Redrawn school boundary sought |

Redrawn school boundary sought

Now that the candidate is on the school board, his house may come into the school district – but not for several months and not without threats of legal action.

In the first round of voting on whether to ask its neighbor, Clear Creek School District, to agree to release trustee Jay Betz’ house from their district, Pleasant Ridge Union School District trustees voted at their Tuesday night meeting 2-2, and the matter appeared dead. Betz himself recused himself from the vote and the discussion.

“That’s it,” chairwoman Pat Jones told the audience of 40. “This will not come back.”

But many members of the audience urged Betz not to recuse himself and to vote, saying people had elected him to do so.

When he agreed, people shouted approval and applauded.

Betz joined Jones and Carol Brady in voting to make the request and start the process.

Betz, who came in second only to incumbent Joann Rossovich in a field of seven candidates, was sworn into office Dec. 10.

That his residence was not in the district came to light shortly before the Nov. 5 election. The school district and board said they would not contest Betz’ election. Citing a 107-year-old case, their legal counsel said Betz was a de facto member of the board and that his actions were binding. Their legal counsel did not rule on his eligibility to hold the office.

Jones said she feared that people who had made threats to sue the district would now do so. James Meshwert, the district’s superintendent, said he could neither confirm nor deny whether anyone threatened legal action against the district if the matter went forward.

If Clear Creek agrees, both board must ask the County Committee of School District Reorganization to redraw the boundaries. Public hearings must be held and a decision reached between 120 and 180 days.

Gary Clarke, who placed fourth with nearly 15 percent of the vote for three open seats, said he would pursue a complaint through the attorney general’s office if that were his only recourse.

Betz said he was “humbled and gratified by the support I’ve received.”

“Because of that I feel compelled to do the best to serve until a higher legal authority.”

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