Brownsville Middle School back up for discussion

Nearly a year after Superintendent Malcolm Thomas broke off negotiations with Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for the dilapidated Brownsville Middle School that has been closed since 2007, the Escambia County School Board will discuss it on Friday, Nov. 12 at its workshop.

Last December and January, several community leaders came forward saying that the School District should give the school – which has a leaky underground water system and has had sections destroyed by fire and vandalism- to the church for free. Thomas insisted the school was worth $1.7 million, but finally dropped his asking price to $1 million—which was still too much for the church to pay.

Friendship Missionary Baptist Church withdraw its offer for Brownsville Middle School after Superintendent of Schools Malcolm Thomas refused to extend the due diligence period beyond 30 days or to consider a lower purchase price after the church discovered that cost of the environmental remediation and basic repairs to get the buildings up to code could be as much as $500,000.

Thomas and asst. Superintendent Norm Ross told the board and the media that he had another buyer. Eleven months later, no other buyer has surfaced. No offers, but those by Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, have been made.

The property has become Superintendent Thomas’ albatross. It will be interesting to see how he spins it. The School Board has yet to stand up to Thomas. Will they tomorrow?

Board member Linda Moultrie requested the item be placed on the agenda. The meeting is 8 a.m. at the Hall Center.