The vacant building that used to house the Phenix City Head Start Center will be sold to an undisclosed buyer who plans to open a daycare center there if the Phenix City Board of Education approves the superintendent's recommendation.
The surplus property is at the intersection of First Street and 11th Avenue. The current Phenix City Head Start Center is on Ingersoll Drive.
Superintendent Randy Wilkes made his request during the board's work session Thursday night. No board member commented on the proposal, which will be up for a vote during Tuesday's 6 p.m. meeting.
Opinions from attorneys general, Wilkes said, require a school board to attempt to gain fair market value for surplus property. The undisclosed buyer's offer is $10,000, and the appraised fair market value is $38,800, Wilkes said. But he recommends the deal because of the following extenuating circumstances:
Two estimates to demolish the building are $28,700 and $36,000. "In my opinion," Wilkes said, "add that plus $10,000, you come up with what? Fair market value."
The legal opinions also state that a school board can sell property below fair market value if the facility will be used for an educational purpose or if it will improve community development. A daycare center, Wilkes said, "is somewhat educational and very much helping the community out."
Board attorney Bob Meadows concurred with Wilkes' rationale and added that the previous offer for the property was $1,500.
In other business, Wilkes told the board the city government gave him a May 1 deadline to request funds for next fiscal year. The city contributed $100,000 for this year, Wilkes said, so he asked board members to help him make another request.
Although no figures were suggested, board president Brad Baker said, "Anything is appreciated, absolutely, but I would hope the city would give consideration and give a little more for excellence in education."
And the superintendent mentioned two possibilities. Wilkes said the city's contribution could help equip the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) academies expected to open at Phenix City Intermediate School and South Girard School in two years or the take-home tablet computers for students in grades 6-8 starting next school year.
Mark Rice, 706-576-6272. Follow him on Twitter@MarkRiceLE.