The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 13, 2012

Easton Valley voids whole-grade sharing contract

New district hires superintendent from Preston School District

By Natalie Conrad
Herald Staff Writer

PRESTON — A whole-grade sharing agreement between East Central and Northeast school districts has been nullified as Easton Valley comes to fruition.

Members of the new merged district comprised of East Central and Preston school districts approved a draft Wednesday of a letter nullifying the contract that was accepted before the new district was formed.

“We should not be responsible for contracts made before this board was formed,” Richard Keeney said. “This should be voided.”

Currently, East Central has a three-year, whole-grade sharing agreement with Northeast School District. East Central seventh- through 12th-grade students take classes at Northeast’s Goose Lake campus. The agreement was entered on Aug. 24, 2011.

“At the time this contract was entered, it was known that there would be an election for a new school district,” Tom Fuerbach said.

A letter addressing the agreement will be sent to both school districts. The letter states that the contract has no bearing on Easton Valley. It nullifies the contract and cancels the agreement. This agreement is being canceled due to the board not having enough time to review the benefits of whole-grade sharing for the new school district, according to the letter.

“It’s kind of confusing to deal with an agreement made by a school district that will soon no longer exist,” Ron Regenwether said.

Preston currently has an agreement with Maquoketa School District to send high school students there for some classes. Both districts have a complete elementary program. While the contract between East Central and Northeast is void, the new school district is open to grade-sharing agreements.

“This does not mean we won’t consider a whole-grade sharing agreement with Northeast or other school districts,” Feuerbach said. “We just haven’t had enough time to make those kind of decisions yet.”

With the consolidation of Preston and East Central into Easton Valley, East Central students wanting to remain at Northeast will now have to open enroll into the district.

Preston Superintendent Bob Lagerblade was hired as the interim superintendent for Easton Valley. The vote was unanimous amongst the board.

Lagerblade will serve as superintendent through July 1. The board may hold interviews for the permanent position in the spring.

Board members voted to hold interviews with two candidates who expressed interest in the board secretary position as soon as possible.

This is the first meeting following the initial meeting facilitated by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency on Monday at which Craig Thines was named board president and Lance Abernathy was elected as vice president. The board still has may big decisions to make before the new district opens its doors for the 2013-14 school year including determining the division of assets and liabilities, establishing district policies, hiring staff and organizing curriculum.