A short-handed Geauga County Educational Service Center voted unanimously last week in the second of two votes to approve the territory transfer of Newbury School District to the West Geauga.

Although a final vote by the West Geauga Board of Education is needed to complete the process, that board has already voted unanimously in a past vote to indicate their support for the territory transfer.

ESC Superintendent Jennifer Felker told the board that the one hope for those opposing the transfer had failed.

She said the Geauga County Board of Elections informed her that a petition drive by residents to overturn the transfer on the March ballot had failed to secure enough signatures to make it to the ballot. She said petitioners had collected 1,074 signatures, but needed 1,335.

As they did in their initial July vote, ESC members offered no comment as they prepared to vote. Steven Remias, serving as board president in Kenneth Burnett’s absence, read from a resolution that stated the board had the authority to approve the territory transfer between the two contiguous districts.

The board had to rescind that initial vote and cast a second one in August after it was discovered they may have provided insufficient time for petitioners to collect signatures. The decision to re-cast their vote came after a Newbury resident hired an attorney and challenged the board’s initial vote.

West Geauga will now begin handling Newbury School’s finances beginning in the fiscal year starting July 1, 2020. The transfer of students will begin in August 2020.

Certified copies of the board’s decision will be provided to the West Geauga Board of Education, the state board of education and the Geauga County Auditor. A map, showing the new district’s boundaries, was also part of the approval.

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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