School leader defends sale of Sunset School

Neighbors unaware of sale question procedure

Clear Lake School Superintendent Doug Gee is defending his Board and their actions leading to the recent sale of Sunset Elementary School.

A handful of neighbors and other concerned citizens attended the Tuesday, July 10, meeting of the School Board and stated they felt blindsided by the sale reported in the June 27 edition of the Mirror-Reporter.

During the open forum portion of the meeting Mike Yore, a resident of the Sunset School neighborhood presented a page of 15 questions he asked Gee and Board members to answer.  The questions ranged from asking when the sale of the property was first discussed to seeking an explanation of Iowa School Board policy about communicating public hearings.

Yore communicated to the Mirror-Reporter that he and several of his neighbors only found out about the school sale by reading the June 27 issue of the newspaper.

“We are losing a beautiful piece of land that could easily be turned into a community recreation center and park for the children of our community to utilize instead of another housing development.  There are not many Parks and recreational spaces for our children to play in and enjoy in the City of Clear Lake,” stated Yore.  “The deceptive practices used by the School Board to conceal the sale and not allow any of the residents of Clear Lake to be informed of the sale of the property or have an opportunity to voice their concerns” also concerned the group, he said.

Gee said he is confident the Board properly followed all guidelines leading to the sale of the property, adding he has been a vocal proponent of more housing in Clear Lake.

“We, as a board and as a community, have talked about the need for more housing to attract and keep families here and put children in our schools,” said Gee in an interview after the meeting.  “More market-value housing for young teachers and others is a need.”

The school leader noted that in his two-year tenure the Board has turned down a proposal to construct a parking lot at the school to help alleviate congestion.  The project was rejected because Board members reasoned the building would not be in use many more years, he said.

The Board finalized the sale of Sunset Elementary School, 408 Mars Hill Dr., to Dolly James LLC., of Waterloo, Iowa at its Tuesday, June 19 meeting.  The developer has agreed to not close on

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