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Couple gifts 44 acres of farmland to Chippewa Valley Schools

February 16, 2019

MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Chippewa Valley Schools is close to acquiring a 44-acre farm in suburban Detroit.

The Chippewa Valley Board of Education agreed to grant administrators the authority to purchase William and Dorothy Manthey’s property during a closed session with district attorney Timothy Tomlinson.

The school district will also receive $200,000 to $300,000 from the trust, the Macomb Daily reported .

The Manthey’s included the Clinton Township-based Chippewa Valley Schools in their will. The district was listed as a recipient of a trust that will turn over the couple’s vast farm in neighboring Macomb Township to the schools.

Chippewa Valley would use around $4 million from the general endowment to buy the land if school officials move forward with the deal.

Tomlinson said the plans call for the money to be reimbursed at the conclusion of the trust fund administration.

“The choice was a no-brainer,” Tomlinson said. “That’s prime property that hasn’t been developed yet and could be ideal for mixed uses. There is a lot of opportunity there.”

School board members are expected to approve the deal, but it is unlikely the land would become the site of a new school.

Roberts, superintendent of the 16,000-student district, said Chippewa Valley is pretty much built out. Its enrollment projections, similar to many school districts in Michigan, show a gradual decline for future years.

“There are no plans for us at this point,” he said. “If we keep the property, we would have to think about all of our options. What could we have that would reasonably benefit us and the community.”

Grace Caporuscio, a former school board candidate and district watchdog, noted voters approved a $97 million bond issue for security and technology improvements last November. She questions where the money to buy the Manthey farm will come from and how it will be used. The school board agenda was changed from “attorney/client privilege” to “site acquisition” on the night of the meeting, Caporuscio said.

“These types of sleight-of-hand transactions are why they still refuse to tape and broadcast their meetings. To keep us out of their business while they indebt us,” she said.