MOORPARK : Cities Lend Support in School-Land Suit

Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks have agreed to support Moorpark in its suit, which is now before the state Supreme Court, against the Moorpark Unified School District.

The two cities voted to sign an amicus brief supporting Moorpark's legal battle with the school district over about seven acres of school-district property that Moorpark city officials want to convert into a downtown park, the city clerks of both cities said.

The legal battle revolves around Moorpark's attempt to buy the lower athletic fields of the site at 280 Casey Road, which is temporarily home to Moorpark Community School.

The city claims that the Naylor Act entitles it to buy 30% of any surplus school-district property for 25% of the market value if it will preserve the property as open-space land. The school district has maintained that, in this instance, it is exempt from such a requirement.

A trial and appellate court have both ruled in favor of the city.

City Manager Steve Kueny recently wrote municipalities statewide asking for their support, because the Supreme Court decision may affect all California cities trying to purchase property from their school districts in the future.

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