Libbey legislation does not include deed restrictionWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
During the April 26 Toledo City Council discussion on the proposed development agreement between Toledo Public Schools (TPS) and the City of Toledo for the purchase of a portion of the Libbey High School complex, Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat referenced a deed restriction. TPS and Toledo are stating on April 29 that there was no written request for a deed restriction. In addition, TPS officials say all charter schools were given 60 days to make an offer on the Libbey property, but none did.
The deed restriction was referenced during council’s agenda review session, in answer to questions from Councilman Joe McNamara about the legal requirements of notifying a charter school.
“And let me point out in our discussions with TPS, they are insisting and we have agreed to put a deed restriction in the deed that would not allow this facility to be operated as a charter school,” Herwat said.
TPS Board Vice President Lisa Sobecki said April 29, “There were inquiries as far as how to protect the district should something happen and the City of Toledo not be able to complete the project, but those were questions for legal counsel. Those inquiries were part of the informal discussion, not a formal request.”
Jen Sorgenfrei, public information officer for the City of Toledo, said while she was not involved in the discussions with TPS and Toledo, “Our legal department would never allow us to enter into an agreement that was against the law,” she said.
“There is no finalized contract and neither party has been granted powers by their respective legislative bodies for a sale. The current legislation just allows the process to continue,” Sorgenfrei said.
Herwat was out sick and did not respond to an April 29 request for clarification on the earlier statement. Sources within Toledo and TPS told Toledo Free Press they believe Herwat made an unintentional misstatement given the stage of the discussions.
At the Dec. 15 TPS OFSC Committee meeting, legislation was first discussed to give permission for TPS administration and the Board president to enter into discussions with Toledo on the Libbey complex. TPS Board approved that legislation on Dec. 21.
A statement was released from TPS April 29 from James Gant, TPS business manager. Gant is quoted as stating, “Pursuant to the Ohio Revised Code 3313.41 (the “Code”), on Jan. 3, 2011, a certified letter was sent to 40 Ohio-based charter schools notifying them of Toledo Public School properties, including Libbey High School, that were being offered for sale. The Code requires a 60-day timeframe for a charter school to present an acceptable offer for any of the properties. In addition, the Code requires that the offer include a fair market purchase price, which was determined by utilizing property values provided by the Lucas County Auditors’ Office. As of today, TPS has not been presented with an offer to purchase any of the properties.
“Toledo Public Schools and representatives from the City of Toledo have been in discussions about the ancillary facilities on the former Libbey High School campus since December, 2010 when the Board of Education passed a resolution allowing the district to enter into negotiations on the property. The Board then passed a resolution on April 26, 2011 authorizing the sale of a portion of the Libbey campus to the City. Terms stated in that resolution do not include any deed restrictions. TPS and the City have been in constant contact regarding the legal implications of the proposed agreement since the December resolution was passed. Neither TPS nor the City have entered into/or drafted the final agreement as of this communication. Both parties have every intention of developing an agreement that is in strict accordance with Ohio law.”
Toledo Free Press reported Feb. 3 that TPS had notified charter schools as required by the Ohio Schools Facility Commission.
It was reported that before proceeding with demolition, the OSFC requires the district to offer the facility to charter schools for 60 days and that deadline was March 3.
“The City was the only one who expressed an interest,” Sobecki said. “We are required to offer property at fair market value; the value was determined by the auditor’s office. It’s the same as any real estate deal, there is an appraised price but that is not always what the final sale price ends up at. Offers can be made, accepted or rejected.”
TPS and Toledo have entered into previous agreements concerning former Toledo Public School buildings.
“It has to be offered to a public entity, which could include a charter school, but it could also include the City,” Councilman Steve Steel said April 26. “In fact we’ve already done that with several properties including the Ryder school property, that then the City channeled over to Xunlight.”