Butler Tech, Hamilton career school ink merger pact

Students in the Hamilton High School Career Tech Ed program work on building a shed for one of the district’s elementary schools in 2013. Hamilton’s career education will merge at the end of the 2018-2019 school year with the much larger Butler Tech schools. GREG LYNCH/2013
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Students in the Hamilton High School Career Tech Ed program work on building a shed for one of the district’s elementary schools in 2013. Hamilton’s career education will merge at the end of the 2018-2019 school year with the much larger Butler Tech schools. GREG LYNCH/2013

The era for Hamilton Schools as the only district in Butler County to offer career education independent of Butler Tech is officially over.

After months of negotiations between Hamilton and Butler Tech officials, the city school board has approved an agreement to merge.

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The Career Tech Education center, located adjacent to Hamilton High School, has offered nine career training programs for about 500 juniors and seniors. The center’s programs have a history going back decades.

But starting next school year, Butler Tech will manage the job and career training classes and during its 10-year lease of the CTE, the county career school will invest $700,000 during the first seven years of the agreement.

Currently Butler Tech is used by nine of the 10 public school systems in the county.

The agreement is historic and beneficial to Hamilton students, said officials with the city school district.

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“The opportunities that will arise from this merger are numerous,” said Rick Pate, executive director of secondary programming.

Butler Tech is one of the largest career school programs in Ohio and has more job training programs, business partnerships, learning facilities and overall resources than a single school system like Hamilton.

Butler Tech’s campuses are located throughout the county and offer programs for both high school and adult students. The school also offers career learning in a variety of satellite classes spread throughout its nine partner districts.

School officials said prior to August of 2019, Hamilton High School sophomores, juniors and seniors will be able to apply for Butler Tech’s various career instructional programs.

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“Starting in the winter, ninth and 10th-grade students will be afforded the opportunity to participate in not only our CTE campus tours but also have exposure to Butler Tech’s other campuses through open house nights,” said Pate.

“Additionally, representatives from Butler Tech will be presenting information to our current 10th-grade students about the opportunities that are present throughout the entire Butler Tech organization. The hope is that these events might spark the interest of our students and could lead to them pursuing the opportunity to attend school on the various Butler Tech campuses next year, exposing them to a greater number of career tech programs,” he said.

“Additionally, our eighth-grade students have been invited to visit Butler Tech’s Career Lab. This lab is a state-of-the-art facility, designed to assist students in identifying their career interests and skills,” said Pate.

Programs offered now at the CTE will continue to be available to students in the 2019-2020 school year.

According to the agreement document approved by the board, “after the 2019-2020 school year, program determinations shall be within the sole discretion by Butler Tech.”

“Looking beyond 2019-2020 hopes are high that we will be able to expand programming to students, not only at Hamilton High School but to all students in grades seven through 12. Preliminary discussions about additional programming have included multi-media productions, manufacturing/fabrication/welding, and more,” said Pate.

“Although it is too early to guarantee that these options will come to fruition it is exciting to be working with a partner in Butler Tech who has the same passion about bringing a better future to the students of the Hamilton City School district,” he said.

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