The Ivanhoe School Board is appealing the decision of an independent arbitrator awarding the Hendricks School District $1.2 million in damages for breach of the Interdistrict Cooperation Agreement.
In June 2011, the Ivanhoe School Board voted to become a K-12 school district. Previously, Hendricks operated grades K-6 and Ivanhoe grades 7-12.
Hendricks argued that Ivanhoe breached a contract that had been in force in one form or another since 1990, according to Hendricks Public School Business Manager Mary Swenson.
On Aug. 24, arbitrator Carol Berg O'Toole issued a 10-page decision awarding Hendricks damages for costs of running a grade 7-12 program on short notice for the 2011-2012 school year and the 2012-2013 school year.
Hendricks subsequently went into statutory operating debt for the first time in its history, according to O'Toole.
Ivanhoe has retained attorney Tim Palmatier of Kennedy & Gravin law firm based in Minneapolis to represent it in its appeal. The firm did not represent the school district in the original case before the arbitrator.
"The Ivanhoe School Board has been exploring the option of an appeal since the judgment was rendered," said Dan Deitte, Ivanhoe superintendent. "The board has been working with its insurance company to see if the attorney's fees to appeal would be covered, which they are."
According to Deitte, the insurance company requires a new attorney to be assigned at the appeal level.
The appeal will be based on Minnesota Statute 572B.23, which provides for vacating an award based on evidence of partiality, corruption, misconduct, exceeding an arbitrator's powers, or failure to give proper notice of arbitration among others.
"We will need to meet with attorney to get more specifics," Deitte said.