UPDATE: October 19th,
LITIGATION UPDATE -- LAWSUIT DISMISSED
After months of wrangling, MIT and VCUSD have arrived at a negotiated settlement regarding VCUSD's lawsuit to stop construction of new classrooms at MIT Academy. There are several elements that incorporate previous negotiations as well as issues directly related to the construction. It's not a perfect deal for MIT, but it clears the path to not only complete the permitting process for the new buildings, but also to move forward with the construction of new permanent buildings on the middle and high school sites.
The elements of the agreement are:
VCUSD has dropped the lawsuit.
VCUSD has extended our current lease for 99 additional years, until 2115 (!). This is a huge win for MIT and will allow us to move forward with permanent building construction AND a possible new campus somewhere down the line.
MIT agrees to pay VCUSD's legal costs of $80,000 (this in addition to our own legal costs of approximately $40,000). In exchange, VCUSD agrees to drop its opposition to MIT's receipt of a half-million dollars in state charter facilities funding.
MIT agrees to waive (with some exceptions for emergency) it's Proposition 39 rights for 10 years. This will preclude MIT from legally "laying claim" to any open or underutilized VCUSD campus.
In the end, MIT maintains its claim that it acted legally and completely within the spirit of the law, and that throughout all phases of design and construction the safety of students and staff was always the primary consideration. As such, the new facilities improve not only student safety but instructional quality as well.
MIT looks forward to its next exciting chapter as it begins the process of a permanent presence in Vallejo that will take it not only through the 21st Century, but into the 22nd Century and beyond.
MIT Academy and VCUSD continue to work together to address VCUSD's concerns about the new MIT facilities project. While all new construction meets DSA ("Department of State Architecture") standards, the issue now is that many of the old buildings and pathways that are attached or adjoining to the new buildings do not meet current DSA standards. MIT is working to bring these buildings, along with pathways and alarms, up to current DSA standards. VCUSD is monitoring our work closely and is offering facilities expertise when appropriate. Our next court date is Wednesday, September 7, when we will give Superior Court Judge Scott Kays an update on progress. Stay tuned!
After meeting with Superior Court Judge Scott Kays on Monday August 15th, both sides were directed to work together to create a "plan" to house students. Since construction is now done (minus a few punch-list items and improvements MIT Is going to install, such as fencing, cameras, and lighting), both sides recognize it's in the students' best interest to stay in their current facilities at MIT. Hence the district is working with MIT to secure the necessary sign-offs from the Department of State Architecture ("DSA") which is the state agency regulating school facilities and the "gold standard" for school construction. There is a sense of urgency here in that Judge Kays wants to see this matter resolved ASAP, and he has set a tentative next court date for Sept 7 for both sides to report in on progress to resolve the dispute. MIT is excited by this new development in that VCUSD has offered to help expedite the DSA approval process, which MIT welcomes, and which represents a level of cooperation that is certain to expedite a final resolution. And in the meantime, our students are enjoying the safest, most ADA compliant buildings MIT has ever had, so it's a win-win!
We will be certain to keep our parents apprised of any new developments.