GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Before it was even on the market, Grand Rapids Christian schools submitted a bid to purchase the now-closed Shawnee Park School.
"They would like to submit an offer to us," Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal told the GRPS school board Monday evening at the beginning of a special board meeting.
Usually, Neal said, with a bid both close to the appraised value and from another school, the district accepts it. In this case, the proposed price inspired discussion.
The Grand Rapids Christian district submitted a bid of $800,000. Shawnee Park was appraised at $850,000 in April.
Board member David LaGrand suggested the superintendent pose a counter-offer of $900,000.
"I'm inclined to say we're looking at this as a business transaction and maximize our value," said LaGrand. "Unless this is something where we're saying, 'This entity is making the community better in ways we can't,' but I don't see that as something we can properly say."
Board President Wendy Falb brought up other concerns.
"There's more than just top dollar in terms of what would be best for Grand Rapids Public Schools in selling their buildings," said Falb. "I don't know the answer to this, but I question whether we have a positive buyer for a property [if] that's its own asset."
The board went into an unplanned closed session to discuss the sale.
The board did have some issues in the past with a developer who said he was going to develop GRPS properties into apartments, but later sold them to a charter school company -- which directly competes with the district.
Neal said the board did not discuss a stipulation for the property to not be turned into a charter school.
"We're going to do what's best for the entire community, and so that's a different conversation," said Neal. "So whether it's charter, or Christian, or Catholic, they're really concerned about neighborhoods, and they want for this particular deal to be best for that neighborhood."
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