Written by Cynthia L. Jacoby
December 05, 2011
The Benton-Carroll-Salem school board will meet Tuesday to discuss whether to accept a $5,000 offer made for Rocky Ridge Elementary School.
A public auction took place late Saturday morning at the property at 1098 N. West St.
The $5,000 formal offer now must go to the B-C-S board for review at a special meeting at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the board office, school treasurer Anne Arnold said.
An out-of-state resident made the offer by telephone, Batdorff Real Estate auctioneer Chad Brough confirmed.
The two-story elementary, which closed at the final bell of 2010-11 school year, had been part of the Benton-Carroll-School System for nearly a century.
Declining enrollment and a budget crunch forced B-C-S school board members to shutter the building and place it on the auction block along with 3.5 surrounding acres, Kershaw said in previous interviews. The sale package included a well water system, an on-site package treatment plant and a fuel oil heat system.
In days prior to the auction, the board also decided to sell two other outlying school buildings – Carroll Elementary and Graytown Elementary.
The changes come as board members struggle to get a handle on the annual budget. State cuts, decreasing tax revenues, and area home foreclosures are wreaking havoc on school system budgets across the area.
The Oak Harbor area board members said they were forced to make the decision in the wake of the November failure of the 3.9-mill, 5-year operating levy. They had warned taxpayers that the building closures along with other cuts were imminent if voters turned down the levy.
Closing school buildings and consolidating services has been a growing trend for the education systems across the nation and Ottawa County is no different.
This summer, neighboring Genoa Local School District closed Brunner Elementary and Allen Central Elementary as part of a consolidation plan. Voters gave the OK for funding a new elementary school on the campus that also includes the high school and middle school.
The Allen Central building, which had structural flaws, was demolished.
Brunner, however, was sold to local businessman Gary Moritz for $30,000 this fall. He intends to refurbish it into a recreational complex and possibly office space, according Schools Superintendent Dennis Mock.
Years ago, when the new middle school was built, the Genoa school board sold its aging middle school to a church ministry. It still operates church services from the downtown location.
To the east, finances forced the Port Clinton School District to close the doors of its Catawba Elementary on Catawba Island and Portage Elementary on State Road, located a short distance from city limits. Jim Stouffer, owner of the Catawba Island Club, bought the Catawba school and adjacent land. And, a church ministry purchased the Portage Elementary School.
Since then, the district has passed a levy to refurbish Bataan Elementary and build a new middle school. The new buildings are slated to open in the fall.