Plan for KY school runs into farmer's crops - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Plan for KY school runs into farmer's crops

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CECILIA, Ky. (AP) -- A Kentucky school district's plans to build a new elementary school have run headlong into the farmer who holds a lease on the property and plans to keep growing crops for two more years.

Hardin County Schools have approved the $433,575 purchase option of land off of Ky. 86 in Cecilia with plans to build the school in time for the 2013-14 school year. David Miller, who grows wheat on the land like his family has for 40 years, has leased it for 2013 from the Cecil family. Miller told The News-Enterprise that he plans to farm the land until his lease expires in December 2013.

"My position is, I'm still farming it for two more years," he said.

Both sides said the dispute could be headed for court. The land is owned by the Cecil family, which sees the school as a legacy for the family from which the community derived its name. Miller said he is upset that if the land is sold, he will not have the land for the contracted amount of time. He earlier expressed disapproval at the disappearance of prime farmland to construction.

The dispute is stalled because the school district is running a series of tests on the land to determine if it's suitable for a building. Miller said the results of the test could settle any dispute if the property is not a fit location for a school.

Superintendent Nannette Johnston isn't expecting a negative outcome from the tests. The school board plans to meet Monday morning possibly to make a decision on the purchase option. Miller said he believes it will extend the time period for the purchase option agreement.

The Cecil family offered Miller a cash settlement in return for voiding his lease, he said, but he didn't accept it. He's growing a wheat crop on the land and harvested soybeans there earlier this year.

Calls to Jeremy Aldridge, attorney for the Cecil family, were not returned. Johnston said the Cecil family was excited by the opportunity to have a school on the land and she has heard from several Cecilia residents who support the project.

"From my perspective, I guess it's very disappointing that we have a squabble," she said.

(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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