How Did Stark County Village Win Budget Provision That Could Allow It to Switch School Districts?
A Stark county community won a victory in the recent state budget, but it’s not clear how.
Lawmakers inserted a provision that will allow the village of Hills and Dales to petition to move out of the Plain Local Schools and into the Jackson School district. It’s something some village residents have sought for more than a decade.
Canton Repository education reporter Kelli Weir has tried unsuccessfully to find out which lawmaker proposed the budget item.
"You would think that somebody always has to attach their name to something they put into legislation because there has to be accountability," Weir said. "It came as a shock to me that there's no accountability in this process, that legislators can just suggest legislation and then it goes under the committee chair’s name basically. And that original person who suggested it can remain anonymous. And that was pretty surprising.”
State Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) chairs the House Finance Committee but he and other local lawmakers told Weir they did not propose the legislation.
Weir says Hills and Dales has submitted petitions to the Stark County Board of Elections. If approved, village voters will decide next March whether to stay in Plain Local or move to Jackson Schools.
Plain Local says the loss would cost the district more than $600,000 a year in property tax revenue. It’s expected to file a suit next week to fight the move.