REGISTER VIEWPOINT: The $5 deal

The Sandusky school board is taking some heat for selling three disused buildings to candidate Richard Koonce for $5, but what
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

The Sandusky school board is taking some heat for selling three disused buildings to candidate Richard Koonce for $5, but what else could it do?

Koonce was the only bidder.

The $10,000 offer for Campbell School from Shawn Bickley came the day after Koonce put in his bid -- in an auction that had more than sufficient publicity. The only other person who showed up to bid Oct. 25 ended up not bidding.

So the school board had a choice: take the five bucks or reject a bid which followed all the rules.

The end result is that the schools get five bucks in exchange for no longer having to pay the heat and upkeep on three century-old buildings.

Bickley's a little nonplussed, sure, but he said himself he knew of the auction and it slipped his mind. Sure, the school district could have used that $10,000 and sure, Koonce -- who has since succeeded in his bid to help lead that district -- might have said, let Bickley have Campbell for $10,000 and I'll take Barker and Madison for ... how about four bucks?

But Koonce bought the buildings as a private citizen -- he's still a private citizen until he gets sworn in -- and they're no longer school district property, so what he does with them is his business.

The irony is, Bickley says his offer is still on the table and we can see him offering Koonce that ten grand if plans for Campbell don't work out -- and the expenses of maintaining those buildings become too much for Koonce. That's money that could have gone to the school board, but, again, what else could the board have done.

Meanwhile, the school district seems to have washed its hands, not only of the question of what to do with those expensive buildings, but whether Koonce's ownership of them would have any bearing on his job as a school board member. This might be worth way more than $5 to the school board.