MENOMINEE - The Menominee Area Public Schools Board of Education at a special board meeting Monday unanimously agreed to proceed with the sale of Lincoln School.
Superintendent Michael Cattani presented the board with five alternatives for the school that was closed in 2011. The options were (1) sell the school, (2) locate the Virtual Career Center in the old half of the school, (3) locate the Virtual Career Center in the old half of Lincoln, the Early Childhood Center in the new half and rent rooms to the Head Start Program, (4) locate the Early Childhood Center in the new half and rent rooms to the Head Start Program, or (5) do nothing with the school at this time while paying $17,000 a year for utilities.
Jennifer MacDonald, Great Start Readiness Program teacher, spoke at the meeting and said she hopes that every little cost of turning the school into an Early Childhood and education center is explored.
Updates to the building, licenses, ratings, a new direction for the program as well as the hiring of additional staff were some issues mentioned at the meeting.
"Take time to talk about that," she said.
Cattani said with 30 students enrolled in the Virtual Career Center, revenue for the district is estimated at $15,000.
Lincoln School would not have a principal, but a lead teacher.
A part-time secretary would cost approximately $12,000 a year. A custodian would cost the district $16 an hour.
When Lincoln School closed, the kitchen equipment was newer than Central School, so it was swapped. If Lincoln School was re-opened, the kitchen equipment would have to be updated or hot lunches would have to be transported to the school.
Board president Ken Pulver said even though Lincoln School is empty, there are ongoing repairs and maintenance besides the $17,000 plus the district pays in utilities.
"There would be $20,000 savings to the budget by getting rid of it," he said.
Pulver, who had the opportunity to tour Escanaba's virtual school, said he thinks Lincoln School's old section is way too large for the virtual school.
"One room at Lincoln would be adequate for the site, not four rooms," he said.
Lincoln School's roof was replaced in 1992. The cost to fix the roof is estimated at a couple hundred dollars.
"If we retain the building, we have to put a lot of money into it," Pulver said.
As for the second option, Pulver said the $15,000 a year rent for the virtual school does not take into account the utilities that will be used.
"By end of the day, it will end up costing us," he said.
After discussion on details of the purchase agreement, the board approved to proceed with the sale of the school to the interested party (who choose not to be identified at this time) and allow the superintendent to seek legal advice on the purchase agreement with the district's attorneys.
Details of the purchase agreement will be negotiated by the board.
One of those fine details is that whoever buys the school has to make sure it is not turned into a Charter school.
Cattani said Lincoln School is appraised at $150,000 and that's the amount the interested party is offering.
Cattani said the district will be fine not having Lincoln School.
The district's enrollment numbers are less than when Lincoln School was open and are projected to be down next year.
"It's a little crowded at Central, but we will use the buildings we have for the virtual school," he said.
Next year, the Virtual Career Center will be located in the old Wells Fargo building on 1st Street.