Selected readings on US charter schools
Once a required waiting period ends and the deals close, the sales of the Irving Education Center and the former Jefferson Elementary School will bring more than $7 million into the district.
The vote for both contracts was 6-0; board member Bob Null recused himself.
Null said during a break that he had spoken with Global Village Academy — Colorado Springs about both properties and the group had offered him a position on its board. He said he wouldn’t serve on the charter school board and simultaneously keep his D-11 board seat.
Jefferson, 1801 Howard Ave., was closed in 2009, although it was used for about a year for adult education programs and has been used on occasion for district meetings.
James Irwin Charter Academy’s cash offer of $950,000 for Jefferson was approved by the board.
“Nobody wants an empty building in their neighborhood,” board member the Rev. Al Loma said. “It’s a win-win for the community.”
Board member Sandra Mann said the charter schools were coming to the district even if they had not decided on D-11 properties.
There was no board discussion on the sale of Irving to Global Village Academy for $6,215,385. The former middle school at 1702 N. Murray Blvd. was closed in 2009 and later renovated to accommodate programs that will move to the Wasson High School building at the end of the school year.
A Wasson alumna and parent spoke against the sale of Irving. Dorothy Dykes said it was a bad idea and that closing Wasson and selling D-11 properties to charter schools ultimately will cost the district millions of dollars every year as students leave. She also asked board members if the possibility of selling Irving contributed to closing Wasson.
The board voted Feb. 6 on a comprehensive plan that included closing Wasson and Bates and Lincoln elementary schools. The plan also called for moving alternative programs now at Irving and The Bijou School into Wasson.
Glenn Gustafson, D-11’s chief financial officer, said earlier Wednesday that he received a call from Terry Gogerty, New Schools Developer for Global Village Academies, after the closure and consolidation plan was presented to the D-11 board in late January. Gogerty asked if any other D-11 properties would be available.
“We said we weren’t sure,” Gustafson said. “We didn’t know what the board would do.”
A closed board session in late January to discuss real estate issues included Jefferson, he said, but not Irving.
Almost a week after the board approved the plan, the group behind Global Village submitted a letter of intent to purchase Irving, Gustafson said.
At a Feb. 13 executive session, district officials and board members discussed real estate issues, including the possible sale of Jefferson and Irving.
James Irwin and Global Village were among three charter schools that applied to D-11 in 2012. The district relinquished its authority and the schools were ultimately approved by the Colorado Charter School Institute.
The third charter, Mountain Song Community School has urged supporters on Facebook to contact D-11 board members to convince them to allow the program to use the former Whittier School at 2904 W. Kiowa St.
The charter school is willing to lease or possibly buy the building, supporters said.
Source: Gazette.com – by Kristina Iodice