America Unites For Kids (formerly Malibu Unites) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) have filed a lawsuit against the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District regarding their handling of PCBs at Malibu High School, sources confirm.
State law requires an announcement of future litigation followed by 60 days to allow for mediation with the idea that the suit may be found unnecessary. The lawsuit, which was nearing the end of its 60 day notice period, was filed today, according to America Unites for Kids founder Jennifer deNicola.
There was some speculation as to whether the groups would go through with the case, which they first threatened in August 2014, but in January deNicola expressed confidence that if demands weren’t met, the SMMUSD would be served.
“We intend to file a lawsuit if the district does not test the caulking in all classrooms in buildings built before 1979 and remove all PCBs over 50 parts per million, in compliance with federal law, because students and staff have a right to be in a safe environment,” deNicola said in January.
Since high PCB levels at Malibu High School came to light in October of 2013, a heated debate has erupted as to the safest way to proceed with testing and cleanup.
PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were a common building material in the mid-20th century, but were later discovered to be hazardous substances and were broadly banned.
The issue was addressed for the first time on a school board agenda on Thursday, March 19, at which time the environmental consulting company Environ presented findings and options for remediation to the SMMUSD board.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Malibu Times.