‘Somebody’s got their hand in someone’s pocket,’ Neighbors say Lincoln School’s winning bid doesn’t make sense

Local News

Some demand Davenport school board reverse vote to sell school to church group

Some people in Davenport are demanding a new vote from the school board regarding the sale of one of its properties.

They say the board made a bad decision.

Davenport’s school board narrowly voted in favor of selling Lincoln Fundamental School last month.

The building was listed for two years until then.

A local non-profit called Together Making A Better Community offered $30,000 for it.

It’s affiliated with the Third Missionary Baptist Church.

Another offer came from the Quad Cities Veterans Outreach Center for $290,000.

Its managers wanted to convert the building into homes for veterans.

The board wound up taking the much lower offer.

Board member Linda Hayes abstained from voting because she says she’s an employee with the church but she still spoke in favor of the sale saying, “Money doesn’t fix everything.”

One neighbor says the sale was more like a giveaway and she considers it stealing from the kids in the community.

Now, she and other neighbors want a reversal before it’s too late.

“Stop the sale, stop the sale,” urged Sally Ellis at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Ellis is a retired Davenport school district employee.

“This needs to be stopped,” says Robert Rinderknecht, who lives across the street from Lincoln.

It’s been more than a month since Davenport school board members decided to sell the school but neighbors aren’t letting up on their appeals.

“It’s almost criminal for you to sell that building for $30,000 when a group that wants to buy it in no way could maintain that building, pay the utilities,” Ellis told board members Monday night.

Two board members voted the sale down: Julie DeSalvo and Bruce Potts.

They say another group was just as worthy and offered $290,000 for the building, which was originally listed at more than $700,0000.

They say it’s just common sense for a district millions of dollars in debt.

But the motion still passed, with four supporters: Allison Beck, Clyde Mayfield, Daniel Gosa and president Ralph Johanson.

“I was flabbergasted,” Rinderknecht says.

He is one of many who say the math of this sale doesn’t add up.

“I could not believe as much as they whine and beg for money and cut teachers salaries and school supplies and everything like that because they don’t have the money and then they turn down 10 times as much money?” Rinderknecht says.

“Somebody’s got their hand in someone’s pocket,” he says.

Board members who voted yes say it was a tough decision to choose a group dedicated to youth over one dedicated to veterans.

But Rinderknecht says this sale still shortchanges the kids in the district.

“If they can turn down that kind of money then they’ve got no right to deprive the kids,” he says.

As closing day closes in, some neighbors are no longer asking– they’re demanding a reversal.

“Let’s stop the sale and put it on the ballot: Yes or no to sell for only $30,000. And let us taxpayers decide as we vote to fill your vacant seats,” Ellis said Monday.

“I would try to do more than ask, because it’s not all ‘for the kids,’ and you can’t tell me it is,” Rinderknecht says.

The closing date for the sale is expected at the end of October

DeSalvo says the decision can be reversed: If a board member wants to change his or her vote, they can call the issue back into consideration.

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