School District Fires Extracurricular Provider


As a result of "severe, pervasive and prejudicial" management claims, Iowa City school officials fired the after-school program provider Lucas Elementary.

District officials announced this week that they will end the contract with Lucas on Campus starting next August. Their programs will continue in the spring and summer.

The management of the non-profit association, which has been offering programs for 32 years during the school and summer years, strongly contests the charges against them.

Although the district has not clarified the nature of these management issues, Ken Valley, chairman of Lucas' board of directors on Campus, said that they could come from three incidents to which the 39, NPO would have been managed in accordance with its policy:

  • In 2014, Valley said that one of the parents of a child with sensory overstimulation likely worried about the number of extracurricular program students.
  • In 2018, he said, a late parent was told that she could no longer pick up her children.
  • In early March, a boy physically assaulted his sister, which prompted program staff to tell the family that he could no longer look after the child unless the district provide a para-educator to monitor him at all times, said Valley, adding that the district called it an "unauthorized suspension".
  • Valley says the district carries serious allegations against their non-profit organization, with no evidence to support it. Valley was surprised that they are ending the services, he said.

    "It's essentially a fabricated story," he told Press-Citizen.

    In an email informing families of this news, Superintendent Steve Murley said the district had had problems with the provider since the end of 2014.

    "Appropriate measures have been taken to solve these problems and, in the absence of an adequate response, it has been recommended to me to consider the termination of the agreement", Murley wrote.

    The email did not disclose specific examples of problems encountered by the district with the nonprofit provider, but Murley wrote in email to parents that he had consulted with district attorneys to determine if the conflicts were "serious, widespread and detrimental to students and families". Lucas. "

    "We both concluded that this was indeed the case and, as a result, we both supported the initial recommendation to terminate the agreement," said Murley.

    Lucas response on campus

    Valley said that the way they handled these incidents followed their policy "to a T."

    "If you took a picture of what we were doing, it would end up in the manual, next to what we're talking about," he said. "I'm sticky for that, it's not an easy decision to do something like that, so if we're going to do it, we have to do it exactly the right way."

    ICCSD officials declined to give their views on the disagreements, instead sent a statement reiterating that "the district's responsibility is to ensure that all students benefit from the experiences. equitable education ".

    In response to Murley's correspondence, the Lucas on Campus board wrote a response that was offensive to their process and demands. Valley wrote that the issues raised by the district had been resolved or were being resolved.

    It details canceled meetings and communication difficulties with the district and campus director.

    "These are very serious allegations that are unsupported by facts and that look like defamatory statements," reads in the email. "If the alleged problems are so serious, ubiquitous and harmful to students, why do we have the right to continue operating the LOC until August?"

    In a statement to Press-Citizen, school officials said the situation did not warrant a sudden action. The services will therefore continue during the summer.

    "Although issues of concern warrant the termination of the partnership at the end of the school year, it was determined that an immediate discontinuation of pre and post-school child care services would not be necessary. is not necessary, "reads the statement.

    Murley told families that the search for a new supplier would begin in April and that the supplier would start next fall.