- Published: Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Eureka City Schools (ECS) and Cutten School District (CSD) finalized a settlement agreement today, July 5, 2017, between the two school districts. In violation of Education Code, CSD enrolled nearly twenty-five percent of their population with students who reside within the attendance boundaries of ECS. As stated and mutually agreed to in the settlement: "...during many previous school years, Cutten has not fully complied with the processing requirements associated with interdistrict attendance by the children of Eureka families enrolled in Cutten Schools. This practice may have given rise to a number of potential claims and causes of action based in contract law, tort law and equity including Mandamus against Cutten and in favor of Eureka."
In December of 2016, this issue came to the attention of ECS. ECS approached CSD with a desire to settle the damage caused to ECS by the violation of the Education Code. Then County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Garry Eagles, mediated the settlement. From the beginning of the mediation process, ECS was clear they wanted to avoid legal action and were not interested in seeking financial compensation from CSD. ECS preferred resolving this issue with the implementation of enrollment management practices. Conversely, CSD offered to settle the case for a one-time payment of $260,000. After several months of mediation considering alternatives to fiscal compensation, ECS ultimately agreed to accept CSD's settlement offer. Dr. Fred Van Vleck, ECS Superintendent of schools said, “Due to their serious breach of the Countywide Interdistrict Agreement signed by Cutten and Eureka in 2012, it is likely we would have been awarded greater compensation if this matter had gone to court. We were able to reach a fair settlement for both Cutten and Eureka." Van Vleck further said, "I am pleased they recognized the situation as serious and worked with us to allow the continuous placement of students already attending a Cutten school."
Other terms of the two-year agreement include compliance training for CSD personnel on inter-district agreements, no building of classrooms to increase enrollment and no advertising for enrollment of new students. ECS also agrees to extend the County-wide Interdistrict agreement with CSD. This allows ECS resident students to attend CSD under the terms of the current countywide agreement.
For further information, please feel free to contact Fred Van Vleck, Superintendent of Eureka City Schools, at 707-441-2414.