Dear Parents, Principals, Staff and Malibu School Community Members,
I would like to update you on the efforts of the School District to address the ongoing review and evaluation of environmental issues at Malibu Middle and High School and Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. As many of you know, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Toxic Substances Control have been working collaboratively with the District to put in place a plan that will ensure that we complete a comprehensive testing and remediation program for both schools. With the help of members of the community, we selected a highly reputable firm (Environ) that is currently designing the testing plan and working with the federal and state agencies to make sure that we meet the strictest and safest guidelines for schools. Also, I have instructed Environ to put in place an aggressive community outreach and communication plan in conjunction with the regulatory agencies so that each and every step of this process will be open and transparent.
Community Input — All questions and concerns can be submitted directly to Environ via SMMUSDEnvironmentalInput@environcorp.com. I hear your sense of urgency and encourage you to get your questions to Environ as soon as possible. This input will be considered as Environ develops recommended action plans, which will be presented to the Board of Education at public meetings. Let me clarify, the Board and public will hear the plan and have an opportunity to comment on it before testing and implementation begins.
Testing Requirements/Cleaning — We listened to the community and we have asked that testing occur for air, soils and potential contaminants that have been identified in earlier testing. You asked that this process move swiftly. While I wish the process was further along, I have instructed Environ to act with a sense of urgency, but also to take into consideration that we want the plans and testing to be right. Though testing conducted last fall identified potential sources of contaminants, we were encouraged that in late January, after cleaning and retesting the schools, federal and state agencies saw significant reductions in identified contaminants, far below the federal guidelines for safe schools. The community asked for this initial cleaning of selected areas of the school, which is why we concluded the first such cleaning over the winter break.
Healthy Schools For All — I am also happy to say that this process will result in what EPA terms Best Management Practices for cleaning and maintenance at all of our schools. This means that we will be working collectively with teachers, custodians and the community to see that all schools are safe and clean and remain so.
In late October, when I first met with the community I made a personal commitment to address your questions, engage experts who will look for solutions and assist us in implementing them. While it has taken longer than I had hoped, and while we have had to adjust our effort as we have learned more, we are on the right track, and it is important that every member of the school community understand that we are committed to making sure your children and our staff are in safe and healthy environments every day. We must let the process proceed, with state and federal oversight. My staff and I are happy to listen to any of the community’s concerns and look forward to working together with parents, teachers and community members to provide the best education possible. Please feel free to reach me through Sarah at (310) 450-8338 Extension 70243. I will do my best to have each question answered in my weekly updates to the community.
Sandra Lyon Superintendent