Statement issued Monday:
Fort Wayne Community Schools filed a counter claim today in Allen County Superior Court asking for a declaratory judgment to allow for the transfer of the Pleasant Center property to the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority.
The FWCS Board of School Trustees approved the transfer of the property at its Dec. 12, 2011, meeting, following Indiana law allowing the transfer of surplus school property to another governmental entity. FWCS administrators began working with the Airport Authority and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance shortly after Pleasant Center Elementary School closed in June 2010. The first meeting between the entities took place on Nov. 30, 2010, and by March 2011, the Airport Authority requested and obtained permission to conduct an appraisal and environmental study of the property. In September, the Airport made a formal request to acquire the property, and title transfer documents were drafted over the next few months.
The Airport Authority was interested in the property because it is included in the Airport Authority's master plan, which must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that the use of property surrounding the airport is compatible with airport operations.
As negotiations with the Airport reached its conclusion, FWCS received notice that a charter school was interested in the property. As FWCS had already reached an agreement with the Airport for the property, the Board moved forward with the transfer.
“We followed Indiana code in transferring this property to another governmental entity,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “The Airport Authority has a legitimate interest in this property and one that is important for economic development near the airport. We do not believe state law should allow a request by one entity to trump the interests of all other entities.”