[KHTS] – Hart district officials are expected to discuss the terms of a settlement with Citizens For Castaic over a lawsuit dating back to November 2012.
The lawsuit involves past concerns raised by Citizens For Castaic over the selected site for Castaic High School.
“The terms have been agreed to, but the board will discuss the ratification of the settlement (at the governing board meeting),” said Joe Messina, board member for the William S. Hart Union High School District Governing Board.
The terms are believed to involve settling legal costs and responsibility for certain property issues that were raised by the groups of residents who brought the suit forward, according to sources.
The details are expected to be discussed in closed session Wednesday at a governing board meeting.
The terms will not be disclosed publicly before the closed session discussion, Messina said.
Romero Canyon residents attempted to block access to groundbreaking ceremony for Castaic High School last May.
The initial court filing said CFC is not against the development of Castaic High School; however, it accuses the district of a “failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, and demands dual public access from the opening day of the school.
The district held a May 8 groundbreaking at the site, which plans to open to several hundred ninth-graders in August 2016.
A small handful of protesters picketed the ceremony.
“Many sites have been recommended and roadblocks have been overcome along the way,” said county Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich at the ceremony, noting that work for a Castaic High site began in earnest in 2001.
Richard Landy, president of CFC, the main opposition group, wrote a letter to Hart district officials dated Tuesday praising the efforts of the district, in particular, CEO Ben Rodriguez, for his skilled handling of the situation.
The groundbreaking went on as planned.
“The enormity of the new Castaic High School Project and associated improvements such as the access routes, drainage, sewer, water, etc. requires just such an experienced Staff Member as Ben,” the letter stated. “Other projects that we are not so well rehearsed on are taking place at the same time and we are positive that he is demonstrating the same level of leadership on those projects, as well.”
At the groundbreaking ceremony in May, several public officials expressed relief that a much-needed, and at times, controversial, process was taking the final steps toward completion.
“We went through nine sites, three superintendents, five board members, 12 senior cabinet members and more than 30,000 students trying to get this high school built,” Messina said, back in May.
The Hart district governing board oversees operations for all public junior high and high school sites in the Santa Clarita Valley, with the exception of Castaic Middle School, which offers seventh- and eighth-grade instruction.
Currently, Castaic area students alternate attendance between West Ranch and Valencia high schools.