Skip to main content
Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
Decision Number
Grade Realignment
Mike Syndergaard, Alan Vogel & Dennis Litka
South O'Brien Community School District
Full Text

So after the District hired Superintendent Jerry Nichols in July 2002, he began studying the District's financial condition and enrollment history. He discovered that the District had lost a total of $400,000 over fiscal years 2001 and 2002 while enrollment steadily declined. An initial discussion in September 2002 work session suggested moving grades 7 and 8 to Paullina.In December 2002, the Board appointed an 8-member committee to study the grade realignment more closely. None of the members were from the general public. Three administrators and five teachers were appointed in January 2003. This committee presented to the Board at a work session on March 12, 2003. An informational meeting with the public was held in Primghar on March 26, 2003.

At the information meeting, approximately 160 citizens attended. There was a 75-minute period of input from the public. A formal vote to realign grades occurred at the April 2, 2003, board meeting. After approximately 40 minutes of discussion, the relocation was moved, seconded and passed by a 5 to 1 vote. The primary reason for the grade realignment was to save money.

Appellants do not challenge the right of the South O'Brien Board to relocate the junior high to Paullina; nor do they base their appeal on the wisdom of that decsion. Rather they argue that the Board violated the guidelines established in In re Grade Realignment in Nodaway Valley (21 DOE App. Dec. 99(2002)). There is no basis for this Board to hold districts to strict adherence to the Jacobson guidelines, either as case law precedent or rule. Substantial compliance is all that is required.

It appears that the primary concerns of the Appellants is the possible closing of the Sutherland attendance center, an issue not before the State Board at this hearing.

That the decision of the Board of Directors of the South O'Brien Community School District, made on April 2, 2003, to move its junior high students to Paullina, was affirmed.