Selma agrees to transfer deeds to Selma Schools

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Selma City Council approved the formal transfer of school properties within the city of Selma to the Selma City School Board, a process that began more than two years ago when construction began on the new Selma City High School.

When the Selma City School Board broke away from the Selma City Council, and the school system had become its own entity, it had been assumed the property, which the schools sit, had become the property of the school board. Such was not the case.

In fact, the situation did not become an issue until the school system began finalizing the finances for the new Selma High School that it became known the system did not have the deed to the property, leading to the system asking the city for the deed. A request the council approved.

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Tuesday, Selma City School Board superintendent of education Gerald Shirley officially requested the transfer or the remaining school properties, which included such schools as Byrd Elementary, Edgewood Elementary, Sophia P. Kingston Elementary, R.B. Hudson Middle School and the Phoenix School.

“We have been cited for this issue in recent audits and we run the risk of being cited and fined if we do not have this cleared up before we approve our next budget,” Selma City School Board president Henry Hicks Sr. told the council.

Selma City Council president Cecil Williamson did ask Selma City Attorney Jimmy Nunn to review the deed language, ensuring a reversionary clause is included.

Since the city owns the property, the reversionary clause in the deed would send the property back to the city if the property is no longer used for a school or education purposes.

Williamson referenced the discussion two years ago to potentially close Byrd School, the School of Discovery and the Phoenix School, as reasons why such a clause is necessary.

Nunn said he would make sure such language was included before the deeds are transferred to the school system.