My Buddy taunted me to offer my opinion on the Lakeview Christian Academy’s pestering the School Board to sell it the Old Central Location because the Academy is getting over crowded. I told him I had thought about offering a little history lesson on the District’s selling its old schools in the past.
So I decided to see if I could find a previous post that already spelled out the history. I was unsuccessful but I found this oldie but goodie from 2009. Its not about the disposal of schools.
With over 4000 posts on the blog its often hard for me to find such specific posts from the past. OK. Here is a little recap.
In about 2003 we sold Birchwood to a church for about a million dollars. That sale contained a covenant prohibiting the church from setting up a school or selling it to any other school. They can probably make their sale’s price back if they ever get the OK to subdivide part of the property we sold them for new housing. I suspect Lakeview Adacemy or any buyer of the Central site could do the same. That alone would discourage the Board from selling the school. Our Board would feel like chumps to give another school something so valuable and then sit back and watch them make a profit on it.
I was surprised 20 years ago to learn that public school districts across the nation routinely refuse to sell their abandoned schools to rival schools systems. On the one hand it seems like a waste of good property but school district’s see forbidding such sales as denying rivals from getting hold of anything that would foster competition with the public schools. Teachers’ unions especially hate such sales.
In the 1990’s our Board sold five old elementary schools to separate buyers some of them rivals mostly for peanuts.
The Cobb school was sold to Woodland Hills (They don’t educate so many local kids and most of them find their way to Woodland Hills through the Courts. It wasn’t much competition and we have teachers that work at Woodland Hills.
We sold Merrit School to similar entity for similar reasons.
We sold Washburn Elementary to a Church but without a covenant denying them the right to sublet their school to another system. That’s where the Edison Schools first set up their Charter School. That was serious competition.
We sold the Lakeview School to the Duluth Diocese which they then used as their St. Michaels School. In making these sales, which I supported at the time, we did give our “competitors” a leg up.
We sold the old Lowell School to the Christian Academy. I think the sales price for both these latter schools was around $50 grand.
I guess I’d have to say at this point the competition is doing just fine without any more of our District’s help. The biggest cause for the hemorrhaging of our students is the Red Plan and the further and looming budget cuts it will necessitate. Selling the mighty Central to a small Christian Academy would just add insult to injury at this point.