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School District Files Response to Parcel Tax Lawsuit

Last week, the Alameda Unified School District filed a response to a lawsuit filed against the district over a 7-year parcel tax ballot measure that passed in March. The filing was six days late, coming after the August 4th deadline.

The district’s response, a mere 7 pages long, asserts that the parcel tax structure, which provides a $7,999 annual cap for large properties, is legal. Attorneys for the district also argue, as they did in filing intended to dismiss the case without being heard, which was overruled on July 28th, that the plaintiffs have no standing to file the action.

Last week, the school district wrapped up the administration of two past parcel taxes, and prepared to deal with the new tax, which property owners can expect to see on their tax bills this fall. For most property owners, they will pay $0.32 per square foot of building area in their home or building per year. (Property owners with more than 24,997 square feet of building space are capped out at $7,999 per year, yielding a lower effective per-square-foot rate as their building size increases.)

The school district’s court filing is reproduced below. The case is expected to go to trial next month.

AUSD Answer

2 comments to School District Files Response to Parcel Tax Lawsuit

  • Vania

    The reason for the lateness of AUSD’s attorneys filing an Answer to the Complaint is a real head scratcher. All of the text of the Answer was standard cut and paste which any competent litigation paralegal could have cut and pasted together in about 2 hours. The only thing novel are the “affirmative defenses” which are unique to defense of lawsuits by cities/counties/other public agencies. Even then, a competent litigation paralegal at a “municipal law firm” could cut and pasted together within such a 2 hour period, because they are boilerplate for public agency litigators.

    Though the public will never know the answer, it would be amazing to see how many hours of lawyer/paralegal time the AUSD is billed for this Answer.

    My standard response to late filed Answers, especially if they are late filed after a court-ordered deadline, is to file a motion to strike the answer and enter a default. That usually works, except when the judge realizes that it is a public agency which might lose a ton of money for defaulting on the case. So don’t get your hopes up folks. Superior Court judges are elected politicans too.

  • The next response due AUSD is August 29th, to reply to the plaintiff trial brief.