Questions: J.E. Benson Public School
1. General. Questions have been asked regarding the size of the Properties for sale.
Answer. The form of Offer for each of the Properties, on the Greater Essex County District School Board’s (the “Board’s”) website, provides each respective Property`s legal description and approximate size.
Answer. The Greater Essex County District School Board (the “Board”) will not respond, via e-mail, to questions received. As indicated on the Board’s website, questions received and the Board’s responses may be published on the Board’s website; provided that, the Board reserves the right to: decline to respond to any question received; not publish any question received; and/or paraphrase and/or edit any questions received, in its complete discretion. Any responses which the Board does elect to provide in respect of questions received will be posted on the Board’s website.
2. General. Requests have been made for direct responses via e-mail.
3. Question. “How much are you asking for the Property?” The Board has received a number of questions concerning the “asking price” for the Properties and whether appraisals have been conducted.
Answer. As indicated on the Greater Essex County District School Board’s (the “Board’s”) website, the Board has established a process whereby it is prepared to receive offers for the listed Properties. The Board has intentionally not published an asking price, but has elected to allow the “market” to express its views as to the value of the Properties. As indicated on its website, the Board shall have complete discretion whether to accept or reject any or all offers it receives for whatever reasons it may consider appropriate. One such reason could include the fact that the Board is of the view that one or more offers do not reflect the fair market value of the respective Property. Lastly, any appraisals which the Board may have commissioned are for its internal purposes and will not be shared during the current sale process.
4. Question. What are the property taxes for the Property?
Answer. School properties are exempt from municipal taxes when owned by a board of education. The Board is not in a position to speculate on what the property taxes will be when/if the Property is owned by a party other than a school board. You will need to make your own inquiries in this regard.
5. Question. A question has been received regarding the process by which the Board determines the value of its properties and the manner in which it shares such determination.
Answer. The sale of surplus property by a board of education is subject to a number of constraints and mandates under the Education Act and the Regulations thereto (the “Applicable Legislation”), in particular Regulation 444/98. One of the many requirements of the Applicable Legislation in disposing of surplus property, whether to a preferred entity listed under Regulation 444/98 or to the public at large, is that a board of education obtain “fair market value” for the property.
The Board has developed a comprehensive process for disposing of its surplus property and is confident with the approach it has developed. This response does not detail the Board’s entire process, but highlights a few key issues around the valuation and pricing.
For purposes of determining “fair market value”, the Board may retain a planner to help determine the highest and best potential use of each property. The Board retains a certified appraiser to determine the fair market value of that property based on the highest and best use. The resulting appraisals are the property of the Board and are kept confidential by it as part of its internal diligence process. Neither the planning reports, nor the appraisals are made available to the public.
Before a property can be sold to the public at large, the Board must undertake a process of making its properties available to certain preferred entities as contemplated under Regulation 444/98. Assuming that no preferred entity is interested in acquiring such surplus property and/or the Board and an interested preferred entity are unable to agree upon terms, the Board is then in a position to dispose of that surplus property on the open market. For purposes of disposing of surplus property on the open market, the Board has developed a two-stage process. The first stage involves making the property available for the submission of sealed offers, all of which are opened at the same time on the same date. This stage is initiated in the following manner:
(i) the availability of the property is published on the Board’s website under the “Properties for Sale” icon, together with both an explanation of the offer process and a prescribed form of offer;
(ii) at the same time as a property’s availability is published on the Board’s website, advertising in appropriate publications and electronic media is undertaken; and
(iii) the property is made available for inspection on one or more days as specified in the tender materials
During this first stage, the Board gives no indication as to what it sees as being the fair market value of the property. Instead, the Board uses this information for purposes of reviewing the offers it does receive by way of sealed offers. The Board is under no obligation to accept any offer received. The Board’s objective is to, in effect, encourage a competitive bidding scenario.
In the event the first stage does not result in a disposition of the property, the property is then made available for sale through what is known within the Board as the “Open Sale Process”, specifically:
(i) The availability of the property is again published through the Board’s website, but utilizing a different approach and materials. The instructions and form of offer for the sale of the property through the Open Sale Process are made available on the Board’s website.
(ii) In the Open Sale Process, the Board does include in the instructions on its website what the Board considers to be the equivalent of a “listing price” for the property. The Board does not otherwise advertise a “listing price” in the advertising it undertakes with respect to the property, or on any signs posted on the property, as its objective in such advertising is to drive all interested parties to the Board’s website so that interested parties can: review all of the materials on the website; have the same information; and be made knowledgeable of the process by which the Board is prepared to sell its properties.
While the Board respects the input received from interested parties, it is confident with the process it has developed for purposes of selling its properties, including, the manner and timing of its disclosure of what it considers to be a “listing price” for any property.