A judge in Sacramento County on Wednesday ruled on the side of a football team and its backers, noting that Santa Clara school officials in were wrong last year to take $30 million in disputed tax funds from the 49ers's new stadium.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner said in a nine-page tentative ruling that he could not immediately award the funds to the football team, the Mercury News reported, but he appeared to state that the Niners would eventually receive the money.
The team may have to wait until as late as 2016 to receive the funds, however, the judge said.
Elemetary public schools in Santa Clara County argued they needed the money to prevent further classroom cutbacks while Gov. Jerry Brown's finance team tried using the funds to help balance the state budget.
Sumner ruled that Santa Clara voters and city officials had specifically earmarked the funds for the new stadium being built in the city -- and outside groups had no legal right to take it away. That was the argument of Mayor Jamie Matthews and the city council when they voted in February 2011 to pre-pay the 49ers redevelopment funds that the Brown administration was trying to take away and divert to thes schools.
School supporters and stadium critics have argued that property tax money from redevelopment agencies should go to the counties and the schools, not be used to fund a stadium for a wealthy football team.
The losing sides will appeal during a hearing Friday afternoon.