Brentley committee explores AWC purchase by city schools

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“I know parents, in the city, who want to send their kids to Dillworth Academy, but can’t. So they pay a lot to send them to Winchester Thurston instead,” Hill said. “Rather than thinking how the district can save the center, you should be thinking how the center could save the district.”

Currently CAPA has 15 students from outlying districts that pay roughly $14,000 to attend. But because city residents are given preference in the audition process, no more paying students can be added.  Another issue is would the center be able to keep the money it might generate? Or does it have to go to the general fund? Brentley said he did not know.  There are devils in the details, he admitted.

An even more bedeviling detail was revealed when AWC Liquidator Judith Fitzgerald called into the meeting to give an update on the center’s status. She said she could not go into specifics because she had signed confidentiality agreements with several interested parties, all of which, she said, want to continue the center’s mission.

The district however, has not signed one, and therefore isn’t privy to actual numbers on building expenses, conditions, etc., and cannot even submit a plan to buy the building.

Committee member Ryan Neely from the district’s finance office, said there was no way he could evaluate whether or not buying the center was even possible without detailed information.

And Fitzgerald said she wants all plans submitted by the end of March so she can evaluate them. If there is more than one bidder, Judge Lawrence O’Toole will select the winner.

But board and committee member Terry Kennedy noted the district is barred from signing a confidentiality agreement because it is funded by tax revenues and required to do all its business in public.

Brentley said he would ask for the district to sign an agreement at the regular February board meeting.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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