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Spirit Lake School board case continues

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

SPIRIT LAKE — A district court judge in Spirit Lake on Monday heard arguments from the plaintiffs and defendants in a case seeking the removal of two school board members.

Appearing before Judge Don E. Courtney, special prosecutor Peter Hart requested the plaintiffs’ original petition be amended and refashioned in a legal-formal manner.

Steve Avery, attorney for school board president Beth Will and vice-president Ann Goerss, asked for the case to be dismissed. Avery said under Chapter 21 of Iowa Code, a prior violation is required to file a suit against public officials. Avery also contended there are no factual allegations to substantiate the case.

Judge Courtney took both motions under advisement and did not indicate when he would rule.

On Feb. 5, high school principal Jedd Sherman resigned under duress, followed by student pickets and infighting between the public and school board members over budget and other issues.

On Feb. 26 five plaintiffs filed the petition in district court to have Will and Goerss removed, and the petitioners later posted a $90,000 bond to carry the case forward. After a vote to impose a physical plant and equipment levy in the district failed on March 25, the school board cut more than $1 million from its budget.