Thursday, May 6, 2004

Schools make plea for money

Little Miami needs more space soon

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON TWP. - More new students each year means Little Miami needs more schools fast, officials say.

In a public forum this week Little Miami school officials made their case for two new schools, and expansion of the Warren County district's high school. More than 60 Hamilton Township residents attended.

Little Miami High School is pushing its capacity though it was opened in 2000, and the district's elementaries are forced to use portable classrooms to accommodate student overflow.

The 3,100-student district is adding close to 200 students a year and expects to double its enrollment within a decade.

"We're at a very crucial time right now," Superintendent Dan Bennett told the audience. The forum also served as a lobbying platform to build support for a bond issue to fund construction. School officials want to put the estimated $37 million tax issue on the November ballot so that, pending voter approval, work can begin quickly.

"We really need to put a sense of urgency behind this. There could be some serious consequences for our students if we don't," Bennett said of the bond issue plan that calls for new schools opening in 2007.

An estimated 4.45-mill bond issue would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $136 annually.

Parent Leah Davis said she is worried that Little Miami's academic standing of "excellent" under Ohio ratings might be in jeopardy.

"One of the reasons we moved out here was the small school district compared to the big districts like Mason or Lakota where the kids are just numbers," said Davis.


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