Michael D. Clark reports:
A subdivision on the border of Little Miami Schools got state approval this week to join an adjacent district but officials at Kings Schools have already voted to reject the attempt to move in.
Earlier this week the Ohio State Board of Education approved a request by some residents in the Miami Bluffs community, which is part of the Little Miami school system, to merge into the nearby Kings district.
The two Warren County districts share a border in Hamilton Township, along Kings’ eastern boundary line.
Despite approval by the state board, officials in neither district said Thursday they want a merger.
In anticipation of such mergers, Kings school board passed a resolution in 2011 rejecting the idea of accepting any of homes from any adjacent district.
“The Kings Board of Education expressed their stand on the issue of land transfer in a resolution in October, 2011,” Kings officials said in a statement.
“The Kings Local School District Board of Education desires … to clearly express its position that it will decline any proposed transfer of school district territory from adjoining school districts.”
But the outcome is unclear in this unusual case.
Under Ohio law the home district that would receive a transferred community – in this case, Kings – usually has the final say on any attempted merger into its school system area.
“We’re concerned about district’s ability to take on more neighborhoods,” said Kings Superintendent Valerie Browning, who added that to allow the merge would set a precedence that school officials want to avoid.
And Little Miami Schools Superintendent Greg Power complained that losing a subdivision of dozens of homes and about 75 students to Kings would cut into the financially troubled district’s local school tax revenue.
“If this transfer occurs, we stand to lose around $1.5 million in tax revenue annually,” said Power, whose district remains insolvent in state-designated “fiscal emergency” and under state control.
Power said district officials and board members for Little Miami plan to meet next week to explore legal options.
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