Flint, MI—The Flint Community School Board voted to sell 13 of the district’s vacant properties at a June 16, 2022, workshop session.
The board also decided it would begin accepting proposals for the chosen properties on July 1, 2022, and placed four more properties on a “potentially sell” short list.
“This is, again, preliminary to the conversations of where we would like to see new schools, schools that we may determine to close,” Flint Community Schools Superintendent Kevelin Jones said in his opening remarks. “This is all a part of (that) conversation.”
The June 16 workshop’s purpose was to categorize the Flint Community School district’s vacant property holdings into three categories—“keep,” “maybe keep,” and “sell”—for Thrun Law Firm, which is supporting the district’s work to offload its chosen vacant properties.
Jones presented the board with the administration’s recommendations for each category, which he said were determined with a focus on location and future visioning.
“We did not want to put ourselves in a situation where we are getting rid of all our properties, and then we have no place to build,” Jones said. “If we’re looking to the future, we really need to start thinking about our students being in central locations.”
Jones shared a “heat map” of places where FCS scholars currently reside and offered that the administration’s recommendations considered not only where schools are now, but where they might be located to better serve those pockets of students moving forward.
“We need to try to cover the Flint area by putting our schools in central locations,” he said, after noting the general proximity of certain vacant properties to areas of student need.
Jones also mentioned that a long-term plan might see some currently open schools closed in order to shift FCS scholars to new, central campuses, but he emphasized that that idea was about “visioning” and not to be taken as certain.
Ultimately, Jones offered 13 properties that his administration felt could be offloaded with Flint Community Schools’ long-term visioning in mind: Cook Elementary, Dort Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Johnson Elementary, King Elementary, Lowell Middle School, Manley Elementary, Merrill Elementary, Stewart Elementary, Washington Elementary, Williams Elementary, Wilkins Elementary, and Zimmerman Center.
“I’m very excited by what you said,” said FCS Board Treasurer Laura MacIntyre in response to Jones’ presentation. “I like the word imagine. I like that we are going back and forth between possibilities of ‘if we do this, then we do this.’ It’s kind of a logic problem.”
The Flint Community Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to sell or lease the administration’s 13 suggested properties. Board Vice President McIntosh and Board Member Danielle Green were not present at the workshop.
The administration’s recommendations for the “maybe keep” category were Anderson Elementary, Civic Park Elementary, Cody Elementary, (which is now a vacant land parcel) and Longfellow Middle School. On the “keep” list were Bryant Elementary, Carpenter Road Elementary, and McKinley Middle School.
Jones said the administration did not include any high schools in its discussions because the FCS Board had previously said it wished to keep those properties.
“Now one of the things that we need to do is find out where children are period, and not concern ourselves with just the scholars that we currently serve,” Jones concluded. “That’s our next move so that we can then start imagining what we want to do with the ‘keeps’ and the ‘maybes.’”
Philip Clark, of Thurn, confirmed the law firm could have a Request for Proposal posted to the Flint Community Schools website by July 1, 2022. From there, interested parties will have 60 days to turn in their proposals (which will go to Thurn) before they will be presented to the school board for review and approval.