|“Lucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”|
According to an November 2, 2005 Observer Dispatch article, School board OKs lease of property:
The board Tuesday also agreed to a purchase option on the property.Minutes of the November 1, 2005 New Hartford School board meeting confirm that a lease with an Option to Purchase was approved after an Executive Session that lasted over two (2) hours:
If the district decides to buy the property between now and Oct. 31, 2006, the cost of the house will be $150,000, Nole said.
Between Oct. 31, 2006, and Nov. 1, 2008, that price rises to $155,000, he said.
If the district chooses to buy the property between Nov. 1, 2008, and Oct. 31, 2010, the cost will be $160,000, he said.
Those costs do not include about $42,000 in repairs and improvements, Nole said.
The option to purchase means the district now is able to put the purchase of 29 Oxford Road up for a public vote if the district decides to go forward with the building project, Gilligan said.
Approval to Lease Premises at 29 Oxford Road and Execute Lease Agreement[Note: Mr. George Shaheen is hoping to regain a seat on the school board this year.]
Mr. Shaheen moved Mr. Pardi seconded that the Board approve a resolution authorizing the
approval to lease premises at 29 Oxford Road and execute a lease agreement.
Option to Purchase
Mr. Shaheen moved Mr. Pardi seconded, that the Board adopt a resolution authorizing the
Option to Purchase 29 Oxford Road.
In looking over Education Law, and after an exhaustive online investigation, we found that there is a section of Education Law that allows a school to enter into a lease with an option to buy if a building is constructed on property they already own; however, several documents [you can view one document here] we found online state that "a school may not enter into leases with an option to buy".
Also Education Law Article 9 - § 403-B Leasing of School Buildings and Facilities (f) states:
The term "lease", as used in this section, shall not include a lease with an option to purchase.
With that in mind, we would like to know...under what authority did the school board agree to a lease with option to buy?
Education Law Article 9 - § 403-B Leasing of School Buildings and Facilities (c) might provide the answer to our question. It says:
Such lease shall not become effective until the commissioner shall have approved the same. In approving such leases, the commissioner shall determine: (i) that the leased facility meets all applicable standards for the health, safety and comfort of occupants; (ii) that the leased facility is educationally adequate as determined by the commissioner for new construction or rehabilitation, and (iii) that district has a current five-year facilities plan, or other long-range facilities plan as applicable, that is consistent with the regulations of the commissioner, and includes the proposed lease as well as all other planned acquisitions, disposals and leasing of buildings or facilities for school purposes during the period of the plan.Could it be that the commissioner didn't approve the lease with option to purchase because schools aren't allowed to sign such a lease? Could it be that the school actually only has a lease...period...with no purchase options? That would certainly explain why the purchase options were never exercised.
A copy of the signed lease in satisfaction of Mr. Wiatr's FOIL request would quickly answer that question, but it would also open up another whole set of questions that we will get into whether or not we get a copy of the lease.
If you missed our first blog, Full Disclosure., we hope you will take the time to read it.
Superintendent Nole has recently been asked more than once by Edmund J. Wiatr, Jr., a candidate for the New Hartford school board, to name the owners of Ashford-Clinton Corp., the current owner of both the George Ave. and 29 Oxford Road properties that the school wishes to buy. However, Mr. Nole has stated he does not know.
We find that amazing since one of the owners is bond counsel for New Hartford Central School and the other is her husband. Perhaps Mr. Nole should read Full Disclosure... he might find it enlightening!
We have many more questions regarding the purchase of properties by New Hartford Central School. Our next few blogs will focus on our questions and the lack of response thus far from Superintendent Nole.