Residents in BG school district want out

Residents in several rural townships have petitioned to leave the Bowling Green City Schools district.

The petitions were delivered to the district’s administrative offices Monday.
The 11 territories that have petitioned for annexation are seeking to transfer to Otsego Local Schools,
one; Elmwood Local Schools, four; Patrick Henry schools, three; McComb schools, one; and Eastwood Local
Schools, two.
The petitioners’ district and the new district have to be contiguous.
The petitions require signatures from 10% of the electorate who voted in the last general election. Once
the board of education accepts the petitions at its meeting March 19, they will be sent to the Wood
County Board of Elections where the signatures will be certified.
The paperwork then will be sent back to the school board, which in April will pass a resolution allowing
the petitions to go to the ballot.
The deadline for the August special election is May 6. The district will incur all costs of putting the
issues on the ballot, which incidentally, carries the highest cost for all elections.
“We have no say in that. The law gives us no say whether we object to them going on the ballot,” said
Superintendent Francis Scruci.
“It doesn’t matter who signs the petitions, it’s only the people in that territory who have the right to
vote,” he said. “Anyone who lives within the designated area of that particular petition can vote.”
The law was added to the biennium budget. One school district in Stark County has taken the law to the
Ohio Supreme Court.
The law allows residents in certain townships to transfer to an adjoining school district if enough
voters pass the measure on an election ballot.
Terry Burton, director at the board of elections, could not comment on how his office will handle the
petitions, saying he was not yet familiar with the new law and more research was needed.
As described in the October edition of the School Law Review, Ohio Revised Code 3311.242 pertains
particularly to school districts situated in a township that contain two or more school districts within
its borders.
The new statute provides that those electors may petition for a transfer of school district territory to
another school district to which the territory is adjoining.
For instance, Jackson Township is split between McComb school district and Bowling Green schools. Plain
Township is split between Otsego Local Schools and Bowling Green schools.
If a sufficient number of electors (10% of electors who voted in the last general election) are certified
by the local board of elections to have signed the petition, it would be placed on the next ballot, in
this case August.
If the majority approves, the township trustees may then negotiate a formal agreement with the board of
education in the district to which the territory will be transferred.
The question remains, does the new district have to take these territories.
Scruci cited Section F of the code that states “However, the district board of education shall not be
required to enter into a formal agreement.”
“I honestly don’t know how my board will respond,” said Elmwood Local Schools Superintendent Tony Borton.

Four territories have filed to leave Bowling Green and join Elmwood.
There may be a few students and a lot of land, “but we don’t want to do this to another district,” Borton
said.
“It’s going to be a tough decision,” he said, and his board will need to weigh the pros and cons “and see
what’s best for Elmwood schools.”
“From the standpoint of the law, these citizens are well within their rights,” Scruci said. “From a
school district standpoint, we’re disappointed to not continue to educate the children that are part of
our school district.
“We want to educate all the kids we can educate. When the dust settles, we’re going to continue with the
ones who are still part of our district.”