Hamilton, Butler Tech receive final approval for career school merger

The annual “State of Hamilton Schools” event this week was the latest sign of the coming partnership between Hamilton Schools and Butler Tech.

The lunch gathering at the Courtyard Marriott in the Butler County city drew dozens of public, private school officials as well as leaders from Miami University Hamilton regional campus and Badin High School.

It’s the last time Hamilton Schools will participate as a non-partner with the Butler Tech career school system, ending the city schools’ decades of going it alone in providing career training to its high school students.

Explore MORE: Hamilton and Butler Tech to join in historic partnership

Butler Tech Superintendent Jon Graft told the crowd at the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce and the Hamilton Rotary Club sponsored event he had recently received the final sign-offs from state education officials on the merger with Hamilton High School career school.

The historic merger marks the latest in a series of changes for Butler Tech highlighted by Graft, who told the audience rapid reform of area schools must happen quickly.

Explore MORE: Butler Tech does historic, rapid expansion of campuses in Butler County

“This is a world that is moving faster than schools,” said Graft. “We see the need to transform education and southwest Ohio is at the forefront of it.”

Larry Knapp, superintendent of the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, said “we are definitely making progress.”

“The new partnership with Butler Tech will open new doors for our students,” said Knapp.

Among the progress cited for the city schools by Knapp, was the district’s latest – and highest – graduation rate of 87 percent.

“And we look forward to that continuing to rise in 2019,” said Knapp.

He also announced the district’s coming launch of creating a new strategic plan for the city schools, which will first include gathering input from school district residents, business and community leaders.

“The end result should be a clear focus for the future,” of Hamilton Schools, he said.

Badin High School Principal Brian Pendergest said Badin’s future remains bright.

Badin is the only Catholic high school in Butler County and Pendergest touted the school’s new “Christian Service Program” – a four-year, community service.

And Miami University’s Cathy Bishop-Clark, who was promoted last year to full-time associate provost and dean of Miami University Regionals in Hamilton and Middletown, cited the Hamilton branches coming expansion of its nursing program.

Explore MORE: Miami University Hamilton will partner with city high school

Bishop-Clark said 96 percent of graduates from the regional campuses “are employed or are furthering their education in the six months from their graduation.”

About the Author