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Decision Number
Edward Zaccaro, et al.
Edward Zaccaro, et al.
Dubuque Community School District
Full Text

Appellee filed a Motion to Dismiss Appellants' appeal on the basis that the appeal is untimely and that none of the Appellants is a person "aggrieved" by the District's decision. Appellee's original decision adopting "Plan C" as passed by the District on December 11, 1995. On February 19, 1996, the local board again and agreed to and did place the rezoning matter and Plan C on the agenda for March 11, 1996.

Challenges to local board of education decisions are governed by Iowa Code chapter 290. Section 290.1 grants an aggrieved person thirty (30) days from the local board decision or order to contest its legality. The question raised by Appellee's Motion to Dismiss is whether the Appellants can challenge "Rezoning Plan C" adopted on December 11, 1995, by appealing within thirty (30) days of the Board's refusal to rescind the Plan which was made on March 11, 1996? The answer is no. The Board's refusal to rescind Plan C taken at the March 11, 1996, meeting was a continuation of the original issue: Rezoning Plan C. The Appellants had thirty (30) days from December 11, 1995, in which to challenge that local board decision. Once that time period passed (on or about January 11, 1996), the State Board lost its jurisdiction over the dispute. This is because an administrative agency has only such jurisdiction and authority as expressly conferred by statute.

There is no indication in the minutes of the Board meetings held on December 11, 1995; January 8, 1996; or February 19, 1996, that the Superintendent or other Board members led the public to believe the decision to approve Plan C would be rescinded. Even if the law allowed an extension of the appeal time because of the parents reliance on "misrepresentations," there is no evidence that the Board or Superintendent ever made such statements. In their efforts to assure the parents that they would work to find "solutions" to expressed concerns, some parents may have hoped that one available "solution" would be the rescission of Plan C.

Any appeal of Plan C to the State Board of Education was foreclosed to the parents after January 11, 1996. To hold otherwise would be contrary to statute and would not serve the interests of either the District or the parents. That is because the State Board's decision could then be set aside for lack of subject matter jurisdiction by the District Court on appeal.

Appellee's Motion to Dismiss the above-captioned matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was granted.