On the rolls again

Art gallery owner offers $550K for K’hook school
KINDERHOOK – The Ichabod Crane school board has accepted an offer to sell the Martin Van Buren (MVB) School building in the village to a buyer named Jack Shainman for $550,000.
A final contract has not yet been signed and voters in the district have the option of requesting a referendum on the purchase.
The board held a special meeting Tuesday August 14 to adopt the motion, unanimously, to make the sale. Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick said that Mr. Shainman will have to meet with the Kinderhook Village Board to discuss use issues for the building, but the sale should be final in about a month.
Mr. Bordick said that money from the sale must only be used to pay off district debt. The district will apply the $550,000 from the sale to the debt on the MVB building and other district debts.
The district will continue to receive a small amount of state aid for the MVB building, as well as the Martin H. Glynn School, which is being sold to the town and Village of Valatie, even after the sales take place thanks to a state education law passed last spring to help districts that are closing schools and trying to get rid of excess space in their districts.
The MVB building at 25 Board Street (Route 9) in Kinderhook has been empty since the spring of 2011 and was put on the market with Coldwell Banker in March of 2012. The board closed the MVB School and the Martin H. Glynn (MHG) School in Valatie due to declining enrollment in the district.
The ownership of the MHG School is supposed to be handed over to the town and the Valatie boards for $1. Plans call for that school to be converted to government offices, but the municipalities and the school district are still working on a contract for the transfer of ownership.
Though the board did not comment on what plans the new owner of the Martin Van Buren School has for the building, officials did say Mr. Shainman is a gallery owner. He currently has a gallery in New York City.
Mr. Shainman’s New York City Gallery website, www.jackshainman.com, says he has opened art galleries in Washington, DC, and in the East Village and Soho neighborhoods in New York City. His current gallery is on West 20th Street in the Chelsea district.
“The focus of the gallery, since its inception over 25 years ago, is to exhibit, represent and champion artists from around the world, in particular artists from Africa, East Asia and North America, by mounting major exhibitions of their work in the gallery, presenting artworks at important art fairs, securing museum exhibitions and publishing major catalogues with full-color reproductions and scholarly essays on their artwork,” the website says.
The school building is in a residential zone in the Village of Kinderhook, hence the need to meet with village officials if he plans to use it as a business. Calls to Mr. Shainman were not returned by deadline.
The board was asking over $800,000 for the building but said in the motion that $550,000 was “the best possible price that can be obtained.”
The district will see an immediate benefit from the two sales, with officials estimating a savings on maintenance costs of about $30,000 a year for each building. 
Part of the board’s motion for the sale stated that voters could collect petitions seeking a district-wide referendum on whether to accept the offer. To force a vote petitions in favor of a referendum would have to be signed by 10% of the qualified voters of the district and submitted 30 days after the adoption of the board motion
In a press release from the district, School Board President Anthony Welcome said, “The Martin Van Buren building is a beautiful structure that has been well maintained and cared for. On behalf of the Board of Education, we are gratified that it will sustain its viable presence in the community.”
Mr. Bordick added,   “We are pleased that the building is in the process of being sold and will be placed on the tax rolls.” 
The next board meeting will be a special meeting Tuesday, August 21 at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .   

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