Bettsville seeks renewal levy

Bettsville Local School District will be seeking renewal of a 1 percent income tax on the May ballot, to aid in maintaining current operating expenses.

The tax would generate $220,000 annually. For an individual making $25,000 a year, it would cost $250 per year or 68 cents per day.

“It will cost as much as a cup of coffee,” Superintendent Gregg Pettit said. “We are just asking the community to give up a few coins.”

The current tax expires Dec. 31.

The board sought the renewal in last November’s election.

“This tax is very important,” Pettit said. “We were disappointed during the last election, but it was pretty rough times with the economy. We are more confident now and our community is very supportive. We are also doing a better job educating the public on the importance of our school and community. It is important for all of us to come together to support our kids,” he said.

The district has made significant cuts over the last few years, he said.

Pettit said he has a part-time contract and the district is at a bare minimum on personnel.

“We have cut all that we can cut,” he said.

The district has made sure academics have not suffered, Pettit said.

“I am very impressed at the creative ways the district has strived toward offering the best educational opportunities possible for our students,” Pettit said.

For next year, the district is looking into offering dual enrollment opportunities through the local colleges and universities. The district has an 8 to 1 student, teacher ratio.

“A smaller school district certainly has its pluses and advantages,” Pettit said. “We want to offer a positive learning environment with the best technology through computer labs and upgraded course work.”

For example, in a smaller district students have the opportunity to play sports and the district does not have a pay-to-play policy, he said.

“If parents are disappointed that their kids are sitting on the bench, bring them to Bettsville,” Pettit said.

The district is also looking into finding corporate sponsors to become a fee-free school.

If the tax does not pass in May, the district will have to go back to the drawing board, Pettit said.

“Bettsville has good things here,” Pettit said. “We want to provide our kids with the best educational climate. It is the cornerstone of the town and we certainly don’t want to lose that tradition or the opportunities that families have here. I am positive about the community coming through; it is a very small price to pay to support the students.”