Due to the fact that there is current litigation and this is a “Closed Session Issue” there are at least a handful of unknowns that any board member or prospective board member would need in order to fully understand how a best step forward would need to look. Closed session issues are discussed during the closed session portion of board meetings for legal and confidentiality purposes, and in-depth information is not as readily available to the public. Those that know can’t fully share, and those that do share don’t fully know. This makes for a tricky situation.
I will share what I understand to be true, but even that is limited as I am not (yet) privileged to be in on these discussions.
I know that years ago, when the contract surrounding this matter was created, it called for a 300-student threshold of Rosedale students enrolled in the district to be on the books prior to the construction of the school. The major issue lies with the fact that this threshold does not appear to be met. If it were, there would likely already be a school build in the works.
This past week I actually met with a Rosedale executive that provided me with additional insight, but I am aware of the likelihood of bias, even if it be ever so slightly, and the info must be taken with a grain of salt. I have yet to converse directly with the district about the issue, and again they may be legally prohibited from doing so on this side of the election. Know that all of this colors my perspective.
As I understand it, the school district, through a collection of lawsuits, sued the city and the developers as the project had come nearer to completion with no school in sight. I believe this was to put a moratorium on permits being granted through a provision in the contract. The court set aside a larger segment of those suits to first address the lawsuits that named the city. As you may be aware, these cases can take years to come to a resolution.
The case against the city was dismissed at the lower court, and the district later appealed. More recently, the case against the city was dismissed at the court of appeals. The district has about a month to appeal to the California Supreme Court and that court must also decide to take up the case. Otherwise, the precedent will likely stand. The other segment of cases are set to begin late Spring of 2019. Those cases could take another 2+ years to be settled in the court.
It’s my understanding that there are “impact fees” that developers typically pay to districts in communities where they are building. This contract, however, called for a school to be built in lieu of those fees being paid. But again, in order for this to happen, the threshold of 300 students must be met.
As I have spoken with various Rosedale residents, I heard a good number of families with kids who want the school to be built, but are also choosing to send their kids elsewhere until it is. Catch 22. The school won’t be built until the threshold is reached, but the threshold may not have yet been reached due to the fact that a school has not been built.
From my limited perspective, things appear to be very stuck right now. Some things I still need to investigate for myself include:
- What is the current status of the 300-student threshold and how exactly is it calculated?
- What is the hoped-for outcome of the district by filing the lawsuit?
- How much money has been spent on these suits so far, where have the monies come from to cover legal fees, and does the hoped-for outcome justify their allocation?
- What are the actual wishes of the community?
- What creative alternative solutions are all parties willing to work toward that are beneficial to most, if not all, involved?
I’m very aware of the facts that:
- I don’t have all of the pieces.
- I don’t know all of what I don’t know.
- Any one board member’s “plan” doesn’t amount to much without a voting majority and compromises made by other involved parties.
If I were to say that I had a plan at this point, it would be to:
- Learn more about my unknowns from above.
- Bring sufficient representation of the parties together to brainstorm about potential alternative solutions.
As an example, I know that if a school is not built, there still exists the potential of millions of dollars being paid to the district. I wonder if these funds could be used to greatly upgrade Dalton Elementary as well as offset the need to make SERIOUS budgetary cuts (9M) over the course of the next 3 years. Would this be sufficient for a majority of the Rosedale community? What could be done to make them send their kids there? What would we do with the land, then, in Rosedale? Who would own it?There are just WAY too many moving pieces and unknowns to REALLY take a position on this one. Much of this is still developing and could end up being decided in court anyhow.
What’s your plan for the Rosedale situation??….update on schools not build and lawsuit?