Haggling For Frontier

Frontier Elementary School

Frontier Elementary School Photo by Andy Towle. |

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The Payson Unified School District (PUSD) school board continues to call repeated special meetings to negotiate the possible sale of the Frontier Elementary School site.

The latest meeting in the closed-door haggle with a potential buyer will take place today, April 19, at a special meeting at noon in the district offices. Superintendent Ron Hitchcock said the board may take action on the sale at that time.

At an April 15 special meeting, the board refused to budge from its $1.25 million asking price. Board president Barbara Underwood called for a motion on the sale of Frontier, but the board remained mum.

One confused audience member, Eileen Daniels, a former board member who lives next to the shuttered elementary school, asked, “Um ... did the board just decide to not accept the offer for Frontier?”

“Yes,” said Underwood before quickly moving on to the next item.

Hitchcock said most of the board’s discussions about the sale have taken place in executive session, which the open meeting law allows. The board doesn’t have to reveal details of the offers and counter-offers to protect the negotiating process.

However, the bidder may have now decided to meet the board’s asking price, which is not based on an appraisal and is a fraction of the money the district spent building the school.

“The offers we have received in meetings so far we have declined, reaffirming the asking price,” said Hitchcock. “This will likely be the last back and forth.”

Today the board will first discuss the details in executive session, and then allow constituent comments before launching into the public part of the meeting.

The three items on the agenda include the board approval of the sale of the inventory in the school, the purchase of the school site, and starting a building project at Payson Elementary School.

“If the board approves selling the inventory, we will ask staff to make sure nothing is at Frontier that they require and then make a list of items for sale and publish it,” said Hitchcock. “We hope to sell everything in an entire lot. If there is no bid for the entire lot, we will dispense of individual items.”

Frontier neighbors report that as of Thursday morning, they have seen furniture and other inventory on the grass in front of the school.

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