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Pettisville School Board Freezes Employee Pay



The Pettisville School Board voted to grant no pay hikes to school district employees for one year at their Monday night, July 12 meeting.

The decision came after an executive session, held during the meeting.

The no-raise decision includes Steve Switzer, district superintendent.

The board approved a new five-year contract for Switzer during the meeting, which includes a one-year freeze in pay.

Pettisville’s teachers will receive their step increases for years of service, as per their April agreement with the school board.

Dan Bruner, Pettisville School Board member, said the board was taking the action “to be proactive, because we’re unsure of our income for the next year to two years.”

If property values in the school district decline as a result of next year’s property value update, school district revenue could fall.

Also, there is the question of state support of schools.

“We’re always unsure of state support from year to year. With the state in the situation it’s in, we’re going to try our best to make sure we don’t overspend,” Bruner said.

“We want, to the best of our ability, to keep financially solvent.”

Bruner said the school district has a good staff, who understands why they must take the actions they’ve taken.

“They all understand the need to work together.

“This was done with the knowledge of the staff and administration. This was not something we desired to do, but there is a need to it,” he said.

District bus drivers and cafeteria workers will receive one extra day of pay, to account for an extra day they will work under the 2010-11 school calendar.

New Teacher

The board approved the hiring of Jason Mansfield to fill the open elementary teacher position. Mansfield will teach fifth and sixth grade math.

A graduate of Bluffton University and Wauseon High School, he taught for the past three years at Ottawa Glandorf Elementary School.

He fills the position created by the retirement of Mary Lou Beck, a longtime Pettisville teacher.

The board also approved an increase in lunch prices for the coming school year. Prices were increased 20 cents for student lunches, and 40 cents for adult lunches. Milk prices were increased by five cents.

An elementary lunch will now cost $2.15; a high school lunch, $2.30; and an adult lunch, $3. A half-pint container of milk will cost 45 cents. Breakfast prices remain unchanged at $1.25.

Construction

Much of the board meeting was spent on items relating to the new school building project.

The board approved requesting zoning variances from the Clinton Township Rural Board of Zoning Appeals for several items related to the project.

The board also reviewed information on the capital drive currently underway by the Pettisville School Foundation. The Foundation is raising funds to construct an atrium to join the new school facility with the remaining portion of the old building.

The foundation’s goal is to raise $500,000. There are commitments for $310,000.

The group will continue to seek donations and pledges for the project.

Switzer said the wind turbine project continues to show progress.

The district formally accepted grants totaling $825,000 toward the project from the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as economic stimulus funds.

Other grants are providing $325,000 to the project.

Sidewalks

In a matter indirectly related to the building project, the board reviewed plans with the community sidewalk committee.

The committee plans to build several new sidewalks in the Pettisville area.

Money for the sidewalks will come from a government grant program called Safe Routes to Schools.

A committee made up of Dean Genter, Larry Neuenschwander, Steve Brown, Joe Rychener, Randy Ruffer, and Switzer met and reviewed recommended sidewalk locations.

The committee requested that the school board review the recommendations and make suggestions.

The board agreed to make recommendations about sidewalks on school property, but decided not to express an opinion about the placement of sidewalks that would affect surrounding properties.–D.J. Neuenschwander



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