WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The Williams Unified School District (WUSD) will move forward with negotiating a lease agreement for the Coconino Community College (CCC) building, following a 4-1 vote at the Nov. 14 board meeting.
The negotiations will involve minor details including wording in the amendment to the lease agreement and existing equipment within the building, according to Melissa Ellico, WUSD business manager.
However, there will still be one more board action item at a future meeting to actually accept the amendment.
Superintendent Rachel Savage said CCC officials asked to know the district's level of interest before the end of the year. Now with the board's permission, Savage said she will continue communicating with CCC President Dr. Leah Bornstein about the agreement.
The district hopes to use the building for additional career and technical education programs.
Board member Herman Nixon opposed moving forward with negotiations.
"My personal reason I voted no on it is because I feel like the community college is trying to push us into a decision by December," he said. "That building has been sitting there forever."
Nixon added that he does not necessarily oppose taking over the building.
"I think we need to further look into it and find out what the actual costs are, if it will benefit our schools at all and then make the decision," he said.
Ellico estimated the costs for utilities, insurance and security for the CCC building would be about $10,000 per year.
Prior to the vote, Natalie Mann, president of the Williams Education Association, voiced her concerns about the negotiations during the call to the public.
"The (WUSD budget) override passed to support our existing programs," she said. "Now we are thinking of taking over the CCC building at a cost of $10,000 in utility bills?"
Mann added that substitute teacher and utility bills are already costly for the district.
"We don't have enough staff to fill our existing spaces as it is," Mann said. "Please respect the voters in our district who voted to support current programs, not add any more empty rooms to maintain."
Board president Kristie Fredrickson reminded Mann and the audience that the board can not act on comments made during the call to the public.
The board also voted unanimously to approve the revised Annual Financial Report. The report is now accurate after correcting an issue with unused grant money that rolled over each year since 2008.