School board approves agreement for transfer of Pioneer Career Center property

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times
Superintendent Mike Roth, right, speaks Monday during a work session of the Leavenworth Board of Education. Also pictured is school board member Alisa Murphy. During the meeting, board members approved a lease agreement for the Pioneer Career Center property.

The Leavenworth Board of Education has approved a lease agreement that will allow Kansas City Kansas Community College to purchase the Pioneer Career Center property for $10.

Board members approved the lease agreement when they met Monday for a work session.

Superintendent Mike Roth said the lease agreement still requires approval by KCKCC’s governing board. The document approved by school board members included changes requested by the community college.

KCKCC operates the Pioneer Career Center in the former West Intermediate School building, which is owned by the Leavenworth school district.

Officials with the Leavenworth school district and KCKCC partnered in 2015 to open the Pioneer Career Center as a technical education school. KCKCC also began offering general education courses at PCC and closed a satellite campus it had operated in downtown Leavenworth.

A state law that provides tuition reimbursement allows Leavenworth High School students to attend technical courses at PCC without paying tuition.

The three-year lease agreement gives KCKCC the option of purchasing the Pioneer Career Center during the period of the agreement or upon its expiration. The community college would purchase the property in its "as is" condition for $10.

After purchasing the property, KCKCC would continue to allow students of the Leavenworth school district to take technical classes at the center tuition free as long as the state continues to provide for tuition reimbursement. Students of the school district may have to pay for class materials.

The lease gives the school district the option of buying back the property in the event KCKCC receives a bona fide offer from another party for the purchase of the property. The district could buy back the property by paying no more than the amount offered from the other party.

Roth said some may believe the district will be giving the property away to KCKCC. But he said the community college has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the last six years for the Pioneer Career Center. He said PCC has provided educational opportunities to Leavenworth High School students they would not have had without the district's partnership with KCKCC.

While the lease agreement was placed on the agenda for discussion, Roth was not seeking approval of the document during Monday's work session.

However, board member Doug Darling suggested moving forward with a vote on the agreement.

"I'm ready to go forward with a motion tonight," he said.

Roth said the proposed lease agreement had been before school board members a few times prior to Monday's work session.

Board members unanimously approved the document.

There are two ballfields located on the grounds of the Pioneer Career Center. Roth said school district officials would like to help to continue to maintain these fields if allowed by the administration of PCC.

"We won't use them from a school district standpoint, but we feel that the rec leagues and independent Leavenworth teams will still benefit from the opportunities those fields will give the community," Roth said in an email.

But he said future use of the fields will be the call of the PCC administration.

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