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Agreement for sale of middle school on board agenda

Tax levy for 2013 up for approval

December 20, 2012
By Kremena Spengler - Staff Writer ( , The Journal

NEW ULM - The District 88 Board of Education on Thursday will consider approval of an agreement to sell the former middle school to Eagle Development, LLC.

The board will also consider approval of a 10-year agreement to lease the school auditorium from the new owner.

Eagle Development bid the highest amount for the property in sealed-bid proceedings last spring, $100,000. This prompted the school district to continue negotiations with the group.

Another local actors group, NUACT, was a party to two lower bids, of respectively $50,000 and $25,000, differing on specifics.

Eagle Development is proposing a plan to transform the property into senior apartments.

The original building was constructed in 1915. Classrooms and an auditorium were added in 1938. More classrooms were added in 1955.

The building was last used as a school for grades seven and eight in 2006-2007. After that school year, as a result of declining enrollment, seventh and eighth-graders were moved into the high school.

The former school now houses some school district offices, including the superintendent's. It is also used for storage of school property, and parts are rented out to community groups. The auditorium is heavily used by both the schools and the community. But, overall, only 20 percent of the building is now in use.

The district placed the building for sale because of its high maintenance costs. According to a fact sheet supplied to bidders, utility costs ran in the range of $80,000 to $90,000 a year in the last few years of full operation, and at approximately half as much since.

The building would have needed significant upgrades if it had remained a school, say officials.

Levy certification

The board is also expected to certify the local tax levy payable in 2013.

The amount is $6,154,218, up $1,171,255 from 2012.

Tax information, including background and reasons for the levy changes was presented at a tax hearing Dec. 6.

The main reason for the proposed tax increase is the new levy of $575 per pupil unit per year approved by voters last November.


The board is also expected to approve new contracts for some non-unionized employees (mostly supervisors and clerical staff).

It will hold the first reading and review of two policies, on student parking and on graduation requirements.

The parking policy reflects a partial switch to paid parking on the main campus.

The board meets at 7 p.m. in the former middle school.



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