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President's Letter Dated October 25

October 25, 2010

To: Clarke Community and Neighbors

From: Bill Corwin, President

Re: Northampton Campus Update #2

Last month, we shared information with the Northampton community about the Clarke Board of Trustees’ comprehensive evaluation of the best course of action regarding the future of our Northampton property, including the possibility of consolidating Clarke's programs into a smaller portion of our campus and putting the remaining property on the market. (A copy of last month’s letter is enclosed for your reference). I am writing now to update you on the outcome of the Trustees’ meeting that was held this past weekend.

As many of you already know, Clarke now serves more children and families in more ways and more places than at any time in our 143-year history. As a result of newborn hearing screenings, intensive early intervention services, and technological advances such as cochlear implants, most of the children we serve today are under the age of 6. Many of them successfully mainstream into their neighborhood schools by first grade, and, increasingly, receive services from Clarke in their homes and local schools rather than on our campus. These trends have been building for over a decade and will continue in the future. As a result, our space needs in Northampton have been reduced and we have been consolidating our program and office space accordingly.

At this past Saturday’s Board meeting, Clarke’s Trustees agreed to invite proposals from interested parties for reusing and/or repurposing a large portion of the property. Over the next few months, a Request For Proposal (RFP) will be created, and will be made public sometime early in 2011. The RFP process is an alternative to directly listing the property with a broker and will allow the Board and staff leadership to be actively involved in seeking and evaluating proposals.

We plan to retain a portion of the property and consolidate operations into that portion. Whatever final decision is made regarding our facilities, Clarke will continue to operate our programs and services, and there will be no interruption of service to students and families.

Once the RFP is issued, it typically takes several months to select an appropriate proposal. Given the unique nature of the property and the poor condition of the economy and real estate market, no one knows with any certainty just how long this process will take. All proposals we will consider must meet the zoning requirements for the property, which limit its uses to education, agriculture and residential purposes

We will issue additional updates via e-mail as this process moves forward. Please send us an e-mail at community@clarkeschools.org if you would like to receive these updates or if you have any immediate questions. We greatly value our relationship with the Round Hill neighborhood and the greater Northampton community, and will continue to be as transparent about our plans as we can.