The Fennimore Community Schools Board of Education agreed to a plan of action to sell the former Bray property at the corner of 7th Street and Cleveland Street during its semi-monthly meeting Wednesday, April 29.
“I have had several inquiries, calls, about the possibility of us selling the house and people could move it at their expense and what that process might be,” District Administrator Jamie Nutter told the Board.
The Board approved an offer of $150,000 to purchase the property at 580 7th Street, which is 29,505 square feet in size, in April 2014. Longtime Fennimore educator Linnie Bray most recently lived in the ranch-style home on the property.
“We are using the house right now for storage,” Nutter said. “All the classrooms that were in the demolition area – all the desks, cupboards, all the things that were salvageable – are in that house. We will need that storage until at least September 1.”
James Construction has expressed initial interest in donating their time and talents to convert the lot into a parking lot later this year, asking the school district to pay only the cost of gravel, Nutter told the Board.
“They would look at running the drainage, landscaping and all the things that go with it,” Nutter said.
The Board quickly agreed accepting sealed bids for the home was the best way to proceed but agreeing to a timeline was not as quick.
Board member Margaret Sprague first suggested the Board open the sealed bids during its second meeting and August, after which potential buyers have until Nov. 1 to move the home.
“People are going to want to see it,” Board member Peter Heberlein he said. “You are going to want to show it empty. You don’t want them in there scrounging around when there is stuff in it.”
Sprague then suggested accepting bids until the end of September, with the goal of the house being moved by a potential buyer by Dec. 1. Heberlein countered that moving a home in winter would not be ideal.
“I am wondering though if we can stay with those dates,” Nutter said. “Right now the way it is set up it is a little bit crowded, but at least they get an idea what they are getting. They can see the rooms.”
Board member Shelia Ruchti proposed accepting bids through July 1, approving an offer in July and allowing a potential buyer until Nov. 1 to move the home.
Sprague suggested accepting bids through July 17 and opening the bids during the Board’s meeting on Wednesday, July 22, and that a potential buyer will be allowed until Oct. 1 to move the home. The Board approved those conditions unanimously.
The Board unanimously approved the 2015-2016 school year calendar, which includes a start date of Sept. 1 and end date of May 27.
“This calendar is very similar to this year’s calendar, except for the fact that we cannot start before September 1,” Nutter said.
Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held Nov. 10 and Nov. 12 from 4-7:30 p.m. and again on Feb. 18.
Classes will dismiss early on Wednesday, Dec. 23 and will resume on Monday, Jan. 4. Students will enjoy a spring break March 21-28. Graduation will be held Saturday, May 28.
In other action, the Board:
• approved the retirements of Fennimore High School physical edcuation teacher Greg Jentz and Fennimore Elementary School art teacher Lana Caywood.
• approved offering a special education position to Ann Hartberg for the 2015-2016 school year following a closed session.
“Ann has had experience as a special education teacher in Iowa and has been a classroom teacher,” Nutter said Thursday morning. “She has worked with elementary school students and middle school students.
“To get a special education teacher is tough full-time, let alone half-time. To have someone like that in our community, we are real fortunate to have someone wanting to do that.”
Organization of School Board
As the meeting began, the Board chose its officers and made many designations for the year ahead.
James Griswold (president), JoAnn Wiederholt (vice president), Diane Helms (clerk) and Sheila Ruchti (treasurer) retained their seats as officers.
American Bank and Livingston State Bank were named the school district’s official depositories, the Fennimore Times was chosen as its official newspaper and Eileen Brownlee of Kramer and Brownlee was tabbed as school district attorney.
Sprague will serve as Wisconsin Association of School Boards Public Correspondent and Griswold will be the Board’s Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association representative. Wiederholt will be the CESA No. 3 representative.