Open enrollment dispute could end Liberty vs Girard rivalry - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Open enrollment dispute could end Liberty vs Girard rivalry

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LIBERTY TWP, Ohio -

A dispute over open enrollment is driving a wedge between the Liberty and Girard school districts. 

The rift could end the schools long-standing rivalry known as the Battle of Belmont Avenue.

Liberty and Girard are neighbors and the Leopards and Indians battle every year for bragging rights. But right now, the two districts are at odds over open enrollment.  

"We believe that state government has pitted local districts against each other," said Liberty Superintendent Joseph Nohra.

At Liberty's request, the districts met last week to discuss the issue. "They wanted us to control how many kids we took from Liberty and we're not; that's illegal," said Girard School Board President Mark Zuppo.

'We asked them to show some restraint. When you look at the numbers, almost 100 students out of our enrollment are going to Girard," said Nohra.
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He added that more than a quarter of those students are kindergarten students. "Are we going to allow over 25 percent of our students in one grade level. They actually hired a teacher there. That's how many they took," Nohra said.

As far as the Battle of Belmont rivalry, Nohra said they may take a break. "If we take a break, which we may have to take a break, but we don't expect that it would be a long break."
 
Zuppo said it would hurt to lose that rivalry and that Girard is open to any suggestions for a legal solution. 'The story is simple, we have open enrollment and we're legal they way we do it. We're not going to do anything illegal," said Zuppo.

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