Education

Iowa Supreme Court to consider demolition of Iowa City elementary school

Suit challenges plan for Hoover Elementary in Iowa City

Hoover Elementary School, 2200 E Court St., in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Hoover Elementary School, 2200 E Court St., in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The Iowa Supreme Court will consider a case against the Iowa City Community School District over whether the district should have held a public vote over whether Hoover Elementary School should be demolished.

The Supreme Court has said it will accept submission of the appeal during its 2019-20 term, which starts in September, but has not yet decided whether to have oral arguments.

The Iowa City school board decided in 2013 to close Hoover as part of a master facilities plan that called for upgrades at schools across the district.

Hoover parents fought the closure even as the district tried to gain public support for the facilities plan.

The lawsuit, filed in 2017 by Heather Young, Del Holland and Blake Hendrickson, contends the district should have included the planned demolition of Hoover in a Sept. 12, 2017, referendum on the facilities plan.

Although a petition by the plaintiffs had the required number of signatures, the district did not forward it to the Johnson County auditor so it could be part of the ballot question, the lawsuit states.

Days before the 2017 vote, Johnson County Judge Sean McPartland ruled the district had illegally dismissed the petition and ordered the district to put the question on the next regular election ballot.

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But McPartland denied the plaintiffs’ request for a temporary injunction to order a special election on the Hoover demolition question.

He also refused to order the district delay demolition of the school, 2200 E. Court St., until after a referendum.

Hoover is scheduled to close at the end of the school year.

In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs argue their constitutional rights were violated when the district failed to put the Hoover question on the ballot.

“What should the remedies be when a governmental body refuses to hold a statutorily required referendum election which threatens to overturn the government’s chosen course of action?” the plaintiffs’ final brief states.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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