The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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May 24, 2013

Northeast preps for end of grade sharing

GOOSE LAKE — The Northeast School Board is planning to add bus stops next year under the worst-case scenario that a Clinton County District Court judge does not force the Easton Valley School District to honor a whole-grade sharing agreement.

Northeast Superintendent Jim Cox told board members during their meeting Wednesday night that the list of proposed bus stops is subject to change based on the outcome of a suit it filed against the Easton Valley School District regarding the whole-grade sharing agreement.

“This is worst-case scenario, but I’d rather be prepared,” Cox said.

While the East Central and Preston school districts were merged by a public vote last year to become Easton Valley, which will happen on July 1, East Central and Northeast entered into the three-year whole-grade sharing agreement beginning in 2011.

Under the agreement, East Central provided transportation for its students to go to Northeast. East Central paid Northeast 90 percent of the state aid it received for the students to attend classes at Northeast. Approximately 115 seventh- through 12th-grade East Central students take classes at Northeast.

Easton Valley Board members at their December Board meeting decided to notify Northeast that they would not honor the whole-grade sharing agreement, prompting Northeast to file suit.

The Easton Valley School Board voted earlier this year to officially close the boundaries of its district to other area school buses, meaning Northeast would not be able to venture into the Easton Valley District to pick up students that choose to open enroll into the Northeast District.

“Keep in mind that this is a contingency. This is based upon the assumption that we lose the court case and people will have to come to us,” Cox said. “As soon as this court case is over we’ll make the decision on whether we want to close our border.”

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