Question: The Lower Yukon School District provides public education in the
The Lower Yukon School District provides public education in the region that includes the village of Scammon Bay in Alaska. Askinuk Corporation is the Scammon Bay native village corporation created by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. In October 2003 the school district proposed leasing from Askinuk 20 acres of land to build and operate a new public school. The proposed lease indicated that the school district would pay $1 per year. Askinuk's attorney reviewed the proposed lease and sent a letter to the board of directors cautioning the board about accepting the $1-per-year rate. The attorney drafted a new proposed lease containing a proposed rate of $400 per month for the first 10 years, after which the rate would be adjusted. The parties then met to discuss the lease. The school board indicated that $1 per year was all they could afford to pay and that the rate could be subject to renegotiation after 10 years. The proposed lease was approved by shareholder vote. Askinuk filed suit alleging, among other things, that the lease should be reformed as a result of a mistake in the price. According to Askinuk, the school board knew all along that the corporation would need to recover the fair market value of the land. Should the contract be reformed? Why or why not?
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