Long after the item was first on a Manatee County School Board agenda, members finally agreed to sell off a tiny parcel of land owned by the district in Palmetto.
The 6,093-square-feet piece of land has long been abandoned by the board for any type of educational purpose and has effectively been part of the residential property next door.
After long discussions at previous meetings, the board signed off on selling the piece of land for $5,000 to the homeowner. The agreement enables the homeowner to include the parcel with the property he is selling at 2111 Second Ave. E. in Palmetto.
“So we’re getting five grand for it? Good,” board member John Colon said. Colon’s comment was the lone board comment made Wednesday about the issue.
The district has owned the piece of land since at least 1902, according to the district. The district has never used the land itself, but when a house was built next door, homeowners began using the strip of land for a side yard and a driveway.
An issue arose when the property owner wanted to sell the land, including the parcel the school district owns. In early September, Superintendent Diana Greene proposed giving the land away, but the board balked at that.
Tuesday also served as the last board meeting for Bob Gause, who did not seek re-election this year and will be replaced by Gina Messenger on Nov. 22. Board member Dave Miner will also be sworn in for a second term on Nov. 22.
Gause was honored by his colleagues at the beginning of the meeting and was given a plaque with a clock on it to honor his time on the board.
School board Chairwoman Karen Carpenter said Gause, a Manatee County native, brought a lot of institutional knowledge to the board.
“That’s been a very important component of your service here. Nobody here has brought what Bob has,” Carpenter said.
Gause’s wife joined him and sat in the audience at the meeting. Gause said if he spoke too much he’d get choked up but said he wanted to recognize the hard work district staff members put in every day.
“I’ve been blessed to work with a lot of great people,” Gause said. “It’s been a great time, I’m going to miss it, but it’s time. Thank you.”
In other business:
- The school board approved the master contract with paraprofessionals for salary enhancements, costing the school district $241,511.
- The board also approved salary increases for employees who are not in the bargaining units, including supervisory, administrative, managerial and professional employees. That will cost the school district $598,211.