If you haven't read through the 36-page response by the Pleasant school district to Judge George C. Hernandez's tentative ruling in favor of Signature Properties over building Neal Elementary School, you should. It's available online and makes for a good water cooler or after-work debate over where the school district should go next and how much more money should it spend to get there. Hernandez wasn't subtle in ruling that the school district never had an agreement for Signature to build the school, which back in 2002 had an estimated price tag of $8.5 million. When John Casey was hired that year to succeed Superintendent Mary Frances Callan, he found that the cost of building Neal had risen to $13.5 million, $5 million more than budgeted and the district could afford. He was also told that the ironclad construction agreement with Signature called the for developer to pay for anything over $8.5 million. As time wore on, the relationship between the school district and Pleasanton's premier homebuilder soured, with Signature finally taking legal action to clarify just what its obligations were. Last month, Hernandez ruled on the last of two Alameda County Superior Court complaints, agreeing with Judge Ronald Sabraw's earlier ruling that even the preliminary agreement to have Signature build Neal violated the state's competitive bidding law and therefore was null and void. Even so, Hernandez then looked at the numerous other claims and counter-claims filed over the course of the four-year litigation and ruled against the school district on every single count.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 11, 2008, 12:00 AM