U.S. Department of Education

Office for Civil Rights

     A Public Records Act (PRA) request was submitted January 29, 2014 by Advocates for Open Government (AFOG) to Cabrillo Unified School District (CUSD, District) regarding the proposed Half Moon Bay High School Track and Field Project (Project).  Among the documents received on March 14, 2014 was an email from Ed Watkins, CUSD’s Measure S Bond Construction Manager, to Superintendent Roehrick written on July 10, 2013 (Attachment#1).  The email disclosed an agreement by Cabrillo Unified School District’s (CUSD, District) Superintendent Roehrick and Ed Watkins, to avoid filing a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for the Project and not to comply with provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
     Dave Lussier, an independent inspector, licensed by Division of State Architects (DSA) was hired by CUSD.  Mr. Lussier, who resides in Redding, a considerable distance to be able to actually act as an on-site inspector on a project in Half Moon Bay, has had a long relationship as an inspector with CUSD.  Mr. Lussier inappropriately agreed, to sign off on the need to acquire a CDP or involve the DSA in oversight of the Project (Attachment #2 link). The DSA should have been involved in this Project from its inception (Attachment #3). The Project was not a simple replacement of the artificial turf as was claimed by the District and Mr. Lussier in his communication with DSA (Attachment #4).  
     This Project easily exceeded the minimum criteria for DSA oversight as the Sports Complex has been seriously out of ADA compliance for decades.  This is likely the reason behind CUSD’s historic avoidance of CDPs and DSA oversight at most projects on this Project site.  AFOG’s attorney addressed our concerns about this apparent collusion to avoid state and federal laws in several letters to the CUSD administration, CUSD Board members and to the City of Half Moon Bay (City) staff, including the City’s legal counsel, Anthony Condotti.  
     On May 23, 2014 the City granted CUSD a CDP exemption for the Project despite AFOG’s legitimate legal concerns.  Due to a lack of response from all parties contacted by our attorney, and the legally suspect CDP exemption granted by the City, AFOG considered other options to guarantee that CUSD would comply with state and federal laws.  With AFOG’s legal concerns ignored, on May 27, 2014 AFOG filed an online complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) (Attachment # 5 link). 
     AFOG’s attorney had been in communications with Leroy Tam, DSA Regional Manager requesting his assistance on this matter.  Mr. Tam ordered a Field Investigation at the Project site on June 9, 2014. Three DSA employees, a Plan Reviewer, the DSA District Engineer and the Supervising District Engineer conducted the on site evaluation. These three officials found numerous ADA violations on the existing site of the sports complex with nothing in the proposed Project plans to resolve these issues (Attachment #6).  DSA shut the Project down a few days later.  Following this action, in a letter dated June 16, 2015, OCR determined that the AFOG ADA complaint was “appropriate for investigation” (Attachment #7). 
     Evidence of the existing ADA violations was submitted to OCR to substantiate our complaint.  Attorney communications to and from CUSD and the City, the DSA notated Project plans identifying the many ADA non-compliance issues were included as well as photos of the Project site (Attachment #8). 
     Following nine months of investigation by OCR, AFOG was notified in a letter dated March 20, 2015 of the conclusion of the investigation as CUSD “expressed interest in taking action to resolve the allegations in this complaint”. As a result, OCR concluded its investigation on condition of CUSD’s agreement to comply with a Resolution Agreement.  CUSD Superintendent Roehrick signed the OCR Resolution Agreement on March 18, 2015.  The letter assured us that OCR “will monitor the implementation of the Resolution Agreement” (Attachment #9).  A copy of the Resolution Agreement was included with the letter.  Compliance by CUSD with the terms of the Agreement is likely as OCR reserves the right to “initiate administrative enforcement or judicial proceedings to enforce the specific terms and obligations of this Agreement”
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Coastside AFOG,
Aug 2, 2015, 5:32 PM
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Coastside AFOG,
Aug 2, 2015, 5:32 PM
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Coastside AFOG,
Aug 2, 2015, 5:33 PM