The school year is drawing to a close, but the battle over chemical cleanup in Malibu rages on.

The local Board of Education is scheduled to spend half an hour of its closed session before Thursday’s meeting discussing with counsel the lawsuit brought against the Santa Monica-Malibu school district by parent groups and environmental activists.

The closed session comes two days after the suit filed by America Unites and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Downtown Los Angeles.

The court on Tuesday determined that no live testimony would be heard from board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre, according to a statement from SMMUSD spokeswoman Gail Pinsker. Foster and de la Torre are both named as defendants in the suit, but both have been critical of the district on environmental issues.

Post-trial papers will soon be filed by the plaintiffs and defendants, according to the district.

The plaintiffs, who have criticized the district for its handling of environmental testing and cleanup at Malibu schools, are seeking immediate removal of polychlorinated biphenyls following the discovery of the potentially hazardous chemicals more than two years ago. The district has since spent millions of dollars on consultants and legal fees.

“We are committed to … exposing the truth about PCBs in Malibu schools and putting officials across the country on notice that parents will not stand for their kids being poisoned in their classrooms,” America Unites leader Jennifer deNicola, a Malibu parent, has said.

The district has maintained that it is adhering to federal guidelines and argues that the plaintiffs’ concerns are misdirected.

“We are confident that we are following the law and directions of the Environmental Protection Agency and that our classrooms are safe for teachers and students based on EPA health-protective thresholds,” Pinsker said in a pre-trial statement.

“The plaintiffs in this lawsuit disagree with EPA’s regulation of school properties, and want to change the law. That dispute is not one for the district. As a regulated government body bound to follow the direction of the lead federal agency and established science, the school district shall continue to act in the best interest of its staff, students and teachers.”

The first trial date came in the wake of Lyon’s announcement that she’s stepping down as SMMUSD superintendent June 30. She has accepted an offer to serve as the top administrator for the Palm Springs Unified School District starting July 1.

Olympic upgrades

The modernization of Olympic High School appears to be moving forward.

The school board is expected to award the major project to Chatsworth-based Novus Construction, which submitted the lowest bid for the job at $5.6 million.

The district advertised the opportunity in mid-March, held job walks March 30-31 and received bids for the project in late April. In May, the district determined that Novus was the most affordable option.

Novus has worked on several other education and community facilities, according to its website, including a pool and classroom building at Diamond Bar High School, a multimedia training facility at Whitney High School in Cerritos and a sustainable science building at Westridge School in Pasadena.

Plans for upgrades at the district’s continuation campus were previously approved by the Division of the State Architect, a California oversight agency.

Officials have said they hope the project is complete before the start of the 2017-18 school year, and it’s anticipated that the campus will be closed this summer.

The renovations at Olympic are being funded by Measure BB, a $268-million bond approved by voters in 2006.

jeff@www.smdp.com