OAKLAND -- A court hearing on the Richmond Unified School District case was postponed Friday amid signs that the California Legislature this week may pass a bill enabling the school district to settle the suit and pay off its defaulted certificates of participation.

The legislation, sponsored by state Assemblyman Tom Bates, is designed to give the beleaguered school district a new lease on life by eradicating its $29 million of debt to the state. Under a highly unusual arrangement, it then proposes authorizing the district to refinance the defaulted $9.8 million lease issue at stake in the lawsuit. That issue went into default a year ago.

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