Poland board ends leasing opportunities for school

POLAND — The Poland Local School District no longer is researching a leasing opportunity for one of its vacant schools.

A statement posted to the district website from interim Superintendent Edwin Holland reads: “Poland schools is no longer interested in leasing any school building to a community school.”

The announcement comes after the board was approached by the Mahoning County High School to lease North Elementary, located on Johnston Place.

Holland said the board of education spends about $40,000 annually on utilities and maintenance of the building, leaving “several of the board members” initially interested in opportunities associated with a possible lease.

In May, Jennifer Merritt, superintendent of the Mahoning County High School, said that “at-risk” youths would utilize the building in their vision — the Mahoning Valley Community School. An at-risk youth is a student who needs temporary or ongoing intervention, Merritt said.

In a proposed lease, the community school, which would be run by the Mahoning County High School, would pay to replace the roof and repair other areas of the building, which would cost about $400,000. The community school was interested in completing the work in exchange for a four-year lease, Holland said.

As conversations between the parties continued over the last week, the board of education’s “review of these possibilities, as well as any pitfalls” were discussed, including “unanticipated potential complications that could affect the ownership of future vacant school buildings,” Holland said.

Just last week during a special board of education meeting, board members discussed the option of leasing the building.

One member open to the idea was board President Gregg Riddle, who said he would “be all for” working out a lease so the building wouldn’t be demolished.

During a May work session for the board of education, three options were discussed for North Elementary, including demolition, a community center or alternative school.


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