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GJSD hires a brokerage firm

Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education members vote to hire a school brokerage firm Wednesday night at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN –The Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education on Wednesday night hired an Albany County firm to provide the district with brokerage services involving Glebe Street Elementary School.

The board voted Dec. 5 to close the school on June 30.

The resolution approved Wednesday by the board at Johnstown High School indicated the district “wishes to review the options available related to the real property known as Glebe Street Elementary School, located at 502 Glebe St.”

District officials solicited proposals to complete a formal market assessment of the property, receiving two.

The board voted to retain the firm of Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Co. of 40 British American Boulevard, Latham, to perform a market appraisal. The company will also devise a marketing program for the Glebe Street Elementary School premises. It was resolved that Cushman & Wakefield/Pyramid Brokerage Co. will be “compensated for services to be rendered” in accordance with the terms and conditions outlined in a January proposal.

Board President Christopher Tallon said the firm will be paid “based on commission with the sale of the building.”

District officials have said they are not sure what they are doing with the building yet. One suggestion from the public was to demolish parts of the structure to allow more parking for Knox Junior High School. Glebe school is located across from Knox Field, directly behind South Perry Street’s Knox Junior High School.

The Glebe building, built in 1966, currently educates second and third grades within the district. The former Jansen Avenue Elementary School was closed in 2009. That building is still getting educational use today.

Enrollment has declined greatly over the years within the Johnstown school district, which also underwent a tumultuous budget process in 2019.

Interim Superintendent Karen Geelan said last fall that the Johnstown school system has lost about 450 students the past 10 years,

With the Glebe closing, officials say the plan is to have sixth grade moved from Warren Street Elementary School to Knox Junior High School, which would have grades six through eight. Pleasant Avenue Elementary School will house grades K through 2 while Warren will educate 3 through 5. Pre-K is expected to be at Warren.

When the board voted to close Glebe school in December, the resolution indicated the district was “in the process of reorganizing its school buildings,” and the district “intends to close and/or consolidate programs.” The district’s Long Range Planning Committee with the consultation of Castallo & Silky LLC of Syracuse — education consultants — recommended the district doesn’t need to keep the Glebe Street Elementary School building open.

Consultants recommended closure implementation in the 2020-21 school year to “allow for adequate time to conduct one or more hearings to permit the public to make concerns and comments known about each of the options under consideration and for sufficient planning time to finalize implementation details so that the transition is smooth as possible.”

“The Board of Education has determined that it can operate its Glebe Street elementary programs in other existing buildings within the district,” the resolution stated.

In other action items Wednesday, the board adopted the following revised policies, retroactive to Feb. 6: evaluation of personnel, records management, school safety plan, dignity for all students, information security breach and notification, leaves of absence, and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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