Prague School Board votes to sell gifted land amid concerns

Local

PRAGUE, Okla. (KFOR) – The Prague School Board voted unanimously to sell 70-acres of gifted land to build a bigger facility for FFA students to raise livestock closer to the school. The land was given to the school district as part of the final will and testament of an immigrant from the now-dissolved Czechoslovakia.

“I hate that they made this decision,” said Justin Terrell, a Prague parent.

“I’m not for selling this farm,” said another concerned citizen.

The school board passed the resolution after hearing public comment from the community for more than two hours.

The land was given to the school district by Czech immigrant John Mensik. In his last will and testament, Mensik stated he did not wish for the property to be privately owned and only used for students’ agricultural education.

“In this instance, the gift, the mandatory part was that they use it for agricultural vocational training for 21-years. They have met that,” Sarah Hawkins, an estate attorney who looked over the will and testament told KFOR. “It looks like they would be able to sell it and be in compliance with the will.”

The school board said 10-acres will be kept for clay shooting sports, while the money made from the land sale will be used to build a new facility on 17-acres of land the district has already purchased behind the middle school.

One of the arguments made Monday night was that the current land is not accessible to everyone.

“I think we’re cutting a lot of students out that don’t have access to this,” said a parent in support of the sale.

“I never knew where it was,” said a Prague Public Schools graduate.

However, many were concerned whether they’re even allowed to raise livestock within city limits.

“What happens when the property is annexed into the city and the student’s livestock projects do not meet zoning regulations?” asked a concerned citizen to the board.

“The city, I think, would like to work with us and rezone that as maybe agricultural farm,” said a board member.

“If that was the case, then every school would have an AG facility in town to house animals for children,” Terrell told KFOR.

Others were worried about the smell.

“When you put them in a small area, they do have an odor,” said a Prague High School alumnus. “The school is going to smell the hogs, the cattle, the sheep, the goats.”

But on the other hand, some said now may be their only chance.

“We run the risk of not doing it now and in ten years or 15-years, it could get sold for a completely different purpose,” said a concerned parent.

The school board said they plan to honor the Mensik family by naming the new facility after them when it is built.

A group of men opposed to the sale tell News 4 they are thinking about making a petition to stop the board from continuing with the plan.

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