(Update) Parent Group Loses Appeal Against Price Lab Closure; Considers How to Fight On
The school closed in June, and a group of parents and community members has been fighting to reopen it.
Updated at 3:45 p.m. with response from University of Northern Iowa:
A quest by a group of area parents to keep Malcolm Price Laboratory School open has been dealt another blow in Black Hawk County Court.
District Judge Alan Pearson had been considering an appeal against his previous decision, in which he sided with the Iowa Board of Regents, who voted to close the school. He has denied the request to reconsider his earlier ruling.
The school, part of the University of Northern Iowa's teacher education program, had about 350 K-12 students enrolled before it closed in June. The controversial decision to close the school came as part of far reaching budget cuts at UNI earlier this year.
Messages to the regents were not immediately returned.
The group of more than 30 parents and community members who sued to stop the school's closure argued Price Lab could not be closed without action by the Iowa Legislature. They said the school was the state's designated Research and Development School, whose existence is part of state law.
Judge Pearson, however, said that law did not apply, because the school was closed June 30, before the Research and Development School was legally supposed to be established.
Price Lab parent Dave Deibler says they are considering how to fight on.
"We are considering further legal action," he said. "Options include an appeal and a seperate, additional suit. More than ever we feel that the Iowa Board of Regents has broken the law. We do not, should not, live in a state where powerful people and organizations can ignore laws and mandates they don't care for."
Stacey Christensen, a spokeswoman for UNI, did not directly address questions about the lawsuit, but said that the university has continued to move forward with the transition plan following the closure of Price Lab on June 30.
"We are looking forward to a new school year and to welcoming faculty and staff who worked at MPLS into their new positions on campus," she said. "We look forward to continuing a strong program in teacher preparation and to looking for ways to share our research and development in the state. The university wishes former MPLS students and families a successful year."