Thursday October 27, 2016
The steering committee, a joint body of the city council and school board, met October 6 to connect and share their perspectives on the complex issues before them. Master planning and visioning was one of the topics discussed at the meeting.
The school board reported they had not yet reached consensus on school consolidation, and were not ready to offer the city a timeline regarding when a decision might be made.
Based on this information, on October 24, City Manager Kevin Dorn sent a letter to Superintendent of Schools, David Young, withdrawing the city’s standing offer to acquire the Central School property.
Dorn said, “It is evident, however, from the discussion at the recent meeting of the steering committee that the school board does not appear to be supportive of transferring ownership of the Central School any time soon. That being said, there is no reason to leave the offer to acquire the property on the table.”
School Board Chair Patrick Leduc responded to a query from The Other Paper via email. He wrote, “While the school board had previously declined the city’s offer to acquire the property, this action along with the recent agreement that allowed the district to extend an easement that provides access to the school, serves as reassurances to the community that the RMCS [Central] property will continue to be available.”
Leduc went on to say, “It should also be noted that the school board is continuing its discussions on school facilities, possible consolidation options, and facilities upgrades. If there is a point in time when the board does recommend the sale of a school, a public vote would be needed.”
In the meantime, while the city’s vision of an arena does not seem destined to materialize at the Central School location, the University Mall property is now the focus for the proposed civic center/arena facility; the city is currently working with the university on a feasibility study.