ST. PARIS – Graham Local Schools began the process of selling its former junior high/high school building to the village of St. Paris.
The school board also removed some participation fees for academic programs at its Monday meeting.
The school board approved a resolution offering the property at 370 E. Main St. in St. Paris to the village for $15,000 Monday. The sale would include all of the buildings on the approximately four-acre site, Graham District Operations and Services Supervisor Don Burley said. The property and buildings are appraised at $618,190, according to Champaign County Auditor records.
Burley said he does not know why the village wants the property. The village owns surrounding properties, he said.
The district’s transportation and bus operations are located at the 370 E. Main St. property, though they will move to a new location after a new bus garage is constructed. The school district is constructing a new bus garage building at the former Faulkner Lumberyard property across from Graham Middle School. The board approved purchasing the property at its March meeting. That property must still be annexed into St. Paris village; that process is proceeding.
Burley said the hope is to have something habitable for the district’s bus operations available by Jan. 1, so that the sale of the 370 E. Main St. property can be completed.
The school board also approved removing participation fees for class officer, student council (at the elementary, middle and high schools), National Honor Society and Students Making a Difference activities. Those fees were instituted in the 2011-12 school year, alongside a number of cuts made to balance the budget, Treasurer Judy Geers said. The participation fees are used to offset costs for each activity, and are used for both academic and sports programs.
The fees that were removed ranged from $10 to $20.
Board members discussed removing the fees from academic programs, adding they felt it was wrong to charge a fee for academic pursuits.
“I have a real philosophical problem with all of those,” Board member Mike Ludlow said, referring to all fees for participation. “I understand funding in education is a problem. I realize everybody’s doing it. But I think it’s terrible.”
Geers said the fees help offset the costs for the programs, including the costs to have an advisor or coach to run the program. She did not have an estimate on how much the change will cost the district.