Board Refuses Former School
Anna L. Mallory, PDT Staff Writer
Story created Thursday, October 14, 2004.
MINFORD — A seven-year Harrison Township trustee says the three-member panel has no plans to purchase or receive the former Minford Middle School.
Joe Bennett reiterated Wednesday what the board has said for the past two years — they cannot afford to take on the building.
“We just don’t have the money. ... There’s no way we could take on another project unless a bond issue is floated,” he said.
Minford Local School District’s Board of Education elected Tuesday night to wait to discuss a public auction of the middle school and to give the trustees one more opportunity.
The board had approached trustees in the past, but the township leaders had declined. Bennett said the same reasons now apply.
Community members leasing a wing of the school for $1 have asked the district to turn over the school to them, but Ohio Revised Code prohibits the action unless it is awarded to another “political subdivision.”
However, according to ORC 505.10, “a board of township trustees may accept, on behalf of the township, the donation by bequest, devise, deed of gift or otherwise, of any real or personal property for any township use.”
Minford resident Jim Morgan is using that section of the statute as his backing that the former school building can be turned over for township residents’ use.
Morgan has said he has up to 3,000 people and many businesses willing to back his idea and help with upkeep of the school, which now is costing the district $27,304 annually to maintain.
“Even if we do this, we’ll still have to winterize the building and do lots of other things,” Morgan said.
Minford’s five-member board had asked him at numerous meetings to furnish a nonprofit organization from his backers, but until they are given papers to that end, they argue there is no other option than to auction the six-acre property.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board told a crowd of about 30 residents they
would wait for the trustees to prepare to take over the building if possible
and present it on a regular meeting night Oct. 28.
Bennett said trustees’ main focus is the upkeep of township roads.
A more than $200,000 grant will allow Bond Road to be repaved in the spring, he said, but that should be the extent of the township’s involvement with the schools.
The township has an estimated $140,000 budget for road repair only.
“We’re in there to get good roads,” said Bennett, who has one year left inoffice. “I’d love to see that be used in the community, but we’re doing what we feel we’re responsible for.”
The next township trustee meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday.