Buckeye Valley Local School District’s board of education has approved submitting a petition to the State Board of Education as the next step in the process of changing the district’s boundaries.
A family north of Sunbury submitted a petition requesting a boundary change from Buckeye Valley Local Schools to the Big Walnut Local School District on April 18. If the change is approved by both school districts, it could set a precedent in the State of Ohio.
Buckeye Valley Treasurer Kelly Ziegler said that once the state makes contact, it will be up to both school districts to approve, disapprove, or negotiate the boundaries.
“Both schools could say ‘yes’ and the territory transfers,” she said. “Both schools could say ‘no’ and it’s done, but if one says ‘yes’ and one says ‘no,’ then we go to negotiations.”
If both school districts don’t agree to the change, then the state board would step in to mediate the process.
In accordance with Ohio Revised Code, the next step is an acknowledgment of the board receiving the petition and having the signatures verified.
“At this point, we send everything to the state board of education,”said Ziegler. “They will contact us and Big Walnut schools to start the discussion about the transfer of the property.”
“In the next month or so, my guess is this will come back to us,” said Buckeye Valley Superintendent Andrew Miller. “Then the board can entertain whether or not if this will be in the best interest of the district and weighing that versus the interest of the person with the land parcel. Then they’ll have to do the same thing at Big Walnut.”
Ziegler said if both boards approve the boundary change, it might cause a domino effect with other properties.
“By saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ I feel politically you’re setting a precedent,” she said. “You’re opening the opportunity for others to transfer their property over.”
Wondering how the change might affect the district’s revenue, board member Amy Dutt asked, “It’s not going to impact our bottom line a whole lot, probably?”
Ziegler said one property might not affect the the district’s revenues. She said Buckeye Valley Local already had an agreement in place with Delaware City Schools for revenue sharing from when property was annexed into Delaware.
“Every year I get a check from Delaware City Schools,” she said. “But that is part of the negotiation. I think down the line with the Delaware situation it was part of numerous parcels of land and numerous people. With this it’s one family.”
They want their property to be reclassified as part of Big Walnut Local.
In accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, the petition was sent to the Delaware County Board of Elections to certify the signatures June 20.
BOE Director Karla Herron said her staff checked the petitioners’ signatures against the signatures on the voter registration cards. She said the staff fully agrees that both signatures match the registration cards.
The board of elections unanimously voted in favor of the petition and certified the signatures.