Mt. Vernon Register-News

September 20, 2013

District 80 not yet ready for building sale

The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — The District 80 Board of Education Wednesday decided against moving forward with the sale of the Benjamin Franklin Early Childhood Center at this time.

Selling the now empty building is still a viable option, but board members want more time to study the issue before making a firm decision.

“We're just considering all the things that need to be done,” said Board President Dennis Hoffman. “We're just taking our time, trying to make a good decision.”

The board discussed the sale during a closed session at Wednesday night's regular monthly board meeting.

One option for board members after the closed session would have been to approve a resolution to start the building sale process. However, the board decided against that course of action.

“The board did not act on the Franklin building resolution,” said Superintendent Mike Green. “We're just continuing to gather more information. … We're taking our time on it. It's a big decision.”

If the board had approved the resolution, the next step would have been to advertise for bids for the project.

As it stands, Green said he's satisfied the board is taking a cautious approach to the sale.

“I think the board is being wise and prudent and I think they're going about it the right way,” Green said.

The district recently moved its pre-school program at the Benjamin Franklin site to the Dr. Andy Hall Early Education Center.

Continuing to maintain the empty Franklin building may become costly for the district. Other options for using Franklin to generate revenue have been looked at, but so far none of them have panned out.

Hoffman said he expects the board will look at the Franklin sale again at next month's meeting.

The sale, Green said, will be a continual discussion until the board decides what to do with the building.

“The district has no need for the building or the property at this time,” Green said. “It'll be on next month's board agenda to discuss.”

Other board actions Wednesday included:

n Approval of hiring two temporary employees, including Linda Upchurch as a speech teacher substitute at the Primary Center and Marjorie Schwartz as a Homebound Teacher for the district.

n Approval of two retirements, including Jan Hover, a Primary Center teacher; and Sarah Martin, a social service coordinator at the Dr. Andy Hall Early Education Center. Hover will retire at the end of the 2016-2017 school year and Martin will retire at the end of the 2013-2014 school year.