Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School and Los Altos School District attorneys must wait for a jurisdiction ruling before they continue the latest legal action over facilities.
After hearing heated arguments from the two parties, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia M. Lucas ended Thursday’s court session without rendering a decision on whether Bullis Charter School’s motion to compel is an appropriate procedure.
The charter school filed a motion July 3 to compel compliance with a 2011 ruling by the Sixth District California Court of Appeal regarding the school district’s 2009-2010 facilities offer to the charter school.
The charter school motion stated that the 2012-2013 facilities offer was not “reasonably equivalent,” as required by California law. The motion requested that the court compel the district to offer an existing campus as the only solution to achieve equivalency.
Lucas questioned the basis for her jurisdiction over the issue as presented.
“How could I compel (the Los Altos School District) based on the writ? How does that have anything to do with the Court of Appeal decision?” Lucas asked charter school attorney Arturo Gonzalez.
Gonzalez cited two previous cases that successfully argued that the court could find “full and final justice between the parties without the necessity of filing a new legal action.” He said that in both cases, the court allowed continuing legal action.
Lucas then asked Gonzales to define “continuing jurisdiction” and estimate its duration.
Gonzalez argued that without court action that would require the district to uphold the Court of Appeal decision, the charter school would be mired in a “Groundhog Day” situation, where they would have to resort to a new lawsuit each year to secure adequate facilities.
Los Altos School District Attorney Raymond Cardozo argued the differences in Gonzalez’s precedents compared with the current writ.
“Here is what is really going on – if you review this as an independent offer, (Bullis Charter School doesn’t) have a prayer,” Cardozo said. “Make them follow the ordinary path of procedure.”
If Lucas rules that the court does not have jurisdiction, then Bullis Charter School can either file a new lawsuit or appeal her ruling.
If she accepts jurisdiction, then another hearing could be scheduled for arguments based on the facilities issues, or Lucas could render a decision based on evidence already presented to the court. There is no timeline for the decision.