Legal Service Fund

Important questions about school management and board rights and responsibilities are regularly decided in court and by administrative agencies. The IASB Legal Service Fund was developed to assist school districts, area education agencies (AEAs) and community colleges (hereinafter, school districts) in legal cases that have statewide significance. Monies in the fund are protected in a separate account and invested to maximize school district dollars.

Even though only one school district is named in an action, every school district in the state is directly affected by these questions and decisions. If a case contains an important issue, it is likely to be carried to the Iowa Supreme Court. The first time an issue reaches the Supreme Court is the most important. The court establishes its position on the issue and applies its conclusion to subsequent cases. That first decision becomes binding on future cases in the state.

The same idea holds true for administrative agencies, such as the Department of Education, the Civil Rights Commission or the Public Employment Relations Board. While each case is decided based on its unique facts, the principles and philosophy are usually discussed with the first case. Those conclusions will tend to prevail whenever the same subject comes up later, unless there is good reason to depart from them.

Every school district, therefore, has a stake in the outcome of many cases that start as local disputes. A remote teacher termination case can cost your school district money in salaries or back pay if you have similar circumstances. Some other school district’s dispute over the suspension or expulsion of a student can control your ability to discipline a student in your district. Your right to transfer teachers or assign work may be decided in another district where that right is first challenged.

Because every school district stands to benefit from, or be harmed by, the outcome of significant cases, it seems appropriate to pool funds and share part of the expense.


Enrollment Size

Initiation Fee

Renewal Fee

           Class I Schools
Up to 499
$200 $50
500-1,199 $400 $100
          Class II Schools
1,200-2,464 $600 $150
        Class III Schools
2,465+ $800 $200
By size $600-$800 $150-$200
                Community Colleges
Flat Fee $600 $150

View a current membership list here. The last renewal fee was assessed in FY 2018. 

View a complete history of assistance summaries to members of the Fund since its inception in 1981. 

For more information or to join, email Marte Brightman
or call (515) 247-7048. Download application form here.

Legal Service Fund Committee

The Legal Service Fund Committee consists of nine voting school board members from participating schools. This Committee decides whether financial assistance will be provided to a participant that applies for such assistance. Committee members are appointed to represent each of the nine IASB Director Districts. Terms are 3 years and a committee member may be appointed to 3 full terms. Vacancies to the committee are filled via an application process and nomination by the IASB board of directors. View committee members here.

Sept. 15, 2020:
Read the email to members announcing that the Legal Service Fund Committee voted to authorize IASB to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of local control in one of the legal cases being brought by school boards in opposition to actions by Governor Reynolds and state agencies in implementing Senate File 2310.