Jan. 19, 2013
Now that the school auctions are complete, I thought I would take time to answer the most “Frequently Asked Questions” I received regarding the auctions.
Who bought the Seville and Lodi buildings and what do the purchasers intend to do with them? The Seville building was purchased by an investor in Columbus and the Lodi building was purchased by an investor in New York. As of the writing of this column, neither has made any official announcement as to what they desire to do with the buildings.
Why was the Westfield Elementary building not offered at public auction? When the district was consolidated to create one Cloverleaf, five townships/villages donated a school to the new Cloverleaf Local School District. The board felt it only right to offer the buildings back to their respective townships/villages prior to auctioning the buildings. The Village of Westfield Center decided to take the board up on its offer (as did Chatham Township previously). We are in the contract phase to complete the $1 transaction of the building.
Why doesn’t the district use proceeds from the sale of the buildings and contents to bring back busing? We are not permitted to use revenue from the sale of buildings and contents for district operations. Rather, we are only permitted to use the revenue for permanent improvements, which are capital items with a life expectancy of five years or more. Examples include books, technology hardware, buses and equipment. To summarize, we are permitted to buy a bus with the proceeds, but we cannot pay for a driver.
I saw some rolls of paper sold at one of the auctions. Why didn’t Cloverleaf use them? That seems wasteful. Unfortunately, after having cut 71 positions in the last five years, we have created inefficiencies in the process. As much as I would have desired to send a crew of custodians to each of the buildings to cover every square inch, we didn’t have the resources to do that. Instead, I asked the principals to prioritize those items we could use or were of better quality than something we currently had in inventory so they could be swapped prior to the auction. That was accomplished. The return on investment of sending people to those buildings over a length of time paying overtime wages would not have been financially beneficial. The unfortunate reality is negative public perception on those few items that could have been kept. In the end, my hope is people will understand we did the best we could within the limited resources we had.
Thank you to everyone who attended the open houses. It was great to see so many people take one last nostalgic walk through their elementary schools.
Until next time … Go Colts!