Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
San Diego Unified suffers another legal setback over installation of stadium lighting at Hoover High School
Supreme Court turned down request to review the case. Case now heads back to Superior Court for final ruling.
California Supreme Court judges turned down San Diego Unified's request to review a previous court decision finding the use of Proposition S funds to install stadium lighting at Hoover High School violated the terms of the bond measure.
In 2008, 68 percent of voters approved Proposition S. The measure created an estimated $2.1 billion dollars needed to upgrade classrooms, replace aging plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning systems and improve school and playground safety.
A group of residents living in the quiet community of Talmadge, directly to the north of the football field, say nowhere does Proposition S say money could be spent on 90-foot light towers.
The use of Proposition S was not the only reason residents teamed up to take on the school district. The lights, they say, meant night events which in turn resulted in hundreds of additional cars flooding quiet and narrow neighborhood streets, noise, and crime, and trash to their neighborhood.
The decision is the district's second courtroom defeat in just four months time.
This past March, the Ninth District Court of Appeals found that the $800,000 to put up the lights should not have come from Prop S funds.
Of course, the residents, known as the Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending, are excited about the string of victories but also concerned that district officials will look to other similar bond measures, such as Prop Z, to pay for Hoover High's lights or the new light towers they plan to install at eight other local high schools.
"The Supreme Court supported the Court of Appeals decision to uphold the integrity of voter approved bonds. They essentially admonished the School District for pulling the wool over the eyes of the voters and spending money on stadium lights instead of repairing classrooms as stated under the bond measure,” stated the group's president and Talmadge resident Ron Anderson.
“I hope the District doesn’t simply try to shift money from Prop. Z, which has almost identical language. That would be in bad faith and would invite additional litigation.” The San Diego community looks forward to reviewing a full EIR to see if the lighting project might be constructed without adversely affecting the surrounding environment."
That puts some extra pressure on a budget-strapped school district. District officials have no options but to wait on the sidelines as the case heads back to Superior Court.
"The case is still pending," wrote Communications Supervisor Cynthia Reed-Porter in an August 8 email.
"The district completed construction of the Hoover High School Athletic Fields Upgrade Project after the Superior Court rejected all legal challenges from a neighborhood group in October 2011. Now that the case is being sent back to the superior court, we are awaiting a new order. The district will determine the next steps at that time."
More like this:
- Friday night lights (out!) — Jan. 9, 2015
- Friday Night Lights Out — Nov. 6, 2013
- Turn out the lights, night events are over at Hoover High School — Sept. 20, 2013
- San Diego Unified under fire for proposal to install stadium lights at Point Loma High School with Prop S funds — Sept. 18, 2013
- Judge denies San Diego Unified's request to rehear case over Hoover High's new stadium lights — April 28, 2013