Little Miami votes to fight property transfer

The Little Miami Local Schools Board of Education has decided to fight last week's decision of the Ohio Board of Education to allow the transfer of property from Little Miami to the Kings Local School District.

The Little Miami board voted 4-0 on Tuesday evening to authorize the Board's legal counsel to appeal the state board's decision on Miami Bluffs in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

According to the Little Miami board's resolution, the board "believes that should the transfer of the property in question occur, the District would incur a substantial negative financial impact in the form of lost property tax revenue."

Little Miami Treasurer Terry Gonda said that the district could lose about $1.1 million per year should the more than 500 homes in the Miami Bluffs and Adena areas off Striker Road be transferred to the Kings district.

It is unclear at this time whether the transfer and the resulting loss in tax revenue would effect the district's emergence from fiscal emergency, which was declared in July 2010.

Board Vice-President Mike Cremeans said Little Miami really had no choice but to fight the state board's decision.

"If we don't fight, it will set a precedent, and more and more communities may want to do the same thing," he said. "That throws us farther behind in trying to get out of fiscal emergency. We will lose more than $1.1 million if this transfer goes through. Where will we get that back? We're already taxing our families with levies."

The district's legal counsel must now file the appeal no later than 15 days after the postmark on the notice received from the state Board of Education.  A spokeswoman from the state board's legal department said Tuesday that official notice to Little Miami should be arriving next week.

Little Miami Superintendent Greg Power said he was pleased that the board had taken action to fight the state board's decision.

"This was the first opportunity Little Miami has been able to have a say in this entire proceeding," he said. "Up until this point, we have merely been bystanders as Miami Bluffs residents,Kings and the state have been engaged in the process. We look forward to having our case heard in court."

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