In its objections to that ruling, the district appears to be setting the stage for an appeal if Hernandez's final ruling, expected at any time, discounts its objections and sticks with the tentative decision. The board has called a special meeting for 9 a.m. Monday to discuss its strategy, again behind closed doors at it's entitled to do. With several million dollars in taxpayer money at stake, the district must weigh the cost of an appeal, which could total up to a quarter-million dollars versus accepting the Superior Court ruling and ending the litigation. There's plenty of time to think this through. After the final ruling, Hernandez then will assess damages, and it's then that the district will have at least 30 days to decide on an appeal.
What's worse for taxpayers is that the Pleasanton school district's risk sharing funding pool with other districts in the state covers specific liability and catastrophic claims, not legal disputes over construction agreements. The most Pleasanton may recover appears to be $100,000, with any other payments to come from the district's capital improvement budget. If there was a ray of hope that the state Court of Appeal might overturn Hernandez, the $250,000 might be worth it. But even if the district wins on appeal, it's likely the Appellate Court would send the case back to the trial court for another round, which, of course, would add more costs.
Sometimes, though, it's when bitter disputes are finally resolved in a court of law that both parties find they can talk again. After all, Signature has been an important contributor to Pleasanton, and the school district is really financed by the same people Signature serves. Surely there's a way the two sides can bury the hatchet and resolve their differences in the best interests of our community. It's worth a try. To read the tentative ruling, go to http://apps.alameda.courts.ca.gov/domainweb/index.html and click on Case Summary, entering case number RG03113375.