Wednesday, June 8, 2011

KIPP's Malco Takeover Tabled; Kyle Miller Offers Alternative Proposal

HELENA-WEST HELENA- The expected seizure of control of the MALCO by the KIPP Delta Academy in downtown Helena hit a bump in the road with the City Council again failing to give KIPP Boss Scott Shirey approval of his plan.

Shirey presented the proposed 10-year lease agreement where KIPP would operate the MALCO in a manner similar to the way PCCUA operates its Lily Peter Auditorium to the City Council at Tuesday's meeting.  Some alderman wanted time to review it.  However, Alderman Jay Hollowell and Joe St. Columbia moved to immediately approve the KIPP proposal.

Other alderman insisted on hearing a proposal from Kyle Miller, director of the Positive Images in Christ Corporation.  Miller's organization has historically used the theater for its plays.  He proposed a shorter lease term with the city continuing to receive a percentage of the rental income.  Instead of operational control, he called his proposal a "management agreement."

Miller said he was also a "proficient grant writer" that could obtain many of the same funds that KIPP would seek.  He also said that he would work with many partners and would involve students from the Central High School East Lab program to work on the project as part of training in business operation.

Miller also said he wanted to keep the Malco as a "community-oriented" structure instead of seeing it become an facility for an educational institution.  He said, "It's just a different focus."

The council tabled action with a directive to see if the two parties could work out a joint arrangement.  If they are unable to, the council will be deciding to choose between the two proposals or reject both at the next council meeting on  June 21st.

According to Inside Scoop Online sources, if a vote were held today, it would be too close to call with St. Columbia and Hollowell pushing hard for the KIPP proposal, which would place preference on the calendar for KIPP classes and productions and allow community access at other times on a "first-come, first-served" basis.

Support for Miller's proposal which would more heavily involve HWHSD students and have more theater emphasis is strong with Aldermen Marvin Jarrett and HWHSD School Board member Christopher Franklin.

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