On Dec. 17, the Pickerington Board of Education approved placing a 7.9 mill operating levy on the March 4 ballot.
The district currently depends on the levy for more than $7 million, which accounts for approximately 12 percent of its funding.
If voters support the levy, there will be no new taxes. The residents of the district would continue paying the same annual rate, which equates to $242 per year on a $100,000 home.
The levy would be a "continuing renewal levy" meaning that it will never return to the ballot if approved. Levies cover operating expenses such as staff, heating and books, as opposed to bond issues which must be used for facilities only.
As part of the "Contract with the Community," Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia promises that the district will maintain a high level of quality and remain off the ballot for five years if the voters approve the levy.
North and Central
Despite having a newer facility, Pickerington North’s football team has not performed as well as Pickerington Central’s of late.
Some Panther players would like to transfer schools to become Tigers because it is believed Central stands a better shot of making the playoffs. There may also be some Central athletes who would rather play their sport at North.
According to the state of Ohio, students may attend a school within their district other than the one they are regularly assigned, however, the board ruled that transferring for athletic reasons is not acceptable.
Per the latest revision of the district’s open enrollment policy, any student athlete in grades 7-12 who transfers schools will be deemed ineligible for one calendar year. The previous version of the policy restricted high school transfers only, the new version includes Ridgeview and Lakeview junior highs.
Pickerington parent Hope Boren spoke to the board in protest of the restrictions, which she said negatively impacted her family.
"Our oldest son is presently enjoying a successful college career playing Big Ten football," Boren said. "He was a freshman when we were one school and played for a very talented and exciting regional runner up Tiger football team. He would have given anything to stay at Central and continue playing there, but the rules wouldn’t allow it and he played his remaining three years at North. He rarely speaks about his high school days, because there are no memories to cherish and no coach to keep in contact with."
Boren’s oldest son Justin Boren is an offensive lineman for the University of Michigan.
"Why are you targeting only athletes?" Boren asked. "Why would there not be penalties for students in theater, "In the Know" and more? The only reason you are even bringing this issue to the table is because of football. You are ignoring the educational, social and family factors that should be considered first and foremost, to try and balance football programs."