(More odd and concerning decisions from the new Jefferson County School Board. This decision is part of a troubling financial trend, including a $400,000 loan to Collegiate Academy [yellow-flagged on district financials] and a $250,000 loan to Mt.Phoenix Charter [red-flagged on district financials]. Click here for more background. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
At the end of the executive session at the Jeffco Schools Board of Education meeting on Thursday, March 6th, no motion was made, so the district moved forward with filing the notice of appeal for the 2090 Wright Street property.
The Board majority then decided at the March 20th meeting, at a restaurant and with very little public discussion, they wanted to withdraw the notice of appeal, against the advice of the Capitol Asset Advisory Committee.
By unanimous decision, with one member recusing, the members of the Jefferson County Schools Capital Asset Advisory Committee (CAAC) wish to demonstrate our support for the Jeffco Schools’ appeal of the Jefferson County District Court decision relating to the property parcel known as 2090 South Wright Street.
Collectively, the CAAC has been following this case since its inception. We have reviewed the Court’s decision and believe the implications to the district are significant with far-reaching implications as it relates to Jeffco Schools’ ability to conduct long range planning, manage school district properties and construct future schools.
These potential implications could be harmful and expensive to the district if this order is allowed to stand, leading us to recommend the appeal as a prudent business decision to protect and restore our property interests.
CAPITAL ASSET ADVISORY COMMITTEE
[More after the jump]
The Wright St. property has been appraised at $1 million.
Withdrawing the notice of appeal hands this property over to Lakewood. (The City of Lakewood acknowledged early on the property was District property and they didn’t want to take it from the district)
Setting a precedent and making the Rooney Ranch Elementary property vulnerable.
The property Rooney Ranch Elementary is built on was part of the ODP (deeded to the district by the Hutchison Homes Builders at the same time/in the same transaction as the Wright St. property – 1977.)
Not that any entity (Lakewood or residents) would do it, but if they wanted to, they could have legal grounds to demand Rooney Ranch Elementary be torn down and the property handed back to Lakewood. The court’s ruling has implications for other district properties, this means there are other cases in Jeffco (estimated to be 11 sites) where schools have been built on deeded property by a builder in a residential area and where they could be challenged.
Other facts behind this story:
1) There are two appraisals on Wright St.
One done by the state, when the BEST grant was originally issued to the Rocky Mountain School for the Deaf for purchase of the land & building their charter school. The appraisal – specifically for the purpose of building a school (for the BEST grant)- is $500,000.
The second appraisal, done by the RMSD, takes into account multiple uses of the property, including residential development. This appraisal – for multiple use – is $1 million.
2) Attorneys’ fees
Because of the challenge brought by the 2090 Coalition, the district has been forced to defend it’s ownership. It has been speculated, the board majority will claim the district has spent, and is spending too much money on this appeal where the land is valued at $500,000 (the appraisal by the state specifically for the BEST grant).
Caplan and Ernest, the law firm representing the district interests, offered to handle this case pro bono.
Now that the school board majority has voted to have the district withdraw the notice of appeal and give this property to Lakewood worth $1 million, there should be serious questions concerning how they are violating their fiduciary responsibility.
This too should be added to the list of questionable financial decisions they have made since taking office.
OTHER PERTINENT FACTS:
1. The School District initiated a quiet title action for property on which a facility for the Rocky Mountain Deaf School could be located. The School District named the City of Lakewood as a defendant who might claim an ownership interest in the property. The City disclaimed any interest in the property. Adjacent landowners and others sought leave to intervene, asserting that the City did own the property and that the property could only be used for parks and open space.
2. The case proceeded to a trial to the court. The City and School District agreed that the School District owned the property. The Intervenors argued that the City owned the property. The court ruled that while the School District held the record deed for the property, the City owned the property by virtue of a planning document that had been submitted as part of a rezoning request, and that the City could only use the property for parks and open space. The court’s ruling has implications for other district properties.
3. The School District filed a notice of appeal to preserve the School District’s ability to seek appellate review of the court’s decision.