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Weaver school property to be used for bakery, burials

Rick Wagner • Jul 11, 2018 at 8:15 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — A sourdough bread making operation is about to become neighbor to a cemetery expansion after all since the bakery is buying the former Weaver Elementary School in eastern Sullivan County.

At its Monday night meeting, the Board of Education decided to sell to the bakery and also gave Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski an evaluation score of 4.47 on a scale of 1-5, up from 4.31 in 2017.

SCHOOL BOARD GREEN-LIGHTS BAKERY

The BOE voted 7-0 to approve the sale of the building and 5.81 acres to a California-based bakery operation. The sale is to A&B Holdings LLC for $55,410. The Weaver Cemetery Association is paying $15,150 for another parcel for expansion space, while neighboring homeowners are to pay $800 and $1,017, respectively, for small plots adjoining their properties.

The sales total $72,377.

BOE Attorney Pat Hull said the plan is for board Chairman Michael Hughes to sign all four deeds and a purchasing agreement with A&B at a called meeting Thursday, to be held after a 4:30 p.m. work session. The purchase agreement specifies that the building can never again be used as  a school or for educational purposes. A deed restriction to that effect also is to be in place.

The school board earlier had declined the bakery’s offer to buy all but the two small parcels, opting to accept the cemetery’s bid. The system is not required to take the highest bid or any bids on surplus property.

The Thursday BOE meeting and work session are to consider the draft 2018-19 school system budget and a low bid of almost $61 million for the construction of West Ridge High School near Exit 63 of Interstate 81.

In the Weaver deal, the bakery will keep all kitchen equipment still in the building. All four deeds will be quit claim deeds, meaning the school system is giving up any rights it has to the property, but it is being sold as is.

After Weaver was closed in May 2017 because of structural issues, the facilities where its students were transferred got first pick of the old furnishings, followed by Title 1 schools and the remaining schools. The remainder of the equipment was auctioned at Govdeals.com.

The handling of the Weaver surplus property is important, BOE members said, because it sets a precedent for the disposal of surplus schools as the construction of a middle school in 2019 and a high school in 2020 will have a domino effect of closing facilities countywide.

DIRECTOR’S SCORE UP FROM LAST YEAR

The board also gave Rafalowski an evaluation score of 4.47 on a scale of 1 to 5, up from 4.31 in 2017. The score was based on combining individual ratings of the director from each of the seven board members. She did not receiving any ratings bellow a 4. She received a 5 on planning, implementing and assessing “instructional programs that enhance teaching and student achievement of the state education standards,” one of 10 performance standards among six domains.

She also got a 5 on selecting, inducting, supporting, evaluating and retaining “quality instructional and support personnel. She got 4 on using data for decision-making, organizational skills to achieve goals and “effective channels of communication with board members and between the schools and community, strengthening support of constituencies and building coalitions.”

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