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Parents are concerned about one voting location in Summit County

8:10 PM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
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NORTHFIELD -- Parents with children attending the Lee Eaton Elementary School in Northfield have reached out to WKYC to voice their concerns ahead of Election Day.

On Nov. 5, voting will take place in the Lee Eaton ES on Ledge Road. Students will also be there and classes will go on as planned.

That has parents, along with Nordonia Hills School Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark, concerned about safety and traffic.

The Summit County Board of Elections first contacted Dr. Clark in July, requesting to use the building as a polling place.

Dr. Clark initially denied that request, citing safety concerns.

The Board of Elections contacted Dr. Clark in late September to inform him of a law that allows the BOE to use the facility despite the denial.

Ohio Revised Code sections 3501.18 and 3501.29 make it possible for Boards of Election to use any tax-supported building for election purposes.

"I am irritated, but we are flexible and professional. We will insure kids are as safe as they are on any other day" said Dr. Clark.

Parents who spoke to WKYC say they are considering keeping their children home from school on Election Day.

They are concerned about the number of visitors that will be in and out of the building.

"Voters will enter gyms directly from parking lots, have no other access to the building, and we will have off-duty police as security," said Dr. Clark.

Dr. Clark went on to say "Kids will be safe. There will be less contact between students and community than a game or concert."

When asked if he considered closing schools, Dr. Clark said "We are not closing schools. We have a month to prepare and kids will be safe. Our mission is educating kids, and we will do that."

Dr. Clark's main concern now is traffic. He is encouraging voters to avoid showing up between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

That's when students arrive and leave for the day so there will be the typical school-day traffic to deal with.

As for next year, Dr. Clark says he has contacted Sen. Frank LaRose and he is working to lobby for a change in the laws that would give superintendents more authority in controlling the use of school buildings.

You can follow Dr. Joe Clark on Twitter here - @DrJoeClark


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