Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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March 29, 2014

Washington Hunt decision coming Wednesday

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lockport Board of Education members will either pick a Washington Hunt buyer and put the matter before voters, or choose to hold off on the sale.

The district wants to sell the Washington Hunt property, which is an approximately 33,200 square-foot, two-story building at 50 Rogers Ave. The school was closed this past June at the conclusion of the 2012-13 school year. Hunt, which once housed 250 or so kids, became too costly to update and maintain, district officials said.

Proposals, which included a purchase price and the buyer’s plans for the property, were being accepted by the district until Friday. Deborah Coder, assistant superintendent for finance and management services, declined to give details citing state education law concerning real property sales but did confirm at least one interested party submitted a proposal.

One interested party surfaced in January before the district began advertising the sale, but nothing came to fruition. The Hunt property was appraised at $195,000 by Darrel R. Lloyd, Jr. with IREM Solutions, Inc. 

Per state education law, the sale of a school building would have to be approved by district voters as a ballot proposition at the annual budget vote on May 20. Already, voters will have to consider the district’s budget, elect three board members and two other propositions that day.

The other propositions include creating a capital improvement reserve fund and the school tax exemption for veterans. 

In New York, school boards have until April 4 to decide if an item belongs on the May ballot. Lockport board members are planning on adopting a 2014-15 budget at its April 9 meeting, then holding a public hearing on May 7.

At the March 19 board meeting, Superintendent Michelle T. Bradley said voters will go to the polls knowing who the proposed Hunt buyer is, what the sale price will be and what the plan for the school is.

Coder said the board could also choose Wednesday to go with a buyer, but also put off the sale until the buyer is ready to proceed.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.

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