Pettisville schools putting levy on ballot

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

Pettisville Local Schools will ask voters this spring for an additional permanent improvement levy, in part to finish some outdoor projects.

The continuing 3.5-mill permanent improvement (PI) levy, to be placed on the ballot in March, would generate $239,302 annually. Superintendent Steve Switzer said it would allow the school district to borrow against the revenue and complete exterior plans of its Phase II building project.

The PI levy, which had been under discussion for more than six months, was approved at a Board of Education meeting held Monday. It would complement a PI levy that increased to 3.5-mill in 2000 and was made continuing in 2010.

Switzer said the new levy is being proposed in response to community interest in completion of the outdoor plans. “The reaction has basically been, ‘It’s about time.’ The program was initiated basically because people see the need. We see it’s a good program and hope it will be supported,” he said.

A large portion of the revenue would be used for improvements to the school district’s outdoor sports venues located at the campus’s south fields. Improvements would include installation of concession stands and permanent restrooms, as well as additional seating and better access. The venues include three ball fields, a soccer field, a separate varsity baseball field, a varsity soccer field, and a track and field facility.

“We have excellent playing surfaces. It’s the support structures we don’t have,” Switzer said. “This would hopefully bring us up to where we’d like to be.”

The levy would also cover continued maintenance of the district’s buildings and facilities, the transfer of elementary school playground equipment to the south fields, and building an overhang to allow storage of school buses on campus. The buses are currently stored at nearby Specialized Inspection Group facilities for $200 monthly plus electricity.

BOE member John King said the main focus of the proposed levy is finishing up the outdoor projects, “but a critical element is allowing us to maintain what we have in a strong way.” He said because the school district hasn’t asked for money in 20 years, the levy is important to the usefulness and development of the school campus.

“We feel it’s an important piece of our ongoing education system,” King said.

Should the levy pass, Switzer hopes to see the outdoor projects begin next summer, with a tentative completion date at the end of 2020. He said the school district has held no public meetings about the levy but discussion has taken place.

“It’s an investment, both in the current and the future,” he said.

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.