Debate continues over school boundary changes

Voting has started on proposed school-boundary changes and it will continue through election day on March 17th.

However, the attorneys working for Plain Local Schools in Stark County as well as state and township officials have all come to an agreement. They’ve agreed they will not move further on the issues until related legal proceedings are completed later this year.

The decision, which includes input from attorneys also representing the state school board, the governor, the village of Hills & Dales, and the state superintendent was reached in Columbus earlier this week.

The district is challenging the new state law that allows residents of townships split with multiple school districts to pursue voter approval to switch districts. Plain local wants to block the law noting an anticipated increase of racial and economical segregation with residents of wealthier, predominantly white, neighborhoods leave the district.

However, state and local officials argue that private citizens should have the right to vote on changes in school-district boundaries. They also suggested the push back is more about the tax revenue the district would lose rather than racial diversity.

Boundary changes are allowed under state law, but an independent review of racial and other effects is required before anything is completed. Both sides appeared in court this week in Columbus where they agreed to delay the court case.

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