Sale of school bus garage stalls

GLADSTONE – Following a brief reorganizational session the Gladstone School Board was back to regular business at Monday night’s meeting, however progress being made on the sale of the district’s old bus garage was stalled.

The meeting began with board members selecting new officers for 2014. For the year Steve O’Driscoll was elected president. Linda Howlett was elected vice president. Steve Tackman was elected secretary, and Tom Harrell was elected treasurer.

Once the gavel had been passed, and new business was underway the board readdressed the issue of the bus garage, which was put out for bid last year.

“We wound up receiving two bids, one from the City of Gladstone and one from a private citizen. At this point in time it is the recommendation of the finance committee we reject both bids,” said Tackman. “The primary reason for that is that in the judgement of the administration and the concurrence of the finance committee … we could do better for the district by rejecting those bids and finding a workable deal with a better outcome.”

The board hopes that future bidders will provide the district with an option that has more long term value – monetarily or otherwise.

“(The city bid $1) in large part because of things that they’ve done for us or given us in the past,” Superintendent Jay Kulbertis told the Daily Press. “I think it might very well be beneficial to look at other options with the city that might be win-win for both of us and that there are some some other … entities in the community that might might want to look at some kind of give and take.”

Kulbertis also noted the value of strengthening community relationships during the sale of the bus garage and other projects.

“The economy with it being what it is it’s tough to ask anyone to write a check nowadays, and once you get a check you can only spend it once. But when you leverage a relationship and it’s strengthening those are sometimes beneficial time and time again,” he added

The bid received from a private citizen was a monetary amount.

“I’m trying to be sensitive because both those bidders may wish to bid again – I know it’s a public process but I’m trying to be sensitive to the fact that, you know, we don’t need to be discussing the details – but we were kind of looking at apples and oranges between the two bids, which is fine. We asked for any and all proposals,” said Howlett.

The board also discussed the possibility of keeping the facility for use by the district as some sort of athletic facility or community space. The consensus of the board was that maintaining the building would be too costly.

The board plans to decide when the bus garage will be put up for bid again at its next regular meeting on Feb. 17.