Letter | Is the school district in the real estate business?
March 25, 2012 · Updated 1:42 PM
When did the Mercer Island School District get into the real estate business? Why is the Board of Directors spending nearly $6 million to buy property that the School District acknowledges to be too small for a school site?
In the March 7 issue of the MI Reporter, Gary Plano was quoted as saying that the transactions for the Stevenson property and Redeemer Lutheran Church were both contingent on voter approval of the April 17 bond proposition. But in the March 14 issue, we were told that the district will buy the Stevenson property even if the bond proposition fails. If they’re able to do that, why is land acquisition part of the bond?
The stated purpose of buying Stevenson is now to hold it for a potential future land swap, preferably at the north end. Where on the north end or, for that matter, anywhere on the Island is there any parcel close to the seven acres of the combined Stevenson-Redeemer properties? It sounds like people were just giving lip service to the idea of keeping the Stevenson property in the public domain. Are we just delaying turning it over to private developers?
There was talk of using the old Island Park building as a “swing school” to accommodate student offloading during school construction. Without a school on the Stevenson-Redeemer property, how will offloading be handled? Does the School Board really have a plan for the proposed bond levy, or is it just a wish list? We’ve been offered a vague construction scenario. Is there a logical, well thought-out schedule for building the replacement schools? What about the high school, athletic stadium and Mary Wayte Pool? Where do they fit into the overall plan?