BHUSD Action: LAUSD & BHHS

Media Contact:

Rebecca Starkins

Director of Public Relations, Beverly Hills Unified School District 

(310) 551-5100, ext 2321

rstarkins@bhusd.org

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

November 13th, 2020

 

BHUSD Files Quiet Title Action Against LAUSD to Avoid Loss of Beverly Hills High School to LAUSD’s Ownership Claim Over Most of the Campus

 

Action Seeks to Secure District’s Title to the Historic Front Portion of Beverly Hills High School

 

November 13th, 2020 – Beverly Hills, CA – The Beverly Hills Unified School District (“BHUSD”) today announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”) which claims ownership over most of the Beverly Hills High School (“BHHS”) campus leaving the BHUSD a small portion of the back of BHHS.

 

As part of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (“Metro”) Purple Line extension underneath BHHS, Metro filed an eminent domain action to obtain ownership of the BHHS property sufficient to build under it. BHHS was once part of the Los Angeles City High School District (“LACHSD”), one of LAUSD’s predecessor school districts. When the people of Beverly Hills voted to withdraw BHHS from LACHSD in 1934, LACHSD transferred control of BHHS the following year, but failed to transfer title to the BHHS property.

 

Although LACHSD did not contest title to BHHS when control was transferred in 1935, 85 years later, LACHSD’s successor, LAUSD, is claiming possession over most of the campus, including the front most iconic parts of the campus. LAUSD’s aim appears to be to exact a part of the eminent domain money Metro owes BHUSD for tunneling under BHHS.

 

BHUSD has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into renovating and upgrading the facilities and abandoning old oil wells, but LAUSD only seeks the eminent domain money and takes no responsibility for the State Funds, Measure E, or Measure BH money that has been put into the campus that LAUSD now claims.


Counsel for LAUSD, Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw and Pittman, announced LAUSD might be willing to pay the costs expended on the BHHS campus given LAUSD’s complete ownership and control of the BHHS.

 

LAUSD’s intent to take over BHHS shocks the conscience and seeks to disable BHUSD’s only high school.

 

LAUSD’s claim is not just contrary to any sense of equity or fair play, it is also contrary to the law. School Code section 2.453, in effect in 1935, provided that upon the withdrawal of territory from a school district, school buildings and real property in the territory become the property “of the district of which such territory becomes a part or the whole.” The law today, Education Code section 35569, provides the same result. Therefore, title should have been transferred to BHUSD long ago.

 

BHUSD has sued LAUSD to quiet title pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1060. Success in the lawsuit would legally establish what is readily apparent: the BHHS property (which includes the historic campus buildings, historic lawn, and Swim Gym featured in world renowned movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” belongs to BHUSD. LAUSD’s latest court filing argues that there is a 4 day difference in the applicability of School Code section 2.453 claiming the bill was signed by the governor on July 5, 1935, and the property transfer was supposed to take place on July 1, 1935, and thus LAUSD still owns the property. BHUSD anticipates this far-fetched argument will fail, since the legislative history of School Code section 2.453 clearly establishes that the legislature’s intent was to ensure property transfers accompanying territorial transfers in 1935 took place smoothly.

 

BHUSD is confident that its ownership of its High School will be confirmed.

 

About Beverly Hills Unified School District:

 

The Beverly Hills Unified School District consists of three TK-5 Elementary Schools, one 6-8 Middle School and one 9-12 High School. The TK-12 enrollment is approximately 3,300 students.

 

The district employs approximately 320 certificated and 234 classified personnel. The staff is extremely dedicated and highly qualified.

 

BHUSD is recognized nationally as a leader in education. Students have consistently scored far above national averages on standardized achievement tests.

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