A few weeks ago, a reader submitted a letter to the Editor in which she described the destruction of desks, chairs, shelves, and other furniture at the old Kemptville Public School, by employees of the Upper Canada District School Board. The Times contacted the Board to seek an explanation of why this furniture was destroyed, rather than recycled in some manner. Superintendent of Schools, David Coombs, responded to our inquiry.
“Arrangements were made to remove the remaining furniture from the former Kemptville PS in order to prepare the property for a future sale. In accordance with Board policy 414, surplus furniture deemed in sufficient condition was distributed to other UCDSB schools or stored offsite for future use. The remaining furniture was deemed end-of-life and was recycled or disposed of”.
Policy 414 referred to by the Superintendent, covers the “Disposal of Assets” by the Board.
“The Upper Canada District School Board endeavours to make maximum use of its assets throughout their useful lives. Whenever any assets become obsolete and/or surplus to the needs of the system, the Board authorizes their disposal according to procedures which take into account the tenets/philosophy of this policy and the belief that public assets should be disposed of equitably and at fair market value.
“The Board wishes to ensure that the disposal of all surplus moveable assets is handled in accordance with the public nature of the Board’s business. Options for the disposal of surplus moveable assets are the following: trade-in on new purchases; public sale or auction; sale for scrap value; recycle; discard/waste removal; donation to an approved charity; conversion to salvage for component parts. The public, including trustees and employees of the Board, are entitled to purchase surplus moveable assets in accordance with this policy.”
The old Public School building is, therefore, considered surplus to requirements, as is the old High School building. Policy 414 also covers the disposal of such property.
“Most often it is in the Board’s best interest to dispose of surplus real property. Maintaining a surplus facility as part of the Board’s building portfolio requires the expenditure of scarce resources to support security and basic utilities without contributing to the Board’s mission.
Where a school or other Board facility has been closed and where Administration has determined that the property is of no further use to the organization the Superintendent of Business will bring forward, to the Board of Trustees in private session, a report recommending that the property be declared surplus to the Board’s needs. Included in the report will be an estimate of the property’s value, which will be based on an appraisal from a certified appraiser. The report will also reflect Administration’s recommendation as to the minimum acceptable sale price, should the property be listed on the open market.
Once the Board of Trustees has declared the property surplus to its needs and has agreed upon its minimum acceptable sale price, should it be listed on the open market, Administration shall proceed to dispose of the property in accordance with the Education Act, Ontario Regulation 444/98, Disposition of Surplus Real Property.
If there are no expressions of interest resulting from the Ontario Regulation 444/98 process, the Board may dispose of the surplus property through the services of real estate agencies, auction, by public tender, or through the Board’s own administrative staff.”