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Decision Number
Purpose of Property & New School Building
Concerned Citizen for Education
Lawton-Bronson Community School District
Full Text

On December 19, 1995, the Lawton-Bronson Community School District held a school bond election.When the school bond election was held on December 19, 1995, more than 60% of the total vote was cast for Question A. However, less than 60% of the total vote (14 votes short) was cast for Question B so that proposition was defeated. This raised several legal issues for the District. As a result, State Representative Ralph Klemme sought an Attorney General's Opinion. By letter dated January 18, 1996, Charles J. Krogmeier, Executive Deputy Attorney General, advised Representative Klemme that the specific impact of the two different election results should be evaluated by bond counsel for the Lawton-Bond District. The letter further advised that under the rules governing issuance of an Attorney General Opinion, action on his request would be deferred pending receipt of further information regarding legal advice from bond counsel.

On February 12, 1996, the Concerned Citizens group submitted a petition to the Board of Directors. The petition requested that the Board "consider a bond election not to exceed the amount of $2 million to remove 2 portable buildings, replace them with classrooms and to remodel the existing Lawton building as neces-sary. This plan would also include extending the Bronson gymna-sium on the north end to accommodate new locker rooms and addi-tional seating." At the Board meeting held on March 12, 1996, the petition was publicly reviewed and discussed. The minutes showed that the Board considered several problems raised by the proposal. The petition called for the remodeling of the school buildings at Lawton and at Bronson. The Americans With Disabil-ities Act and the regulations which implement this Act provide that any public school building altered after January 26, 1992, must be altered in such a manner as to comply with the access-ibility guidelines of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The Board found that the proposition requested by Appellants in their petition was contrary to the needs of the School District. We must affirm the District Board, however, because its decision to deny Appellants' petition was reasonable and supported by substantial evidence. In contrast, Appellant Concerned Citizens has introduced no evidence to contradict or refute the District Board's position. Evidence adduced at the appeal hearing persuaded the hearing panel that the District's actions at both the March 12, 1996, and April 11, 1996, board meetings were based upon the laws of the State of Iowa and in the best interest of education. For exam-ple, after the ambiguous election results of December 19, 1995, the District sought legal advice from counsel for the Board; bond counsel; and from the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

We submit that if Appellant Concerned Citizens are not persuaded by the legal reasoning of a district court judge, the Attorney General's Office, and bond counsel for the District, they will not be persuaded by a decision of the State Board of Education that runs contrary to their personally held legal beliefs. However, there is no other decision for us to make. The District Board could not have been more thorough in its research of the legal issues raised by the December 19, 1995, election results. Therefore, we do not hesitate in affirming the actions of the District Board taken at both the March 12, 1996, meeting as well as the special meeting which was held on April 11, 1996.

That the decisions of the Lawton-Bronson Community School District's Board of Directors made on March 12, 1996 and April 11, 1996, were affirmed.