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Many unanswered questions remain

What’s next for Florence special ed buildings?

Staff writer

It wasn’t an easy decision for Marion County Special Education Cooperative to pull up stakes in Florence and move to Marion.

However, the five board members who represent the five school districts in the county believed it was the logical decision.

So, what’s going to happen to the Florence buildings?

It’s too early for any councils or school boards to meet and decide but there are some provisions.

“When we (the City of Florence) decided to take the buildings, it was with the understanding special ed would be there for a little while,” said Greg Wynn, mayor of Florence. “We didn’t know how long.”

He continued that if the city didn’t have any tenants, the buildings would be offered back to USD 408 or could be put up for sale.

The city purchased a classroom building and gymnasium with classrooms this past summer from USD 408. The school district retained ownership of the administration building and bus barn.

Wynn said one option with the city-owned, smaller classroom building was to allow meeting places for volunteer groups.

USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker said he didn’t know what the plans would be for the office building and bus barn because the board of education has not met since the special education board made the decision Dec. 15.

Florence City Council meets the first and third Mondays of the month and Wynn said he is confident the topic will be discussed at a future meeting.

“Special education cooperative has not notified the city yet,” Wynn said. He explained the cooperative is required to notify the City of Florence within 90 days before the cooperative plans to leave.

The cooperative is leasing the three buildings and plan to remain in Florence until the conclusion of the 2008-09 school year.

Last modified Dec. 30, 2008

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