Community Post

State Auditor Releases Findings on the Sale of the MLKjr School

While the story is not pretty, no charges of unlawful actions are made.  I have little to add beyond the story and discussions offered on the Save Seattle School Blog.   It is their scoop.  Many who represent us in Olympia play a role in the story.

EDITOR’S UPDATE: The decision does make a recommendation that the district “establish a process by which its employees can document an official recusal for themselves whenever the possibility of a conflict of interest arises, whether that conflict is in-fact or appearance.”

The audit found no evidence that Fred Stephens was involved in the decision-making process (see our previous post for background). Stephens, a member of First AME, had been accused of having a conflict of interest in the sale, but the auditor found he had recused himself from the deal. He did receive some emails about it, but only because he was on a larger email list, according to the audit report.

There was resistance to selling within the district and from some state legislators to the Bush School. In the end, it appeared that Ron English, the district’s Property Manager at the time, wanted to sell to the highest bidder. However, Dr. Goodloe-Johnson, the superintendent at the time, said she wanted to sell to First AME. The Board then voted 5-2 to approve the sale.

Below is the full document if you want to get into all the gory details.


10 thoughts on “State Auditor Releases Findings on the Sale of the MLKjr School

  1. This sale stinks and everyone knows it. I don’t care who says it was above the board, IT WASN’T. Sale of public land to a church?? The lowest bidder?? With Stephens on the board?? Come on, it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out! Those school board members who voted in favor should be voted out.

  2. Every time I drive by this place it gets me irate to know what is being done and how it was handled. For a “church” to openly undercut a legitimate bid by buying off the board is unfathomable. I abhor First AME and am truly disturbed by the entire process. Can we fire this board?

  3. It was a dirty deal. No public value produced. A building was sold at half value to an insider who has been working the system over for years. Classic ingrained corruption. Need to fire all involved parties and ban the church from any dealings with the city.

  4. The times article also states “More than 800 youth participated in programs in the gym and auditorium between June and September, including Seattle University students and Camp Fire USA members, Brooks said.”

    Really? I drive by there on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day, and rarely see anyone coming or going from that building. Now, in full disclosure there was a week I was out of town this summer, so maybe they had a big event that particular week… or maybe they have an underground tunnel going to and fro… I did the math. 800 kids divided by 12 weeks (roughly the number of weeks in June, July and August) = 67 kids per week. Did anyone see that many kids coming and going on a weekly basis. Correct me if I am wrong.

    Hmmm. I simply find that statistic very hard to believe. I too, feel irate every time I go by. Taxpayer money to buy this building for a religious organization? Seattle public schools selling one of their own properties they will never be able to recap? Selling to the lowest bidder? Fred Stephens name in the mix? Its all just plain wrong. So many missed opportunities.

  5. no way have they “served 800 youth” in our community. Who verified that? I drove by there most everyday this summer and saw nearly ZERO activity.

    Seattle University students does not “youth” make. Campfire? I’ve never met a single kid in the 20 years I’ve raised kids in this neighborhood involved in Campfire.

    Is their deal contingent on their “serving the community”? What happens if they don’t?

  6. That’s like the equivalent of all the students from Stevens, Madrona and Leschi schools (maybe more?) attending programs at that building. I find that very hard to believe.

  7. Maybe they are counting the neighbors that walk by, and the Bush kids that walk by also. Their are always lots of cars their during the day, and the play area is cleaner now, so some improvement.

  8. Maybe they are counting the Bush students who recently helped with the cleanup. Other than that, I too am there at least 2x per school day and see nothing. Anyone know which specific office is the best to contact to ask how the numbers were verified?