“If you always have to wait for the election where you don’t know what the outcome would be, lest you be accused of deceit, nothing gets done,” he added.
By adding “and their successors” to the contract, East Central and Northeast were putting the contract terms in black and white, Bracken said. Although, their successors would have been contractually bound regardless of the addition or omission of the phrase.
Ultimately, Easton Valley should have to honor the whole-grade sharing agreement because successors take on the assets and liabilities of their predecessors, Bracken said.
Bracken also argued McKenrick would be setting a dangerous precedent if he ruled Easton Valley did not have to honor the agreement.
“It would essentially invalidate Iowa Code 28E,” Bracken said. “Whole-grade sharing is essentially dead if one school board cannot bind a future school board to a whole-grade sharing agreement.”
If the court ordered Easton Valley to adhere to the whole-grade sharing agreement, Northeast would not make all Easton Valley students who live in Miles or Sabula attend classes at Northeast, according to Bracken. Under the formal requirements dictated by the agreement, those Easton Valley students would have to open enroll out of Northeast to attend at their home district.
McKenrick is taking the motion under consideration. Gruhn told the more than 40 East Valley community members who attended Wednesday’s hearing that the ruling would likely not come for another two months.
In the meantime, the whole-grade sharing agreement won’t be in effect.
On Tuesday, McKenrick denied a motion made by Northeast to institute an immediate injunction that would have forced Easton Valley to temporarily honor the whole-grade sharing agreement.
The case is set to go to trial in January.