Parkview OKs sale of Newark
ORFORDVILLE Newark Elementary School has a new owner.
The sale of Parkview School District's shuttered school passed by a vote of 90-48 at Parkview Middle and High School on Monday night. As required by state law, the matter was brought up for a vote before the district's electorate at its annual meeting.
Ballots were cast on folded green ballots and passed to the front of the bleachers in the gymnasium, where three volunteers collected them in plastic ice cream buckets.
The vote authorized the sale of Newark Elementary School, a 17,700-square-foot building that sits on 6 acres at 11247 S. Merlet Road in Beloit, to Paul Britton, a town of Avon farmer who agreed to pay $202,500 plus closing costs.
Before ballots were cast, more than 15 residents spoke for and against the sale.
"You have taken the heart right out of Newark," said Sherrie Disrude. "That's the only thing we have. We don't have any businesses or a community center."
Parkview School Board President Clay Hammes said selling the school was difficult but the right choice.
"I never imagined receiving an offer for $67,000 above the asking price," Hammes said. "If this doesn't go through today, you need to realize how big of a step backward that is."
"By voting 'yes,' we will seal the fate that the legal issues can go forward," warned Bob Carlson, elected chairman of the meeting. The legal concern stems from a complaint voiced by Mike Draeving of BBM in Beloit.
Draeving addressed the board at its July 25 meeting and said he was told his bid was the highest after submitting it before the deadline of 9 p.m. July 24, according to a July 26 story in The Gazette. After the deadline, the district started taking verbal counteroffers over the phone, he said, and a letter he received did not mention actions taking place after the deadline.
Draeving told the board it should his accept his offer as the highest and consider the fairness of the process.
The district worked with its lawyers to set a process and inform bidders they could alter their bid if they weren't the highest, said district Superintendent Steve Lutzke.
Draeving previously said he was considering legal action over the bidding process.
The Newark Elementary School vote was clearly the main draw for the meeting's attendees, as about a dozen people left immediately after casting their ballots and another 20 left after results were announced.
The Parkview School District held its annual meeting Monday night. It voted on the following questions:
-- Adoption of 2012-13 tax levy, in the amount of $3,924,520.
-- Authorization for short-term borrowing
Yes: 97 (average of three different counts)
-- Authorize disposal of excess equipment and materials (no individual item for more than $500, and a maximum of $2,000 for all property sold during the upcoming school year)
Passed by visual majority
-- Authorize school board to sell Newark Elementary School