COEUR d'ALENE - The Coeur d'Alene School Board agreed Monday to hold off on taking bids for selling its half of Person Field until after it takes part in a public meeting with city of Coeur d'Alene officials.
It still wants to sell its portion of the roughly 7-acre park, the school board said, but it prefers to meet with the city to see if a deal now months in negotiating can be reached.
The decision came less than a week after the city detailed the terms of its offer in a public meeting - one that the school board said it didn't believe offered fair value.
"They're costing us money," school board member Brent Regan said on the city's offer.
The city offered to pay the fully appraised price of $655,000 for the land off 15th Street, but also called to extend its Joint Powers Agreement that allows the city recreation department use in four school gyms. It also wanted to add two new gyms (one through the current JPA agreement) for the city's use and for the dog park portion of Northshire Park to go to the city.
Those additional terms would cost the school district too much, around $700,000, the school board said. Take into account the city has use of eight other facilities not listed in the JPA agreement, and the school district is considering paying for up to three more school resource officers in the future, and the offer becomes nearly impossible to accept.
We can't "artificially deflate the value of an asset," Superintendent Hazel Bauman said. "Again, we have a fiduciary responsibility to a larger tax base."
Intertwining the JPA agreement between the two entities - which has to be reassessed on its own merits since it's costing the school district money - and giving away a parcel of land that's a part of land sale also being negotiated makes the city's offer unreasonable, the board said.
In addition, a third party that's involved in youth development is interested in the school district's portion of Person Field, so that information should be worked into the negotiations, it said.
While the land deal had been discussed between the two entities in private, only recently did terms of the deal become public, though snippets of information had been blogged or commented upon online.
After the city went public with its reasons for its offer, it cast the school board in a negative light because the school district hadn't discussed its side of the issue publicly, which had been the agreement, Bauman said.
"We've been tight lipped," she said.
A meeting between the two entities hasn't been scheduled.