The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

February 14, 2013

Northeast district considers court action

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

GOOSE LAKE — Northeast School District will not succumb to the wishes of Easton Valley School Board to void a whole grade sharing agreement, with Northeast board members authorizing their attorney Wednesday to bring the matter to district court if necessary.

The board met in closed session to discuss litigation surrounding the contract entered into with the soon-to-be defunct East Central School District, which is merging with Preston schools to become Easton Valley.

“We may need to pursue answers at district court if we are still not able to reach an agreement with Easton Valley,” Attorney Andrew Bracken said.

Representatives from Northeast and Easton Valley met on Wednesday at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency offices to discuss the three-year, whole grade sharing agreement that allows East Central seventh- through 12th-grade students to attend school at Northeast’s Goose Lake campus. The discussion mediated by AEA staff lasted several hours, but no agreement was reached, according to Bracken.

“Unfortunately we were not able to reach a compromise today, but there is still an opportunity to reach an agreement,” Bracken said.

The agreement was entered into on Aug. 24, 2011.

While the original agreement required East Central to provide transportation, Northeast said they would be willing to provide transportation and opportunities to all the students.

“Northeast believes this agreement is important to maximizing opportunities for all districts involved,” Bracken said.

Easton Valley issued a letter to Northeast in December stating that district wished to void the contract due to the merging of the two districts and the nonexistence of the district that originally entered the contract. Bracken spoke at a meeting in late December to address the issue and said that legally any responsibilities or contracts of the two merged districts, Preston and East Central, will roll over to Easton Valley.

“Easton Valley, East Central and Preston school boards must meet for an equitable distribution to divide up assets and liabilities,” Bracken said. “Everything comes over.”

If Easton Valley desires to terminate the agreement, the board must come to a mutual agreement with Northeast. From July 1 to July 20 Easton Valley and East Central will share in the agreement. After that Easton Valley steps into the shoes of East Central, according to Bracken.

There are no further scheduled meetings between Northeast and Easton Valley, but Northeast board members stated they are still open for discussion. While the future is unknown, open enrollment forms are available to parents and students through March 1.