Tentative settlement reached in Save the Park lawsuit against Cardiff School

Construction halted on the Cardiff School rebuild project in December.

On Jan. 21 a tentative settlement was reached in the lawsuit between Save the Park and Build the School and Cardiff School District which halted construction of the new Cardiff School last month. Details of the tentative settlement were not made public but construction may be able to get back once the final details are worked out.

“The parties continue to have productive confidential communications with one another while the terms of the settlement are being memorialized in a written agreement,” read a statement from the Cardiff School District. “The parties will have no further comment regarding the settlement until after the written agreement has been finalized and fully executed. Another joint statement will be issued at that time.”

In 2019, Save the Park filed the lawsuit against the Cardiff School District alleging an inadequate environmental impact report (EIR) for the Cardiff School rebuild. The lawsuit contends that the EIR failed to adequately evaluate the impact of the school project on George Berkich Park and that the district is constructing facilities that voters did not approve as part of Measure GG.

The San Diego Superior Court ordered the stop to construction in December after finding in favor of the Save the Park group’s claims that the district had not followed state environmental law and on “taxpayer waste.”

The Cardiff campus was demolished in June 2019 to make way for new classroom buildings to replace those that were 55-65 years old—the new school design includes maker spaces and an art lab, a new multi-purpose room, an increased parking and queuing area and reconfigured playfields. The Save the Park group has opposed the school building a multi-purpose room on the park land, encroaching into Berkich Park in violation of a federal agreement from a 1993 Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant. The agreement between the district and the National Park Service requires the district to maintain the land for recreational, public use in perpetuity unless a boundary adjustment is made.

The district continues to pursue approvals for the boundary adjustment from the California Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS) and the National Park Service.

Currently, kindergarten and first grade students are located in temporary classrooms at Cardiff School, second and third grades are now at the Ada Harris School campus. Construction of the new school was slated to be complete by spring 2021.