Hayfield board selling Brownsdale school; Building to be sold to city

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Hayfield Community Schools Board voted to sell the Browndale Elementary School to the city of Brownsdale during a Monday meeting.

Superintendent Belinda Selfors said the board’s 7-0 vote to see the school to the city versus a private party spoke volumes.

“I think their intent was to do what was best for the district and the community of Brownsdale,” Selfors said.

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The sale was reportedly for $1 with a Realist report listing the value of the 11-acre property for $500,000 building being valued at $550, while the asking price was about $99,000.

During a closed session and then briefly in public before the vote, the board discussed to two offers and the merit to the public of selling to the city.

The board voted unanimously in March to close the Brownsdale school and move all the students to Hayfield. Selfors said the district is set to begin moving equipment and materials in June 3, and the district is asking for volunteers to help with the process.

The process should be completed by the end of July.

The board brought up the idea of closing the elementary school due to a number of factors, including operating costs, capital expenses, facility needs, and decreasing enrollment trends.

One of the main issues is a 25 percent decrease in enrollment in the last 13 years. Selfors previously noted the Hayfield campus can hold about 1,000 students, and currently houses just under 600.

The Brownsdale school currently holds about 120 students, including some kindergarten through second-graders, all the district’s third-graders, and some students in early childhood special education programs.

The board faced a choice of having to increase revenues or decrease expenses, according to Selfors, to fix the immediate needs, which include things such as roofing, outdated fire alarm and security systems, a lack of sprinklers in buildings, parking lot issues, flooring, heating and cooling issues and more.

Yet the issue proved controversial, as many community members, parents and teachers didn’t want the school to close, while others were more accepting of the possible closure.