“City Council Vote Brings Anger and Tears”
That’s a rough translation of the headlines in the local and national news yesterday in Slovakia. The city council voted with a margin of just one vote to close the school with which we share a campus leaving parents and teachers disappointed and emotional. For Narnia Elementary School the decision means we can move forward but there are still some serious questions.
Fallout from the Decision
On the one hand, closing the school seems like the right thing to do. But you have to feel for the teachers and others who’ve lost their jobs in a time of 14% unemployment. After the vote one parent said the only reason the city wants to close the school is because the building was newly renovated and will be easy to sell. He said the whole thing smells of corruption.
It may be that most of the city is in favor of closing the school but if Narnia ends up purchasing the property then we’ll be sharing a neighborhood with a lot of skeptical and angry people. We don’t want that anger to be directed to Narnia and especially not toward the church, and we certainly don’t want people to think we were involved in corrupt dealings.
Purchasing the Property
We’re still a long way from purchasing the property. The official estimate for the land and the buildings was pegged at about 2 million euros or about $2.7 million. If our congregation had agreed to purchase the property according to those figures then we would have had first dibs. But we put an offer on the property for less than that amount which means it goes up for public bidding.
The good news is that there will be certain stipulations placed on the new buyer. They must use the property for education and they must be functioning in Banská Bystrica for at least five years. Can’t be too many organizations like that, right? Actually, we know of one other organization that meets those criteria. It’s a banking institute that has also expressed interest in the property. It turns out the owner of the institute is wealthy and has connections in government.
Please keep praying for Narnia
The next stages in the city’s decision making process should take place this month, but we’re not sure of the exact timing or just how much will be decided in the next phase. If the property gets sold to the other organization, we would be in a very uncomfortable position for the next school year.