For a second time, the school district issued a request for proposals for the sale of Jefferson School. This is an important and complicated decision, so we are following a thoughtful process before making a final decision.
The Jefferson School block currently includes a playground and greenspace. Understandably, many neighborhood residents would like to continue to have access to these areas for public use. The evaluation section of the RFP states, “the District’s selection will be based upon those factors deemed necessary to promote the best interests and welfare of the District, the neighborhood, and the community, including, but not limited to, the best use of the Property, preservation of the exterior of the building, and public greenspace.”
The wording is purposeful because public greenspace is a factor in the decision-making process, but the School Board needs to review each respondent’s whole proposal before making a selection.
Representatives of the city of Red Wing also have been involved in several ways, especially with regard to the potential use of the building and public greenspace. In March, Brian Peterson presented information about zoning requirements and processes. Two School Board members and I met with Dan Rogness about options available after our first selected group withdrew from consideration. Kay Kuhlman reached out to me several times, and city staff members have repeatedly expressed a willingness to meet with anyone who might be interested in the property.
In the end, however, the School Board will make the decision. Our board members routinely listen to feedback and weigh multiple perspectives throughout decision-making processes. I have every reason to believe that board members will continue to take feedback from district residents as this important decision is made.
Karsten Anderson is superintendent of Red Wing Public Schools.