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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."

--http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

--http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

--http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

--http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/20...

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Comments

monaghan Aug. 8, 2013 @ 4:12 p.m.

This School Board has played fast and loose with bond monies for a while, including giving $20 million from the last bond measure to help build ex-Mayor Sanders' trophy Downtown Central Library on the pretext of its containing a school -- a charter school without a sponsor, at that. This action was followed by some-smoke-and-mirrors manipulations which "repaid" the $20 million to the bond pot from some other funding source.

Principals at secondary schools who do stuff like this with ASB monies get disciplined. But this Board of Education just skates. 90-foot light towers over athletic fields were never before considered bond-eligible expenses. Today, anything goes.

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community_watch Aug. 8, 2013 @ 4:59 p.m.

This is not just happening in Talmadge. Other communities such as El Cerrito and Point Loma are also negatively affected because the district plans to install permanent field lighting at Crawford and Point Loma High Schools as well. Unlike other schools in the district Hoover, Crawford, and Point Loma High School reside within dense residential communities with narrow streets where school onsite parking is almost non-existent. Permanent lights installed at these schools will forever change those communities.

Learn more at:

http://www.tfasbs.org
http://propointloma.wordpress.com/home/

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community_watch Aug. 8, 2013 @ 5:48 p.m.

It is correct that the parties are now re-appearing before the Superior Court to get an appropriate order, injunction, and judgment consistent with the Court of Appeal decision that the decisions and actions of the District were illegal.

The District decided to construct the project and took a risk doing so irrespective of the pending lawsuit, and did so at the risk a court would ultimately deem it illegal.

TFASBS is confident that an appropriate injunctive order will be issued by the Superior Court in the next 30-40 days enjoining the District from using and/or ordering removal of the illegal aspects of the project, unless and until full compliance with California law environmental and Constructional can be obtained.

TFASBS also believes a court is unlikely to allow and reward the District's illegal conduct and actions in any way by allowing continued maintenance and use without full legal compliance.

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daisydukes Aug. 8, 2013 @ 11:25 p.m.

Dorian - Could you do some investigation to find out what became of Prop MM funds - have they been completely spent, and exactly what on? When will Prop MM, and all subsequent school maintenance bonds, such as Prop S and Prop Z, be paid off?

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Visduh Aug. 9, 2013 @ 8:11 a.m.

Two points come to mind here. First is that while the high schools serve the neighborhoods in which they are located, in this case the desires of the most immediate neighbors around the campus were ignored. Since school boards and their hired toadies always know best, they can claim that the educational experience at Hoover would be diminished without having a lighted stadium. Yet, a few years ago, Hoover wasn't even fielding a football team. So, why does it require a lighted stadium? I'm sure that the idiot haven on Normal Street (aka district headquarters) has some set of talking points, but that doesn't mean it is actually needed, or that it will be used often enough by the school to justify the outlay.

Second is that, even in tight budget times, and when the district is massively borrowing, sports seldom go on short rations. No, there are important things, and then there are IMPORTANT things. Instructional support, class sizes, equipment, and facilities are cut, but sports chug merrily along with generous funding. And so it is here: the stadium and its lights are exempt from austerity. Anything done to support the sports program, weak as it may be at that school, has to go forward, and bending the rules of how bond money was to be spent is par for the course.

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monaghan Aug. 11, 2013 @ 9:08 p.m.

How about if School Board President John Lee Evans is asked to resign? He's recently suggested that for another public official: what's good for the goose is good for the gander. And unlike the other official, Evans is responsible for misusing district money on stuff like this while class size has risen every year he's been in office.

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