Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Hamilton schools claim property

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — A three-year struggle between the Hamilton and New Miami school boards over a 92-acre subdivision being developed in Hamilton may be nearing an end.

        Last week the Hamilton board voted to accept the Governor's Hill subdivision into the school district over the objections of New Miami. Located near Eaton and Beisinger roads, the property was annexed to Hamilton from St. Clair Township about five years ago but lies within the boundaries of the New Miami Local Schools.

        Last month a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge refused to stop the land transfer from the New Miami to Hamilton schools while New Miami appeals last year's decision by the state Board of Education granting the transfer. No court date has been set to hear New Miami's appeal, said Roger Eckert, New Miami's lawyer. Both parties have until the end of April to file briefs on the matter.

        “From our perspective it's over,” said Larry Bowling, president of the Hamilton Board of Education. “We accepted the transfer as re quired by law. It's close to resolution.”

        When accepting the land, the board directed its staff to work with New Miami on transferring funds and other details. The board's actions, Mr. Bowling said, are consistent with a 1986 policy calling for the school district boundaries to be aligned with city boundaries.

        The dispute started nearly three years ago when developer Carlos Todd offered to compensate the New Miami Board of Education $202,000 if it agreed to transfer the land. When the New Miami board refused, the Hamilton board peti tioned the state board of education. Last November the state board agreed to the transfer.

        “This is the first residential development in New Miami in 40 years,” Mr. Eckert said. “New Miami doesn't want to give it up. Every time a developer comes and uses his political power (Mr. Todd, until January, had been chairman of the Butler County Republican Party), should New Miami lose land?”

        Mr. Todd said he requested the transfer because people in the subdivision prefer the Hamilton schools.


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