By Sue Kiesewetter
Work crews in at least three school districts are racing against the clock to set up modular classrooms before students return this week.
Officials at Little Miami Schools in Warren County and Fairfield and Talawanda in Butler County say the rainy summer has left them scrambling.
"Local businessmen put off other jobs to help us," said Catherine Nolte, school spokeswoman.
"The weather hurt us in July," said Rob Amodio, Fairfield's administrative assistant for business. "The ground was so wet it was hard to get those flatbed semi-trucks in."
Fairfield is setting up six classrooms at the middle school, which Amodio says will be ready for teachers to move into Monday, two days before students return.
Little Miami is adding eight classrooms at Hamilton-Maineville, two classrooms at Butlerville and four at the high school. Weekend crews are working to make sure the last of the classrooms at Hamilton-Maineville will be ready when classes resume Monday, said Superintendent Daniel Bennett.
"(Maineville Principal) Melody Goodwin and myself have sat down and we have two plans depending on what scenario happens in the next 48 hours," Bennett said Friday.
Little Miami Schools have experienced a rapidly growing enrollment the last several years. When classes ended in June, the district had 2,950 students. By the end of the day Friday, enrollment stood at 3,207, an 8.7 percent increase.
Hamilton-Maineville went from 556 students in June to 630 today. The high school increased from 736 students last year to 830 today. Much of that came from the incoming freshman class of 250 - the district's largest ever. There were only 167 seniors in the Class of 2003.
Talawanda is adding four classrooms at Kramer Elementary and two at Maud Marshall to accommodate students assigned there after Stewart closed in June.
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