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East County News Service

November 4, 2015 (Alpine)—Superior Court Joel Pressman today announced he will vacate his dismissal of a case filed by the Alpine  Union School District and Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability and set a status conference with counsel November 6th. 

The move comes on the heels of an appellate court ruling yesterday which found the Grossmont Union High School District violated its promise to build an Alpine High School and affirmed Pressman’s earlier order for the Grossmont district to set aside $42 million bond money sufficient to build the school, pending full adjudication of the claim’s merits at trial, as ECM reported.

Judge Pressman issued the following statement today, though his court reporter:

In light of the Fourth District Court of Appeal’s Decision on Appeal of the Preliminary Injunction, on its own motion, the Court vacates the dismissal entered on October 30, 2015 and will set a hearing to reconsider its ruling on Grossmont’s Summary Judgment.  The Court will also reconsider Plaintiff Alpine Union School District and Alpine Taxpayers for Bond Accountability’s Motions for Summary Adjudication.  Counsel are to appear on November 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm. for a Status Conference to set a further briefing schedule.

Ralf Swenson, Superintendent of the GUHSD, issued this statement on what he referred to as a “roller-coaster ride” on the series of rulings: “We remain optimistic that after further consideration of the evidence, the Court will come to the same conclusion as issued in the final ruling, and ultimately dismiss this matter.”

Superintendent Swenson included a statement from the District’s attorney, which reads, “It is apparent that the trial court is proceeding carefully in light of the Court of Appeal decision.  However, the Court of Appeal’s decision expressly contemplates that the trial court was and is entitled to consider additional evidence in considering the issues and it did so.  To say it most succinctly, the Court of Appeal affirmed the preliminary injunction.  It has left it to the trial court to decide the case on a full consideration of the evidence.”

Ian Friedman, attorney for Alpine Union School District, told East County Magazine, “The Alpine District is encouraged by the trial court’s recent reversal in light of the 4th appellate district court’s determination the language of propositions H and U contain a promise by Grossmont to construct a new high school in Alpine. We intend to continue all efforts to see these promises fulfilled with the construction of a new high school in Alpine.”




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Alpine v. GUHSD To Continue In Superior Court 12-17-15 at 9:30AM

Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman has set the date December 17, at 9:30 AM for a continuance of the Alpine v. GUHSD lawsuit. Interesting is this excerpt from CA Court of Appeals public document filed 11-3-15 >> "Grossmont has purchased the land for the building of the [Alpine] high school, which belies allegations that Grossmont never intended to construct the school. Further, Grossmont has set forth reasons for delaying the construction of the Alpine school. Further, there may be valid enrollment concerns and other economic reasons to justify delaying construction from the perspective [of] Grossmont. "However, a high school has been promised to voters at some point and there is an expectation that funds from [Prop.] U would be used to finance construction. This would be true regardless of what entity —Alpine or Grossmont—ultimately is responsible for the completion of the [high school]. Contrary to Grossmont's argument on December 5th, voters did not appear to vote for 'board discretion.' Voters voted for a bond (twice) that would include a new high school. "What is clear to the Court is that Grossmont represented to voters that a high school would be constructed at some point from proceeds from [Prop.] U ... The voters approved the bond with this understanding ... There was an expectation and understanding that a portion of the bond funds would be used for the purpose of high school construction. Thus, whether or not unification [of Alpine] is successful, funds from this bond are supposed to be used in part to build a high school ... The community [Alpine] expected, based upon the representations of Grossmont ... that bond funds would be used for construction. Funds should be preserved for this purpose."

Alpines WINS, GUHSD LOSES, at 4th District - CA Court of Appeals

As I understand this, the Fourth District Court of Appeals has issued an unusually detailed review of CA law. By my review, affirming Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman's initial $42 M preliminary Injunction against the GUHSD. This injunction is intended to reserve funds entitled to the Alpine K-12 Unified School District, upon the State Board of Education (SBE) granting its unification approval.

The SBE has yet to review and reach its decision on unification. The San Diego County Board of Education has already unanimously (5-0 affirmative) voted, and affirmed that Alpine may leave the GUHSD and build its own high school. SDCBOE recommended to the SBE that unification for Alpine be granted. Alpine meets all nine of nine of the CA Education Code unification criteria required under CA law.

Note also on page 18 of 18 the Appeals Court decision says, "Grossmont [The GUHSD] does not cite any case showing, or otherwise persuade us [THE COURT OF APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT], that the trial court abused its discretion by issuing a mandatory preliminary injunction in the circumstances of this case to preserve the status quo until the trial on the merits."

Further the CA COURT OF APPEALS said, "The order [the $42 Million Injunction] is affirmed. Alpine is entitled to costs on appeal." This is saying that GUHSD must reimburse Alpine its legal costs. This is entitled. Imagine that. This Higher Court opinion favors Alpine from its first page, through to its last, in all eighteen pages.

Bill Weaver,
Education Advocate & Parent

The basis for imposing the injunction stands!

In a welcomed and timely opinion from the Appellate Courts, in which their 18-page opinion gave pause to the recent trial court's ruling, the Alpine case got a much-needed life-line. The Appellate Courts affirmed the trial court's original arguments to impose the $42M injunction that would safeguard monies for the new school. This is no Di fferent then when the Board took action, themselves, to escrow monies for the new school.
However and most unfortunately, the Board would not follow through on their own directive to escrow the monies. Sadly, it took a lawsuit and the courts to enforce the matter. The Appellate Court's opinion is a must read!
The District can now do the right thing and stop pitting the entire District against a community that received the same voter support for their project as all other projects listed in the Prop U Bond Measure.