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Gilman school district to list forest parcels with real estate agent

Proceeds from the land sale will go toward upgrades at Gilman school forest

The Gilman School District will work with a local real estate agent to sell two former school forest parcels.

The parcels which include about 80 acres in the town of Taft and 40 acres in the town of Cleveland had been deeded to the school district many years ago for school forest land. The parcels are separate from the main school forest located near the wayside on Hwy 64. The decision was made last year to sell the unneeded parcels with the funds from the sale going to school forest improvements.

At Monday’s school board meeting, district administrator Walter Leipart said discussion centered on the best way to sell the properties with consideration given to going through an auction or asking for sealed bids. In the end he said, the board decided to work with a real estate agent as a way to allow all interested parties to have equal opportunity and get the best price for the property for the district. Leipart said he did not want the public to get the impression the board was picking and choosing a buyer for the properties.

Leipart said the school forest committee has a number of projects they would use the money on to improve the learning experience at the school forest.

“It has the potential to be a pretty large sum of money,” Leipart said, noting that not only would the funds be available to make improvements to the forest but would also help with ongoing operations and maintenance. “You don’t want to just build it, you need to sustain it,” Leipart said of the need to look longrange on any projects there.

“Before any money is spent there, we have to have a strategic plan; this is thinking long range,” he said, In other business, board members

_ Continued the process of selecting new math curriculum for grades Kindergarten through third grade.

_ Reviewed COVID-19 impacts on the district. Leipart reported that they are at almost 100% attendance. “We have been very fortunate,” he said. In related action, the board will be addressing the mask mandate on a month by month basis with the current renewal of the governor’s mask order through March. The board also loosened its position on attendance at games to allow each athlete to bring up to four spectators of their choice to games. Previously, spectators had been limited to just household members. Any spectators would continue to have to sign up 24 hours in advance.

_ Approved not having any limits on the open enrollments in any school or program. State rules require districts to decide if there is space in programs for open-enrolled students. Like many smaller districts around the state, Gilman welcomes all open enrollees.

_ Sent out the renewals for the agreements for the E-Succeed Charter School while extending the opportunity for other districts to join the consortium for distance learning options.