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Case No. 21-0067

Danna Braaksma
v.
Board of Directors of the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District

Petitioner appealed from a district court ruling on judicial review affirming a decision by respondent terminating her teaching contract. Petitioner contended the court erred in affirming the decision because the action: (1) violated respondent’s policies and the terms of her contract; (2) violated Iowa law by not allowing her to complete an intensive assistance program; and (3) was unsupported by a preponderance of the competent evidence in the record. The court of appeals reversed, finding petitioner’s termination violated Iowa Code section 284.8, the teaching contract, and respondent’s policies. Respondent requests further review.

County:
Osceola

Resister

Danna Braaksma

Applicant

Board of Directors of the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District

Attorney for the Resister

Christy A.A. Hickman

Attorney for the Applicant

Stephen F. Avery

Supreme Court

Oral Argument Schedule

15-15-5

Sep 14, 2022 9:00 AM

Briefs

Supreme Court Opinion

Opinion Number:
21-0067
Date Published:
Oct 21, 2022

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals Opinion

Opinion Number:
21-0067
Date Published:
Dec 15, 2021
Summary

            Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Osceola County, Nancy L. Whittenburg, Judge.  REVERSED.  Heard by Greer, P.J., and Badding, J., and Potterfield, S.J.  Opinion by Greer, P.J.  (14 pages)

            In the middle of the 2019–2020 school year, the Board of Directors (Board) of the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District (District) voted to terminate the teaching contract of long-time teacher Danna Braaksma.  Braaksma asked for judicial review, and the district court upheld the Board’s decision.  Now, Braaksma challenges the termination on appeal.  She argues (1) the Board’s termination of her contract violated the Board’s own policies and the teaching contract itself; (2) the termination of her teaching contract violated Iowa law because she was not allowed to complete an intensive assistance program as provided by statute; and (3) the four reasons the Board gave for ending her contract are not supported by a preponderance of the competent evidence in the record.  OPINION HOLDS: The District was required to offer Braaksma an intensive assistance program once it determined she was failing to meet the statutory teaching standards.  But it ultimately discharged her contract because of deficient performance without offering the program in adherence with contractual, statutory, and policy provisions, so the discharge was improper under Iowa Code section 284.8 (2019).  As a result, we reverse the Board’s decision terminating Braaksma’s contract and reinstate Braaksma to her former position according to the terms of her contract.

Other Information

Date Further Review is Granted:
Mar 01, 2022

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