Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –
DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad gave his support Tuesday to University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen’s recommendation to close Malcolm Price School.
Meanwhile, supporters of keeping the school open surpassed 5,300 signatures on an online petition.
Sen. Jeff Danielson, D-Cedar Falls, said he’s “still considering” asking the Iowa Attorney General’s Office for a legal opinion on the authority of the Board of Regents to close the school without input from the Iowa Legislature.
“I’m still in the homework phase,” said Danielson, who serves as president pro tempore of the Senate. “I want to have my homework done first.”
Some lawmakers have raised questions about the ability of the regents to close the school without having the legislature sign off on the move because the school is designated as the state’s research and development school.
Geoff Greenwood, spokesman for Attorney General Tom Miller, said in an email that no one has requested that the office look further into the statute governing the school.
“Per the Iowa Code, we wouldn’t prepare a written AG opinion unless someone who is qualified to request one does so,” Greenwood wrote.
Before the 8-1 vote to close the school on Monday, the regents said the law gave them the authority to close the school.
In his remarks during a news conference, Branstad said Allen was “doing a great job” in his administration of the school.
“I support President Allen and the Board of Regents. I believe that it’s appropriate. They are the closest to this and in the best position to make this decision,” Branstad said. “I know it’s never easy when you make a dramatic change like this. But I respect and appreciate his courage and his commitment to making the University of Northern Iowa an even better school for the future.”
The online petition to save the school continued to add signatures Tuesday. It can be found at http://chn.ge/xgKsw1