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If BoE sells Rivers Elementary School, where does money go?

There is still not much official information available on the potential sale of Rivers Elementary School or who the buyer might be. But what is known is that, even if it is sold, the proceeds cannot be used to pay for teachers or parapros or even for maintenance and repairs of other buildings.

Instead, the money must be used to pay down bond debt and cannot be used to offset the millions that must be cut from the general fund in the spring.

The Fayette County Board of Education Monday night after executive session unanimously passed a motion to “authorize staff to enter into up to 120 days of discovery and due diligence related to the potential sale of Rivers Elementary.”

With a 2008 construction price tag of $10 million, the 86,172 square-foot facility has 43 instructional units with room to accommodate 675 students. The construction of the school was part of the $65 million bond referendum approved by voters in November 2004. It currently houses a few dozen special education students and about double that many staff persons.

A portion of the current one-penny education sales tax collected throughout Fayette (E-SPLOST) also helps pay down the school system’s bond debt. And the E-SPLOST continued by voters in November, and taking effect in 2014, will provide another $10 million in bond debt payments.

Current bond debt is $72.7 million while the current bond millage rate collected to pay down the bond debt stands at 1.45 mills.

Rivers is one of the schools included in the redistricting efforts that were put on hold in mid-October after Superintendent Jeff Bearden announced that an undisclosed potential property deal was in the works. But it took Bearden about two weeks to tell members of his community advisory committee that the property he referenced at the meeting was Rivers Elementary.



suggarfoot's picture

"There is still not much official information available on the potential sale of Rivers Elementary School or who the buyer might be. But what is known is that, even if it is sold, the proceeds cannot be used to pay for teachers or parapros or even for maintenance and repairs of other buildings"

I know some on the board have been hoping to unload Rivers for a couple years. The deal in the past has been no one wanted to pay in rent or outright buy it for what it is worth.

If they can dump it, at least the upkeep of an empty school will be off our backs.

Rivers was the folly of two members, that with the help of Lee Wright, controled the board vote.

Rivers sold would be one less problem. It was a developers dream and a taxpayers burden. It certainly wasn't a solution.

Rivers was also built to follow the BOC plan to build the by-pass. So, we can also thank them for pushing this plan onto the BOE. It's a hard lesson. Build it and they will come. Maybe next time we have growth, we will wait until the sustained need is there before we jump. That, or have the developer build the school as a prerequisite for building.

I drove down Sandy Creek to the by-pass last Tue evening around 6:30 pm. I was the lone driver on the road headed towards Cleveland Elementry School. That's the first time I had driven this road after dark. Very desolate, poor lighting and signage. Kind of sad. Thanks Jack.

I hate that when it was built my son was supposed to go there (or so we thought) If they had moved the Burch students there, and either use Burch for special needs or move Tyrone to Burch and special ed to Tyrone, things could have been better. I know that many people were discouraged that their kids were not going to get a new school and either moved to different school or like me dealt with major overcrowded situation at Burch. Also if offered the new school, the neighborhoods would have filled up and therefore would not have been such a burden. Lots of people changed minds to build or buy in area for this reason!

Since I have been here I have noticed major lack of common sense, but what can I expect. This whole generation is losing sense and it is sad. I just pray things will work out.

[quote]or have the developer build the school as a prerequisite for building.[/quote]

And/or increase developer fees to cover costs of increased population.

I am not sure if it is even legal. That's what impact fees are designed to incorporate. I do remember reading where a hospital somewhere, had to purchase a new ladder fire truck in order to get the approval to build vertically. The fire dept needed a way to fight a fire above a certain elevation.

I too have driven the road to no-where and see no benefit unless you live near 54 and Sandy Creek..without access to I85 the road was only to benefit new construction which was not needed. I would rather drive through Downtown Fayetteville and spend 5 minutes at Glynn and 54 then go 5 miles out of my way..Rivers was for new development too and like Inman located in the middle of least Cleveland was build around neighborhoods..

americanpatriots's picture

I received the following information from the FC BoE's Comptroller:

We capitalized $12,261,327 for the Inman building. We spent additional money on equipping the school that is not included in the cost of the building. We bought the property at $22,500/acre for 129.06 acres =$2,903,850 before any closing costs.

Rivers land was purchased for $755,244.78. We capitalized $11,100,175.50 related to the construction of the building.

It's a given that we built a school on occupancy speculation that failed to come to fruition. In a few years, hopefully we will again see sustained growth. Where do the real estate professionals believe this may occur? Near Rivers?

If yes, would it not be prudent to consider a long term lease in lieu of a sale? Perhaps a private school that needs extra space while they raise capital for a building of their own. A school like Woodward or Pace could benefit from a satellite campus in Fayette County. While this may steal some students from our schools, we would also gain the state funds while they are educated elsewhere. Pretty sure parents in Clayton, Coweta, a possibly Spaulding counties would consider sending their kids since it will be an easier trip then to both fine schools. Sort of a win/win.

Perhaps a 5 year lease until the economy recovers and we have actual students who live in the Rivers vicinity.

Does anyone know if this was researched?

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