Before an emotionally charged room of 300 people at Tuesday night, the board of trustees voted unanimously to discontinue investments in the reconstruction project.
The decision was based off a letter sent by the California Geological Survey on March 27 that the agency would require more information regarding the proposed rebuild site before it could approve the project.
“The unfortunate aspect of that is that we are not sure we can come back with a positive outcome,” said Mike Kleams, a geotechnical engineer with Pacific Crest Engineering. “We are being required by CGS to use such conservative assumptions that we believe it’s unlikely that we are going to be able to do this project. CGS doesn’t want to be the ones to tell you that. They want us to tell you that.”
The problems CGS had with , sent to them in late February, were that there were “differences in interpretation of landslide geology” and that further slope stability analysis would be required.
The agency recommended obtaining additional information on the treatment of ground water conditions, the shear strength test of the Santa Clara formation and information on the magnitude and duration of the earthquakes analyzed in the report.
The next step, Kleams said, would be to meet with CGS to get clarity on their concerns. Based on this recommendation, the board voted unanimously to allocate $5,000 of to send a team to meet with agency representatives on how the site could be utilized if a school was not an option.
“I don’t think it’s a viable site,” board member Chris Miller said. “But we owe it to the community to at least have an initial meeting with CGS to at least find out what the parameters are of what we can do with the site if we can’t have children there.”
Board member Tina Orsi-Hartigan said it pained her to have to discontinue the district’s commitment to rebuilding Lexington, though she couldn’t see any other alternative.
“If we go down this path with CGS, if we ever get a yes there will be so many caveats it will shrink the school and not make it a school worth building,” she said.
The board voted unanimously to fold the objectives it held for the Lexington school project into its .
Because the board voted to halt work on the project, the district must move forward with its backup plan to place Lexington students at Fisher, which was already predetermined as interim housing for students.
The board voted unanimously to move forward with preparing Fisher to take in these students come August. It will review options for increasing the scope of the housing at its May 15 meeting.
More than 40 individuals addressed the board on the Lexington School issue. After the decision came down, supporters and opponents expressed dismay at the outcome.
“It’s been gut wrenching,” said Emi Eto, a parent of students at Lexington. “We just got stabbed in the back in a major way. It’s been so promising up to this point.”
Tom Thimot, who spoke against the project, said he felt for the Lexington community.
“The shocking thing is that after they voted not to do the school, it’s almost like a light went off that they have 180 kids that need to go somewhere,” Thimot said. “They’re going to stick them in portables at Fisher. The real malpractice is that what [the board] has done is that they had no plan B.”