Wakonda School Board plans discussion of Lovejoy appeal during Oct. 8 board meeting

Wakonda School Board plans discussion of Lovejoy appeal during Oct. 8 board meeting by M. Jill Karolevitz The Wakonda School Board will review the appeal filed by Mike Lovejoy during its meeting Oct. 8, but because it is a legal matter, the discussion is scheduled under executive session.

"I can't say much about it now," said Superintendent Ron Flynn about the pending litigation. "We're just working though our attorney and leaving things up to him. He has advised us not to talk about it much because that would only work against us."

"My philosophy, as it is a pending legal matter, is that there is a forum to address legal matters and that is the courtroom, not through the media," said Gerri Kaufman, Huron, the attorney representing the Wakonda School Board. "That is a policy that I pretty much adhere to."

Kaufman added that the board will review and discuss the appeal and its options.

The next step is a court hearing.

"When an appeal of a school board decision is made, the next step in the process is a hearing in circuit court on the appeal," Kaufman said. "But there has been nothing filed indicating a court date has been set."

Flynn noted that he was surprised by the appeal.

"I wasn't expecting that an appeal would be brought up," he said. "I thought in the first go around that we had the judge had made it clear that the board had acted within the scope of its powers, so I was surprised to see this come down the road."

The document was filed Sept. 26 with the First Circuit Court to appeal the board's Sept. 19 decision to authorize the expenditure of approximately $1,255,000 for the construction of new classrooms and refurbishing the existing school building. The appeal is based upon the action the board must take regarding the reorganization plan.

"? on July 9 and July 31, 2001, (Lovejoy) presented signatures to the Wakonda Board of Education wherein the petitioners requested that the Wakonda Board of Education develop a reorganization plan dissolving the school district by attaching to another district or districts ? and that an election be held on the plan to be adopted," according to the appeal. "The plan of dissolution is required to be developed by the board of education within 180 days of acceptance of the petitions."

The appeal "alleges that it was an arbitrary, and capricious act and an abuse of discretion by the the board," said Tom Frieberg, Beresford, Lovejoy's attorney.

The reorganization plan is also on the school board's Oct. 8 agenda. It will be discussed in the open meeting.

"It is my understanding that the board is continuing to address the reorganization petition as required by law," Kaufman said.

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