The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 1, 2013

Easton Valley looking at option in wake of lawsuit

SABULA — Easton Valley School District officials are preparing a response to the recent lawsuit filed by Northeast School District and are carefully considering any partnerships with the district as litigation continues.

“I am doing a lot of preparation for the response,” Easton Valley Superintendent Bob Lagerblade. “That is all I have to say at this stage.”

Sabula City Hall was overflowing with concerned residents of the newly formed school district as the Easton Valley School Board met to discuss the litigation and a variety of other issues regarding the inaugural school year and future of the district at a meeting on Thursday.

Northeast Community School District filed suit against the Easton Valley last week because the newly created district would not agree to continue a whole-grade sharing agreement that was established between East Cental and Northeast schools.  

The suit was filed on Feb. 20 in Clinton County District Court by Northeast’s attorney Andrew Bracken in order to make Easton Schools, accounting for about 115 students and bringing in an $800,000 bump in revenue for Northeast.

Easton Valley issued a letter to Northeast in December stating that the 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.

The Easton Valley School Board decided to table a decision on whether to continue a cooperative agreement with Northeast Schools for wrestling and boys and girls soccer for the upcoming school year, despite Lagerblade’s recommendation.

“I feel uncomfortable making an agreement with a district we are in litigation with,” board member Richard Keeney said. “We should look at other schools like Bellevue and Maquoketa.”

Four students take advantage of the co-op with Northeast, two in each sport. The board requested the opinion of the students involved and that the superintendent look into options with other school districts.

Students that belong to either the Preston Community School District or the East Central Community School District will be part of Easton Valley on July 1. Those who are open enrolled in or out of the East Central or Preston for the current school year will automatically apply for 2013-2014.

In order to change the open enrollment status, documents must be filed with Easton Valley by today.

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