Montour accepted the final sale price for the Forest Grove location at a special meeting on May 4.
By Jamie Wiggan
During a special meeting May 4, Montour school directors approved a sales agreement for the former Ingram Elementary School while also accepting a reduction to the final sale price on the Forest Grove building under contract since 2019.
The board voted unanimously to sell the Ingram building to ANG Real Estate for $650,000.
However, a motion to approve a new sales agreement for the Forest Grove school drew opposition from two directors, who said the approximately $600,000 price reduction represents a bad deal for the district.
President Mark Hutter, Vice President Kenneth Barth and Directors Cynthia Morrow, Thomas Barclay, Mitchell Galiyas, Mary Ellen Moore and Mark Rippole all voted for the updated agreement, while Directors George Dudash and Darrell Young opposed.
Administration would not share the agreement outside of a formal Right To Know request.
Describing its contents in a later interview, Dudash said the original sale price of $1.7 million was brought down to $1.1 million, while the contract also required the district to cover about $380,000 in due diligence expenses paid by original buyer CRAFT Homes.
The agreement took CRAFT out of the sale, reassigning it to a new developer, Kaclik Builders of Butler County.
Dudash said his main hangup was that Kaclik would benefit from the money spent by CRAFT in addition to the reduced sale price, while the district would lose out on both counts.
“It appears that we’ve basically given away $400,000 worth of product to a developer,” Dudash said.
"...This doesn’t sound like it’s fiscally prudent policy.”
Hutter acknowledged the deal doesn’t provide an “optimal solution” but said the alternative would involve a potential lawsuit and starting the sales process from scratch.
“I think there’s been a tremendous amount of cooperation in making this deal happen, which I think is in the best interest of the community,” Hutter said.
By reverting it back to the tax rolls, Hutter added that the sold property would quickly defray the losses incurred in the sale.
According to Dudash, CRAFT was leveraging an undisclosed utility right of way to get out of the agreement and recoup its expenses as an alternative to filing a lawsuit against the district.
A press release issued by the district after the vote states Kaclik plans to develop the site into “a high-quality patio home community.”
Meanwhile, directors united around a sales agreement committing the former Ingram Elementary school to a local developer interested in turning the historic building into apartments.
During a previous board meeting April 15, Pat Morosetti, a real estate agent representing the district, presented the ANG bid alongside a separate bid from a nonprofit called Wellness for Veterans. While higher, the Wellness for Veterans bid was contingent on as yet unsecured grant money and had a high chance of falling through, according to Morosetti.
ANG’s original bid came in $150,000 lower than the offer approved May 4.
Dudash said he had heard from members of Ingram council that they also supported the ANG offer.