Following a series of delays for professional and personal conflicts, a hearing on a motion to dismiss in the non-jury trial for Spirit Lake School Board President Beth Will and Vice President Ann Goerss is now scheduled to take place Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. in Courtroom A of the Dickinson County Courthouse.
A petition for removal of office was filed Feb. 25 against Will and Goerss. Under the Iowa Code section 66.3 (3) such a petition may be filed by five registered voters of the district where duties are to be performed. Taking legal action against the school board leaders are Valentine Waltz, James Naujock, Elizabeth Simpson, Jeanne Lathrop and Deborah Wise.
According to court records, the document was filed due to "numerous, blatant and continual violations of the Iowa Code" as well as school board policy codes and Iowa Administrative codes. The petition goes on to say violations have been "a continuous, habitual condition going on for five years. The Board of Directors have violated multiple Iowa Codes, as well as their own written policy, procedures, rules, regulations and code of ethics."
The group called for the removal of school board leadership rather than the entire panel because they feel as though the officers are responsible for the standards, practices, protocol and tone of the entire board.
The motion to dismiss was originally filed July 14 by Steven Avery, attorney for the defense, after learning that petitioner Lathrop had moved out of the Spirit Lake School District.
Representing the state, Peter Hart responded to the motion by declaring it irrelevant, as the trial was filed on behalf of the State of Iowa on April 24 of this year.
The motion was to be heard on Aug. 4 by Judge Frank Nelson, but Hart had a conflict and the hearing was rescheduled to Aug. 25 to be heard by Judge David Lester. Due to a personal conflict with Lester, the motion is now scheduled to be heard Sept. 15 at 1 p.m., when Judge Lester will not be presiding.
The trial itself is scheduled for Oct. 14, 2008, to begin at 9:30 a.m. at the Dickinson County Courthouse.