An obscure oversight board that shocked Silicon Valley by pulling $30 million in tax funds from the San Francisco 49ers stadium to give to schools upped the ante Wednesday by hiring an attorney to defend its decision in court.

The taxpayer-funded lawyer, at $275 per hour, will try to fight off a lawsuit the Niners filed to appeal the funding swap. A judge may decide later this month whether the redevelopment funds should go to the Santa Clara stadium or local schools.

"If we lose, we lose. But this is a very important issue for all parties," oversight board chair Don Gage said.