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Decision Number
Dissolution Commission Appointments
Mistery Ficken
Gladbrook-Reinbeck CSD
Full Text

The State Board's review of a local school board's discretionary decision is for abuse of discretion. An abuse of discretion standard is synonymous with unreasonableness. In applying an abuse of discretion standard we look at only whether a reasonable person could have found sufficient evidence to come to the same conclusion as the local board.. The State Board may not substitute its judgment for that of the local board. Id. The decision of a school district to appoint members of a dissolution commission is clearly an issue of discretion. The question is whether or not the decision to appoint particular members was unreasonable under the facts and circumstances or based on erroneous application of the law.

The Appellant misstates the requirement of the statute with respect to a requirement to establish a commission that represents all socio-economic/demographics. It is clear from the text of section 275.51 that the district shall appoint members seven members who are eligible electors who reside in the district and not more than three of those members may be board members. Members shall be appointed from throughout the school district and should represent the various socioeconomic factors present in the school district.

The text on its face requires that the Board appoint members representing a various socio-economic factors, but it does not require the board to appoint members from all socio-economic factors.

It only stands to reason that a commission made up of only seven people would not be large enough to represent all socio-economic factors in a school district. Thus, to impose such a requirement would not be reasonable. The evidence shows that the Board considered geographic location, family, occupation, education, whether employed or unemployed, number of children or grandchildren in the district, and any additional information of the proposed members.

The commission was also made up of members from both Gladbrook and Reinbeck and was gender diverse. The evidence shows that the Board met the requirements of the statute. We cannot say that the Board was required to obtain free and reduced lunch information or income from the potential commission members based on a plain reading of Iowa Code section 275.51. Nor would they have had access to this confidential information for this purpose. Thus, we cannot say with any assurance that this group is not represented by the current commission members. We may not substitute our judgment for that of the local board. The State Board may not disturb the local board's decision absent a showing of abuse of discretion by that Board and we find no abuse of discretion here.

The District's First Motion to Dismiss the appeal as untimely filed is DENIED, the District's Second Motion to Dismiss the appeal on the basis that the Appellant is not an aggrieved party is GRANTED, and the decisions made by the Board of Directors of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District Board on August 20, 2015, and September 17, 2015, to appoint members of the dissolution commission and reappoint members of the dissolution commission is hereby AFFIRMED