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The governor on Wednesday reduced the charges against a woman jailed for using her father’s address to enroll her children in a neighboring school district, saying the penalty didn’t fit the crime.

Kelley Williams-Bolar, of Akron, served nine days in jail earlier this year for falsifying information on records that she used to send her daughters to Copley-Fairlawn schools.

She said her conviction on two felony records tampering counts had threatened her efforts to earn her teacher’s license. Gov. John Kasich agreed, reducing the convictions to two misdemeanors.

“When I first heard about this situation, it seemed to me that the penalty was excessive for the offense,” the governor said in a statement. “In addition, the penalty could exclude her from certain economic opportunities for the rest of her life.”

But the governor’s action also came with a warning.

“No one should interpret this as a pass — it’s a second chance,” Kasich said.

Kasich is requiring Williams-Bolar to report for probation, serve 80 hours of community service, work full time, not take any drugs or drink alcohol and pay the cost of her prosecution.

Kasich’s order was a rare departure from the recommendation of the Ohio Parole Board, which said unanimously last week that Kasich should leave Williams-Bolar’s conviction in place.

Her attorney on Wednesday praised Kasich for bucking the board.

“It took a lot of courage for Gov. Kasich to do so in the face of a unanimous parole board recommendation that clemency be denied, and we applaud him for that,” said David Singleton, executive director of the Ohio Justice and Policy Center.

Singleton said the decision will make it easier for Williams-Bolar to keep her job as a teacher’s aide and to ultimately apply to have the conviction struck from her record.

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article courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com

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