State College Area School Board of Directors Draws Ire From Pending Overlook Heights Park Sale
Discussion got heated at the State College Area School District Board of Directors meeting Monday night.
Residents who showed up in hopes of saving the district's Overlook Heights Park from being sold shook their heads in frustration and grumbled as the board emphasized that their purpose is to educate its students, and the property no longer serves that purpose.
During public comment, several residents with property adjacent to the park area expressed concerns over their property value decreasing if the park is commercialized and also vocalized their appreciation of the "green space" that Overlook Heights has offered up until this point.
Scott Fozard of Fozard Enterprises offered the board the highest bid of $20,100 for the space that he and his wife, optometrist Stephanie Fozard, hope to use for office space. Fozard explained that he had no intent to expand the property's limits over 50 feet if the location was successful enough to need additional parking.
"I don't have the pockets or the stomach to deal with that process," he said.
Fozard also encouraged neighbors and residents of the area close to the property to reach out to him to openly discuss possible changes if the board would decide to accept his bid at their August 13 meeting.
Despite discussion on this site for 12 weeks thus far, board president Ann McGlaughlin said the three weeks between now and the next meeting will be crucial.
"This gives the parties time to discuss things with one another," she said.
The board spent time discussing the sealed bid process, the true value of the Overlook Heights site and whether the board could decide to accept a lower bid for the property rather than the highest one.
The board also spent time looking at the district's plan for revamping State High's visioning and educational programs by selecting an Educational Planner or consultant. The consultant would partner with administration, high school staff and others involved with the high school to update the current educational plan and curriculum, which was developed in 2009.
Other notable items from Monday's meeting:
- The board discussed and approved a switch in library resource software from Horizon to Follett Software. An update to the Horizon software would cost $37,000 while Follett is a much cheaper alternative while still getting the job done. Librarians at each of the district's schools tested the software and preferred Follett over the other options.
- The role of K-5 Team/Division leader was approved as an extra pay position after it was presented at the board's July 9 meeting.
- The board discussed its larger action items for the next meeting on August 13. Bids will be awarded for the construction of softball dugouts and also the sale of the Overlook Heights location.