In a public meeting Tuesday, the Oxford School District Board of Trustees took no action on whether to accept or reject bids made on the property where Oxford Elementary currently sits, saying they hope to continue negotiations with the highest bidder—the city of Oxford.
In February, the Board of Trustees voted to put the property out for bid. The bids were opened March 27. The district received bids from Cherie Matthews Real Estate for $1.8 million and the city of Oxford for $2,000,501, making the city the high bidder.
Mayor Robyn Tannehill said last week the city hoped to purchase the property to re-purpose it into a new Oxford Police Department.
Both she and OPD Chief Joey East attended the meeting Tuesday but did not make comments during the meeting.
The OSD plans to build a new elementary school next to the Oxford Intermediate School after the building that was once known as Oxford Central School is demolished in January.
The board went into executive session to discuss the possible sale of property. After reconvening to the public meeting, board member Ray Hill said while he is all for selling the property to the city of Oxford for a new police station, he’s hesitant to sell the property for less than what it was appraised. The district had the property appraised, which came in at $2.8 million.
“Our legal counsel has told us we have the ability to negotiate with the city without having to rebid,” Hill said. “I think we should let the bids expire and have (Superintendent Brian Harvey) continue negotiations … If we can get to the right figure, I think we should (sell to the city).”
Tannehill told HottyToddy.com Tuesday that the city also had the property appraised and it came in at $702,500. She said she was disappointed with the school board’s decision to not accept the city’s bid as the highest bidder.
“The city has sought ways to negotiate with the school district regarding this property through legal avenues available and were advised … that we could not negotiate,” Tannehill said Tuesday evening. “I will be interested to hear what (the school district’s) legal counsel found to be an alternate way to negotiate.”
Tannehill said the city supported the school district’s last two bond referendums, one in 2011 and one in 2017, and hopes OSD will return the support by selling the property to the city.
“This is an opportunity for the school district to demonstrate their commitment to our community,” she said. “By selling the OE property to the city of Oxford for $2 million they are providing an avenue for the city to provide a much-needed, larger space for the Oxford Police Department without raising taxes for this project.”
Board president Gray Edmondson said the board “wants to sell to the city.”
“We want to keep working with the city,” he said.
By Staff Writer Alyssa Schnugg