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School Board splits on vote to sell Helen Baker site

Ken Polifka’s new proposal for the Helen Baker site failed to pass with a tied vote at the Glencoe-Silver Lake (GSL) School Board’s Monday night meeting. The city’s proposal for the Helen Baker site was not voted on by the School Board.
Ken Polifka submitted a proposal to the GSL School District on Oct. 7 which was organized as an addendum item to the School Board’s agenda. In his proposal, Polifka offered to purchase the Helen Baker school property for $2, and if no offer was made by a buyer in a set amount of time, he would proceed to remove all asbestos from the building, demolish the building, haul away the debris and return the land to green space. The school district would not be responsible for any of these costs.
The School Board discussed both Polifka’s and the city’s proposals for the site.
Board Member Kevin Kuester spoke in favor of Polifka’s proposal. “That doesn’t sound like a bad deal to me,” said Kuester. “I don’t think selling it for a dollar and paying $300,000 to help somebody fund something else is up to the school to do. So I would lean towards Mr. Polifka’s proposal ... Mr. Polifka has been in the community for 30-plus years, he’s been a businessman.”
He added, however, that he would like a timeline of how long Polifka would wait before choosing to demolish the building.
Board Member Anne Twiss voiced concerns with Polifka’s proposal, stating that the city has a very clear plan of what would happen once the site is sold, while Polifka’s proposal is very vague. “I would like to know what Mr. Polifka’s intent is for the property … We have absolutely no idea what Mr. Polifka intends.”
For more about the issue, as well as other items on the School Board's agenda, see the Oct. 11 print edition of The Chronicle.