Prague school board votes to sell donated land amid concerns

PRAGUE, Oklahoma (KFOR) – The Prague School Board has unanimously voted to sell 70 acres of donated land to build a larger facility for FFA students to raise cattle closer to the school. The land was donated to the school district as part of the final will of an immigrant from the now dissolved Czechoslovakia.

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

“I am not for the sale of this farm,” said another concerned citizen.

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

The land was donated to the school district by Czech immigrant John Mensik. In his will, Mensik said he did not want the property to be privately owned and used only for agricultural education for students.

“In this case, the giveaway, the obligatory part was that they use it for agricultural vocational training for 21 years. They encountered that, ”Sarah Hawkins, an estate attorney who reviewed the will, told KFOR. “It looks like they would be able to sell it and comply with the will.”

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

One of the arguments put forward on Monday evening was that the current land is not accessible to everyone.

“I think we’re removing a lot of students who don’t have access to it,” said one parent in favor of the sale.

“I never knew where it was,” said a Prague public school graduate.

However, many wondered if they were even allowed to keep livestock within the city limits.

“What happens when the property is annexed to the city and the student ranching projects do not follow the zoning regulations? A concerned citizen asked the board of directors.

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

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

Others worried about the smell.

“When you put them in a small area, they smell,” said a former Prague high school student. “The school will smell of pigs, cattle, sheep, goats.”

But on the other hand, some have said that now might be their only chance.

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

The school board said it plans to honor the Mensik family by naming the new facility after it is built.

A group of men opposed to the sale told News 4 they are considering petitioning to stop the board from pursuing the plan.

Berta D. Wells