Hamilton public board chair seeks to clarify rules on selling schools

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says he wants to require trustee approval before surplus school properties are offered to private buyers.

Todd White said he’ll ask the policy committee to refine the board’s property disposition protocol to make it clear properties don’t automatically go on the open market when no public agencies show interest in buying them.

Bell-Stone Elementary School in Glanbrook, which closed last year, could be in that position as of June 23.

“If it’s going to go open market, I wouldn’t want that to blindside me,” White told members of the finance committee as they reviewed two dozen schools and vacant sites properties identified for potential sale by the protocol.

“I would approach the ward trustee and potentially even the councillor, and say, ‘Are you comfortable or aware that this property is going to go on the open market?’”

Provincial regulations require surplus properties to be first offered to a list of public agencies that includes other school boards and the city, but if no one shows interest within 90 days they can be sold to private buyers.

White said when trustees declare a site surplus, he’s always believed they are only authorizing staff to solicit interest from public agencies.

Trustees are scheduled to declare three more elementary schools surplus this month — Eastmount Park, Roxborough Park and Woodward Avenue — with another dozen in the queue.

Parkside Secondary School in Dundas, already declared surplus, is also set to be offered to public agencies in July.

“My assumption is we’re trying to keep that land public and this is my concern as a trustee,” White said of surplus sites.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said trustees can change the rules, but warned delays in offering properties to private buyers could push back upgrades at schools that survived closure studies.

“Our revitalization strategy is contingent on us using proceeds of disposition,” she said.

Greg Van Geffen, trustee for Dundas and west Flamborough, said he agrees trustees need to be informed when properties move to the open market, but he also doesn’t want to handcuff staff.

“We have given them the go-ahead to sell the property,” he said. “We do need these funds to survive.”

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko said a recent public meeting on Eastmount Park’s potential sale made it clear the school could be sold to private buyers, but she’d still like to know how the public-agency phase went.

“It would be nice to have a notification, ‘By the way, nothing happened and it’s going onto the open market,’” she said.

Hamilton public board chair seeks to clarify rules on selling schools

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says he wants to require trustee approval before surplus school properties are offered to private buyers.

Todd White said he’ll ask the policy committee to refine the board’s property disposition protocol to make it clear properties don’t automatically go on the open market when no public agencies show interest in buying them.

Bell-Stone Elementary School in Glanbrook, which closed last year, could be in that position as of June 23.

“If it’s going to go open market, I wouldn’t want that to blindside me,” White told members of the finance committee as they reviewed two dozen schools and vacant sites properties identified for potential sale by the protocol.

“If it’s going to go open market, I wouldn’t want that to blindside me."

“I would approach the ward trustee and potentially even the councillor, and say, ‘Are you comfortable or aware that this property is going to go on the open market?’”

Provincial regulations require surplus properties to be first offered to a list of public agencies that includes other school boards and the city, but if no one shows interest within 90 days they can be sold to private buyers.

White said when trustees declare a site surplus, he’s always believed they are only authorizing staff to solicit interest from public agencies.

Trustees are scheduled to declare three more elementary schools surplus this month — Eastmount Park, Roxborough Park and Woodward Avenue — with another dozen in the queue.

Parkside Secondary School in Dundas, already declared surplus, is also set to be offered to public agencies in July.

“My assumption is we’re trying to keep that land public and this is my concern as a trustee,” White said of surplus sites.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said trustees can change the rules, but warned delays in offering properties to private buyers could push back upgrades at schools that survived closure studies.

“Our revitalization strategy is contingent on us using proceeds of disposition,” she said.

Greg Van Geffen, trustee for Dundas and west Flamborough, said he agrees trustees need to be informed when properties move to the open market, but he also doesn’t want to handcuff staff.

“We have given them the go-ahead to sell the property,” he said. “We do need these funds to survive.”

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko said a recent public meeting on Eastmount Park’s potential sale made it clear the school could be sold to private buyers, but she’d still like to know how the public-agency phase went.

“It would be nice to have a notification, ‘By the way, nothing happened and it’s going onto the open market,’” she said.

Hamilton public board chair seeks to clarify rules on selling schools

News Jun 04, 2015 by Richard Leitner Hamilton Mountain News

The chair of the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board says he wants to require trustee approval before surplus school properties are offered to private buyers.

Todd White said he’ll ask the policy committee to refine the board’s property disposition protocol to make it clear properties don’t automatically go on the open market when no public agencies show interest in buying them.

Bell-Stone Elementary School in Glanbrook, which closed last year, could be in that position as of June 23.

“If it’s going to go open market, I wouldn’t want that to blindside me,” White told members of the finance committee as they reviewed two dozen schools and vacant sites properties identified for potential sale by the protocol.

“If it’s going to go open market, I wouldn’t want that to blindside me."

“I would approach the ward trustee and potentially even the councillor, and say, ‘Are you comfortable or aware that this property is going to go on the open market?’”

Provincial regulations require surplus properties to be first offered to a list of public agencies that includes other school boards and the city, but if no one shows interest within 90 days they can be sold to private buyers.

White said when trustees declare a site surplus, he’s always believed they are only authorizing staff to solicit interest from public agencies.

Trustees are scheduled to declare three more elementary schools surplus this month — Eastmount Park, Roxborough Park and Woodward Avenue — with another dozen in the queue.

Parkside Secondary School in Dundas, already declared surplus, is also set to be offered to public agencies in July.

“My assumption is we’re trying to keep that land public and this is my concern as a trustee,” White said of surplus sites.

Treasurer Stacey Zucker said trustees can change the rules, but warned delays in offering properties to private buyers could push back upgrades at schools that survived closure studies.

“Our revitalization strategy is contingent on us using proceeds of disposition,” she said.

Greg Van Geffen, trustee for Dundas and west Flamborough, said he agrees trustees need to be informed when properties move to the open market, but he also doesn’t want to handcuff staff.

“We have given them the go-ahead to sell the property,” he said. “We do need these funds to survive.”

Central Mountain trustee Dawn Danko said a recent public meeting on Eastmount Park’s potential sale made it clear the school could be sold to private buyers, but she’d still like to know how the public-agency phase went.

“It would be nice to have a notification, ‘By the way, nothing happened and it’s going onto the open market,’” she said.