California school district is demanding Ventura County Christian School (VCCS) vacate the school’s premises, saying one building is structurally unsafe for students

A school district in California is attempting to close down a private Christian school, citing concerns about the safety of the building, which the school maintains are unfounded.

The Ventura Unified School District (VUSD), which is located just to the north of Los Angeles, is asking that Ventura County Christian School (VCCS) quit the premises of the school because it believes that one of the buildings on the property poses a structural risk to the kids.

On August 19, three days before classes were scheduled to begin, the district informed the school that it would not renew the school’s lease for the property because the district believed that the facilities posed a threat to the students’ safety.

Marieanne Quiroz, a spokeswoman for the school district, was quoted in the Ventura County Star as saying, “We recognize the tough timing of this.”

“We did everything in our power to make concessions for the school, and we will continue to do so in the future.”

Since it opened thirty years ago, they have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into making it a successful institution. Last week on the weekend, the head of the district board of education, Sabrena Rodriguez, stated, “I understand that passion and sense of loss.” However, as a public entity, the school system has very defined guidelines to follow for the judgments that it must make.

The school has responded, stating that the district’s assertion about the students’ safety is false.

“The notion that the classroom is risky is simply not shared by any of us. “We have a feeling that there are other agendas at play,” said Perry Geue, the principal of the school.

The school made the decision to go against the wishes of the district on August 29 and invited pupils back to start the new school year nonetheless. The response from the district was a notice to evacuate the premises within three days’ time.

Over the course of more than two decades, the school has rented the buildings from the district; however, that arrangement came to an end in June. Before committing to another long-term lease, the district had communicated to VCCS that it desired to do an additional safety assessment first. The district had the school undergo a safety review as recently as September 2021, and it concluded that the building could be used by students without risk.

VCCS noticed that the district had included a “Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity” clause in the new lease while they were in the process of negotiating for the new lease. The school was concerned that this clause might prevent them from hiring only Christian teachers or teaching a Christian curriculum.

The principal warned that there was a possibility that they may be required to hire educators who did not adhere to a Christian perspective.

According to the school’s attorney, the institution thought they still had an agreement even after they asked the district to delete that paragraph but went ahead and paid two months’ worth of rent anyway.

The district then informed VCCS, three days before school was set to start, that the new June safety study determined the school facility to be hazardous, and that they would not renew the lease.

However, the recommendation made by the safety study was not for the school building to be evacuated at this time. It did recommend conducting more thorough inspections as well as the addition of additional supports and bracing.

In response to this, the school decided to commission an additional independent business to carry out an inspection of the school building.

According to the report that was commissioned by the school district, “While further study of the building is prudent, nothing on-site or in the recommendations by the [district-commissioned report] warrants vacating the facility at this time.” This was stated in the report that the school district had commissioned.

A lawyer for the school, Ron Bamieh, referred to the safety reasons made by the district as “baseless” and “totally false.” He also suggested that the district may have other motivations.

According to Bamieh’s comments to The Daily Wire, “VCCS has operated at that location for 22 years, and during that time, no issues or concerns have ever been voiced concerning the safety of the school.”

Bamieh called this a “subterfuge” in his statement. “VUSD just lacks the courage to be perceived as closing a Christian school because they want to sell that property so the City can build low-cost housing: or because they know those kids will have no reasonable alternative but to re-enroll in public school and they will benefit from the boost of enrollment of 200 kids in their school system.” [Citation needed] “VUSD just lacks the courage to be perceived as closing a Christian school because they want to sell that property so the City can build low-cost housing.”

In the meantime, the district has implemented a rent increase, which Bamieh claims had to be expected. The school is trying to remain financially stable despite this development. According to the principal, the amount of money spent by VCCS on various repairs and improvements to the school over the past two decades has contributed significantly to the spectacular rise in the property’s value that has been observed.

The school paid $2,000 per month in rent for the first 18 years that it rented the facilities. Beginning in 2019, the cost will increase to $4,000 per month, and then it will go up to $12,000 per month under the current contract. At first, the district intended to assess the school a fee of $27,000 each and every month.

Bamieh stated that the private Christian school does not violate the nondiscrimination section in the constitution.

The attorney stated that because VCCS is a private school, they have the legal right to freely exercise their faith as they see fit. “Any government entity that attempts to impede that activity has encroached on that freedom, and what they’re doing is illegal.”

At the same time, the attorney stated that he does not underestimate the opposition presented by the institution.

“Any lawyer who fights a large governmental agency would be a fool not to be concerned about the effect of huge resources, connections, and the power the government brings to the outcome of any legal matter,” he said. “Any lawyer who fights a large government agency would be a fool to not be concerned about the effect of huge resources, connections, and the power the government brings.”

The school is now holding a fundraiser in order to collect funds for the legal expenditures that are related with the school’s fight to remain open.

A parent who has two children enrolled at VCCS and who has been an active advocate for the institution, Jenn Plew, stated that she receives the impression that the district is “looking for ways to get the school out.”

She expressed her views on the matter to The Daily Wire, saying, “I feel that VUSD is being a bully and I want to teach my family and community that we must take a stand against bullies.”

She stated that everyone ought to be aware that their children were loved by their parents. “What I mean is that we are paying for their education and have made the decision to send them to this particular school for a specific purpose. We would never knowingly put kids in danger like that!

The mother continued by saying that despite the legal battle, her family has opted to continue attending VCCS because they were impressed by the school’s “passion and devotion to the children, families, and school.”

She uttered the words, “It is my belief that God has a plan for this school.”

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