A petition drive to allow Newbury Township residents to vote on the Newbury School District territory transfer to West Geauga Schools fell short last week.

Newbury Board of Education member Martin Sanders said Monday petition gatherers were able to obtain just over 1,000 signatures to bring the issue to the ballot. The number required to be certified for the ballot was 1,300.

The second of two votes needed to approve the territory transfer by the Geauga County Educational Service Center is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Mr. Sanders, who was involved in gathering signatures, said the effort was an “uphill battle.”

During his time going from house to house, he said, he was surprised at just how “ill-informed” the community was about the issue.

“A lot of people felt the school has run its course, and several thought it had already closed,” Mr. Sanders said.

With the defeat, Mr. Sanders said he is ready to accept the school’s fate.

“I’m proud of the people who gave their time and effort (gathering petitions),” he said. “I don’t blame anyone. The other side thought they were right and so did we. The sad thing is when something’s gone, you never get it back.”

He said the effort was intended to let the people have a say in the fate of the school.

Mr. Sanders said it was an uphill battle to mobilize the people needed to gather the signatures, and they faced an organized effort to defeat it with mailers and web postings that urged people not to sign the petitions.

Joseph Koziol Jr. started his career in journalism in 1981. He joined the Solon Times in 1992 and covered the city of Solon for 10 years. An award winning reporter, Mr. Koziol has been covering Geauga County since 2012.

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