Curtiss school back on the market, again
HAMMONDSPORT—The Hammondsport Central School District is seeking a fourth buyer for the former Curtiss school building after the last offer fell through two weeks ago.
Superintendent Kyle Bower outlined the district’s plan at the Wednesday, Sept. 18, school board meeting. Bower explained the last potential buyer, Lewisburg, Pa.-based Robert Lack, lost financing from his bank and pulled the offer. The former Curtiss school has been for sale since the 2010-11 school year, after the district moved all classes to the Main Street campus. The previous two purchases also fell through.
Bower said he has instructed their brokers and the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency to find more prospective buyers by the Oct. 16 school board meeting. The board will consider any offers at that time. Bower said if the board accepts a proposal that night, they would be looking at the sale closing by Jan. 1, 2104. If no offer is selected at the next meeting, Bower said the closing will be pushed back.
Bower explained Hammondsport didn’t budget for maintaining the Curtiss building for this year. He estimated the maintenance costs through Jan. 1, 2014, equals $15,000 to $20,000. Bower said the board will have to look at other areas in the budget to make cuts.
The next sale offer will also have to include an approved engineering plan to fix the former Curtiss school’s septic system. Bower explained it is leaking and the property can’t be transferred to a new buyer unless there is an approved plan. He said the problem was discovered by Lack during the last due diligence period. However, he added this will likely lower the sale cost as the new buyer will have to fix the system.
“I expect offers will be lower than we’ve seen,” said Bower. He added the last three offers were around $300,000.
The school board agreed with the plan to sell the school. Board President Jim Zimar added as long as the district does what it should to inform residents about the sale. Bower invited the public to come to the next meeting and find out about the proposals.
In other business:
• Bower and Principals Michelle Sincerbox and Tad Rounds explained the English language arts and math test scores from last year’s exams. Bower explained the tests were completely different from previous years because of the state’s new common core standards. He said the state education department is telling districts not to compare these results with the previous year because of the change. Rounds said generally 70 percent of students across the state didn’t meet the proficiency levels.
• Bower reported English teachers are being told they can substitute or modify state selected texts and excerpts to be used in the common core if they are seen as offensive. Sincerbox added one teacher did use a story about girls going to school involving the Taliban with third graders, but prefaced the reading by explaining the setting.
• The board recognized several staff members: Sarah Dickson, new third grade teacher; Courtney Johnston, new special education teacher; Patricia Katona, new special education teacher; Jill Livingston, new pre-kindergarten teacher; Brandi Walruth, teacher aide; Tina Watson, teacher aide; Sean Case, cleaner; Kimberly Shaut, food service worker; and Jackie Swarthout, food service worker.
• The following appointments were approved: Wendy Para, assistant volleyball coach at the rate of $1854.36; uncertified on-call substitute teacher at the rate of $70/day; substitute teaching assistant at the rate of $70/day and substitute non-instructional at the rate of $60/day for the 2013-14 school year; and Tyler Baroody, volleyball scorekeeper at the rate $150 for the season.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 6 p.m. It is anticipated to start with an executive session.