Pettisville Local Schools are in need of updated textbooks, a new bus, and current technology, and are asking voters to foot the bill.
The school district will place a five-year 2.5-mill permanent improvement levy on the Nov. 6 ballot following a four-month evaluation by the district’s staff and administrators to determine needs for building curriculum, additional buses, facility needs, and technology.
The proposed levy would generate $160,671 annually.
The district’s evaluation was capped by a report from Garmann Miller & Associates, a Minster, Ohio, architectural firm, in a summary to Board of Education members. The study found that many of the 30-plus classrooms in the school complex need new technology to replace decade-old equipment that is failing and can’t be repaired.
Interim Superintendent Ken Boyer said previously the majority of equipment failure revolves around classroom whiteboards, projectors, and speakers that are original to the building’s opening. He said the study was conducted as a guide to the school district’s short- and long-term planning to replace the faulty equipment, some provided by companies that have since gone out of business.
Included on the proposed levy’s list of priorities is a new school bus, purchasing updated classroom technology through the One-to-One Computer Initiative, and replacing aging textbooks – specifically in math and science – to reflect current technology.
The levy would also handle parking lot issues regarding retaining walls. “The building’s 10 years old, and some things just need some repair,” Boyer said. Pettisville’s new permanent superintendent, Josh Clark, will assume the office Aug. 1.
But Boyer said the school district would use the levy to immediately tackle updates in curriculum and technology.
“The cost of that is pretty expensive,” he said. “You’re talking $50,000 to $70,000 to replace math or history textbooks. It’s a continual update thing, and it’s a lot more expensive than it ever used to be.
The school district held a public meeting to present to the proposed levy, and school administrators came away encouraged by the public support. “We got a lot of positive feedback on that,” Boyer said.
The district’s last proposed permanent improvement levy, meant to upgrade the district’s athletic fields and bus storage was soundly defeated in 2020. Boyer said the currently-proposed permanent operation levy does not include construction of facilities but rather – with the exception of parking lot repairs and a new bus – concentrates on the students and classrooms.
“This is all facility and curriculum, student-centered issues,” he said.
School Board President Brent Hoylman said it’s “vitally important to keep all items up to date.” He said the school would purchase textbooks and digital platforms would be added to the curriculum. “And therefore, we have to have up to date technology in order to handle that.”
Should the proposed levy fail, Pettisville school administrators will retrace their steps and reevaluate their needs, Boyer said. He said it’s too soon to know whether the levy would return on a future ballot.
“These things are just needed to provide the quality education people of the Pettisville community are used to. Yeah, it would be disappointing,” Boyer said. “But we feel good about it. We hope the community will respond positively.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.