed by responsible state and federal regulators 

 

It is every Americans' right to advocate for change, but this case, that change must be made by a body with expertise and oversight in the areas of public and environmental health. If America Unites' goal is to change health standards and move environmental regulation down a new path, they should focus their advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels where these topics rightfully belong.

 

SMMUSD continues to hold the health of our students and staff as our first priority. The district's investment with its engineering experts, expansive investigation, and interactions with local, state and federal environmental authorities establish this point. As the district continues to meet state and federal laws while modernizing and updating our schools and classrooms, we are able to focus on our area of expertise, that of educating children.

 

 

 

####

 

SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

1651 16TH Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404

ph: 310.450.8338; fax: 310.581.1138

www.smmusd.org