The school board will decide on the consolidation

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The Anderson Township Board of Trustees “did not, cannot, and will not interfere” in the Forest Hills School District’s decision whether or not to consolidate high schools, the township administrator wrote, Vicky Earhart, in a letter to the community on Tuesday.

Rich Neumann, a former school board member and senior development advisor at Elevar Design Group, approached individual administrators to discuss his concept for a “transformational project,” Earhart wrote, “which he believed would benefit the whole from the community”. Administrators listened and then referred Neumann to township staff.

Read the full letter here or at the end of this story.

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Neumann and others from Elevar Design Group (a local architectural firm), Bradley Payne (a Pickaway County-based city council and financial planning firm), and Dinsmore & Shohl LLP (a law firm based in Cincinnati) met with township staff Aug. 15 to brief them on their plan to consolidate Anderson and Turpin High Schools, Earhart wrote. Township staff were asked about the land use plan and the zoning process “if this idea should move forward”. The township indicated that there would not and could not be a “preconceived determination as to zoning”.

“Elected and appointed district officials were not in attendance, no final proposals were made, and no action was requested from the township,” Earhart’s letter to the community said. She also quashed rumors that the township’s interest in attracting a hotel played a role in Neumann’s proposal, which would tear down Anderson High School.

Earhart said the Aug. 15 meeting was preliminary in nature and consistent with other meetings requested by developers, engineers and architects considering development projects in Anderson Township.

Administrator Josh Gerth also addressed the rumors via a Facebook post on Sunday.

“Let me make one thing clear. Whatever the plan/concept/idea is, it’s a school board/district decision,” Gerth wrote. “To date, we have not had any meetings with any member of the school board or the superintendent regarding a plan/concept/idea to solidify.

“Furthermore, accusations and insinuations that I am personally involved in my business or that I negotiate anything with the district and local developers are completely false and downright irresponsible. This only fuels the fires that a few people in this community insist on starting and And even though we do indeed serve on behalf of the residents, I will defend myself against any baseless and slanderous attacks on me, my fellow administrators and especially the hard-working A-Team every days for all of us.”

Letter to the Community | PDF

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