YME Superintendent Al Stoeckman shared information about ongoing legal action that the district has been a part of since May of 2010 at a special board meeting held last Monday evening.  

Initially a complaint was prepared by the law firm of Gislason & Hunter LLP of New Ulm, on the behalf of Scott Wintz and Patrick McCoy, taxpayers in the Yellow Medicine East School District, who opposed a health and safety renovation project that is projected to cost district taxpayers up to $14 million.



YME Superintendent Al Stoeckman shared information about ongoing legal action that the district has been a part of since May of 2010 at a special board meeting held last Monday evening.  
Initially a complaint was prepared by the law firm of Gislason & Hunter LLP of New Ulm, on the behalf of Scott Wintz and Patrick McCoy, taxpayers in the Yellow Medicine East School District, who opposed a health and safety renovation project that is projected to cost district taxpayers up to $14 million. The project is addressing building improvements to the YME buildings, specifically the YME High School and Bert Raney Elementary School.  The case was assigned to Judge Randall J. Slieter with a hearing date set for Tuesday, May 4, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. at the Renville County Courthouse in Olivia.
Count I asked the court to place a temporary injunction enjoining YME from taking further steps to move forward on the health and safety project. Count II asked for a declaration that YME’s attempt to use Alternative Facilities Program funds was improper and unlawful and that the funding must be approved by the voters in the YME District. 8th District Court Judge Randall Slieter ruled against the temporary injunction.              
Judge Slieter further ruled that there was evidence to support YME’s claim that the ventilation improvements would meet state standards and state statute allows for Alternative Facilities Program funds to be used for ventilation equipment which meets the state standard, without a need to show specific current health or safety deficiencies.  In his ruling Judge Slieter noted: “To this issue, the Court finds Defendants (YME) have a greater likelihood to succeed in demonstrating that the statue provides the authority to fund the ventilation system improvements.”
Then in November 2010, Stoeckman met with the school attorney, Eric J. Quiring of Ratwik, Roszak and Maloney and Energy Systems Representatives (ESG) Dan Bosch and Scott Schroder to discuss documents submitted to Quiring by Kevin Stroup with Stoneberg, Giles, and Stroup, of Marshall.  Stroup, representing Patrick McCoy and Scott Wintz, had requested that the district respond to a set of 18 interrogatories about the scope of the health and safety improvements that began in the spring of last year. A hearing date was set for March 8, 2011.  Instead of a hearing, Judge Slieter took the case under consideration and has yet to rule.  
Stoeckman told the board that he has been advised by the school’s attorneys that the ruling should be made by July 7.
Board members questioned Stoeckman about the costs of the lawsuit to date and if it is possible to determine estimates for additional costs related to the final $1.25 million bond sale that has not yet been completed awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit. LeeAnn Boushek, YME Financial Officer, said that as of last month the costs of the lawsuit were at $38,000. She indicated that it would be difficult to determine estimates for any additional costs related to the sale of the bonds, but felt that Ehlers and Associates may be able to come up with an estimate.  
When asked if the district could possibly recover any of the costs of the lawsuit, Stoeckman said that he believes the board could request restitution.  When asked if he felt that once this ruling is handed down  he thinks the plaintiffs will continue to file another suit, Stoeckman shared that the YME attorneys asked for a ruling with prejudice which could prohibit additional suits from being filed if the judge rules in favor of the district.
Stoeckman informed the board that on a recommendation from Gary Olson of Ehlers and Associates he plans to place the sale bonds for the final $1.25 million on the July board agenda.