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District move to keep white students cites ‘racial balance’

An Ohio school district with a growing proportion of minority students says it will stop allowing white students to attend a neighboring district and take public funding with them because it wants to avoid becoming segregated.

The Liberty Local Schools board unanimously backed that shift this week, relying on a state law that districts can object to students going elsewhere through open enrollment “in order to maintain an appropriate racial balance.”

The superintendent says most students leaving Liberty through open enrollment are white. Many go to Girard, and Liberty is trying to stem that flow. The districts are about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southeast of Cleveland.

A professor who studies open enrollment says it’s a reversal of how racial issues typically arise because it’s about retaining students, not excluding them.

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