Year in Review: Education

SMMUSD’s ongoing PCB saga took several twists and turns. Polychlorinated biphenyls or PCB’s emerged in 2013. The substance has been used as a common building material for decades but was later banned after being found to be unsafe. The district maintained classrooms are safe and have been sufficiently cleaned while a coalition of parents argued the cleanup efforts are substandard and therefor a danger to parents, staff and students.


A judge ruled Malibu activists from the America Units for Kids organization acted illegally when they took unauthorized samples of caulk from classrooms. The court ruled the samples were inadmissible and ordered the organization to repay the district for the cost of repairs. The court also ordered the plaintiffs to pay for SMMUSD legal fees related to the district’s motion for sanctions.

The judge did not dismiss the overall lawsuit and the case proceeded to trial.

Both sides claimed victory following a judge’s ruling in the case.

The school district was ordered to remove all polychlorinated biphenyls from the two Malibu sites in question by the end of 2019, according to the decision handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Percy Anderson of the Central District of California.

The district said the ruling validates its modernization plans, which include the replacement of windows and doors in buildings constructed before 1979. The plaintiffs said the ruling proves the widespread existence of potentially harmful chemicals at the school sites.

Santa Monica College began offering a…

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