The Pettisville Board of Education might ask voters to approve a permanent improvement levy this fall so the district can proceed with upgrades to its school complex.
At a meeting held last week, board members considered a second phase to the district’s original $21 million building project in 2011 at 232 Summit St. They authorized Superintendent Steve Switzer and Treasurer Chris Lee to research architectural services for the project and offer recommendations.
Phase 2 would update areas within the school district’s original building project the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), formerly the Ohio School Facilities Commission, didn’t cover. That agreement involved an 18%/82% split in funding between Pettisville schools and the OSFC, respectively.
The upgrades may include:
• Relocating bus storage to the school grounds instead of retaining the current off-campus rented site. Options could include adding a partial enclosure or a full building for the vehicles.
• Renovating an aging library and study hall
• Re-purposing computer labs that are no longer required with the distribution of laptops to students, and upgrading classroom technology
• The addition of exterior athletic venues, and improvements to those already established, including concessions, restrooms, seating, and scoreboards. Some athletic fields demolished to accommodate the new building complex were replaced about four years ago for approximately $300,000 from the school district’s general fund – money the state is scheduled to reimburse.
• Upgraded sidewalks to accommodate the disabled and senior citizens
• Exterior surveillance equipment, as recommended to the school district following an assessment by the Ohio Department of Homeland Security.
Switzer said funding from the 2011 project has been exhausted, “but we’re looking at finishing up things that were not covered in that project and things that need to be done.”
While the cost of Phase 2 is yet undetermined, the school board has considered funding the project with a 3- to 4-mill permanent improvement levy on the November ballot. The continuing levy would collect between $195,000 and $260,000 annually.
Funds from a permanent improvement levy may be used only for capital improvements, and not for salaries.
Should the proposed levy be passed by voters in November, the goal would be to complete the Phase 2 project over the summer of 2020. If the proposed levy would fail, “We’d have to look at different options,” Switzer said, including possibly reintroducing the levy the following May.
“People in the community have been very supportive over the years,” he said.
Phase 2 has been jump-started with a collection of $150,000 in small donations being held by the Pettisville School Foundation.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010