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GIRARD SCHOOLS Court clears path for trial of board



Published: Thu, January 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Board officials say they do not know if they will appeal the case to the state Supreme Court.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A trial looms that could result in the removal of Girard Board of Education members.

The 11th District Court of Appeals dismissed a motion by the school board Wednesday to stop a visiting Trumbull County judge from hearing the case.

"I'm still in the process of reviewing this matter and we are considering our options," said Atty. Lou Damiani of Cleveland, who represents the board. "No decision has been made."

Richard R. Ragozine, board president, said he does not know what decision the board will make but members are not afraid to go to trial.

"This board has nothing to hide," he said.

What's next: If the board does not appeal the ruling, visiting Judge Mitchell Shaker will set a trial date.

Judge Shaker, who is retired, is to preside in the trial in common pleas court.

Damiani had asked the appeals court to prohibit the case from going to trial because the trial did not take place within 30 days from the date the petition was filed.

The petition was filed Sept. 19 and the trial date was scheduled for November, court records state.

The appeals court ruled the case can go forward.

Several parents filed an action in September asking a judge to remove the school board members because they didn't inform parents about reported health problems at the intermediate school.

Attached to the complaint was a petition signed by more than 1,600 people.

The parents have said they are unhappy with the way the board handled the problems at the school and believe the board members should be removed from office.

The intermediate school was closed May 1 because pupils and staff were becoming ill. It remains closed while work is done to correct the problems.

Cathy Ross, a member of the parents group, said she is pleased the appeals case has been dismissed.

"We are all very, very pleased," Ross said. "We hope Judge Shaker gives us a date soon. This trial has been a long time coming."

sinkovich@vindy.com




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