Iberia school board sells two vacant schools

The Iberia Parish School Board accepted $250,000 for the sale of two of its old school properties, while another vacant school, Jeanerette Middle, is still on the market.

Earlier this month, the Iberia Parish School Board accepted offers of $75,000 for the former Lee Street Alternative School and $200,000 for the former Johnston Street Elementary. The properties were purchased by Stella Lea LLC on behalf of Valerie Cahill, who is listed as an officer in the company.

Phone listings for Cahill were out of order and no business phone listings for Stella Lea were available.

Iberia Parish Superintendent Dale Henderson said he was unaware of the buyer’s plans for the properties.

The prices were below the appraised value, but the board was able to accept them as reasonable offers because no acceptable offers were made in prior bid rounds, Henderson said.

Johnston Street Elementary was appraised at $400,000 and Lee Street Alternative School was appraised at $93,000.

“Those buildings were older buildings and needed some attention, so I think the board was well-pleased with those offers,” Henderson said.

The Lee Street school had been closed since 2010 and the Johnston Street school was closed in 2012 when the newly constructed Johnston-Hopkins Elementary opened.

By state law, no price less than 85 percent of the appraised value can be accepted in the first round of bids and in the second round, offers less than 80 percent of the appraised value cannot be accepted, said Wayne Landry, the board’s attorney.

“The third time that a property goes out to bid, the board can accept any reasonable offer,” Landry said.

Proceeds from the sale will help bolster the district’s general fund and will be spent at the board’s discretion, Henderson said.

With the sale of the two buildings, the board still has one other vacant property on the market, Jeanerette Middle, appraised at $240,000.

No bids were received in the first round of offers due earlier this month and a second round for bids soon will be advertised, Henderson said.

Jeanerette Middle was closed in 2012 after the board approved consolidating the school with Jeanerette High School.

The board has declared two other properties as surplus, but has not advertised the properties for sale: Live Oak Preschool, which closed when the new Johnston-Hopkins Elementary opened; and the old Loreauville Elementary, which was vacated after construction of a new elementary school.