Baseball/Softball Complex, Tax Levy Resolution Highlight Swanton BOE Meeting

At the July meeting of the Swanton Board of Education (BOE), Superintendent Chris Lake informed the members of an initiative to bring the district’s baseball and softball facilities up to date by constructing new fields on school property.  Mr. Lake’s statement, taken directly from the meeting minutes, is as follows:

I want to take a moment to highlight a steering committee that I have put together for the purposes of building a varsity baseball and softball field on the campus of Swanton High School. For as long as anyone can remember the varsity baseball and softball teams have played their home games at Memorial Park, but it has long been the dream of many people associated with those programs to see these games be played on school owned facilities. The Swanton Local School District is very appreciative of the partnership we have with the Village of Swanton that allows our athletes to play on these village owned fields, but we recognize that there are difficulties in playing on fields that we do not own.

The committee which consists of Becky O’Shea (SMS teacher), Amy Remer (Swanton resident), Josh Siewert (SHS head baseball coach), Wade Haselman (Athletic Director) and I have been working together to draft a fundraising letter and to create a fundraising presentation to share with area businesses. Our goal is to spread the message about this project and to seek to raise money to help the school district with the cost of this project. Over the course of the last several months we have been seeking estimates on the cost of this project and based on the information we have the district will need around $1 million dollars to install playable game fields at the high school. To add a press box, bathrooms, field lights and other upgrades would cost additional money. For the time being, our goal for phase one is to raise the funds that will help us to install playable game fields so that our students will have a true home field to play on. 

In the fundraising letters that were sent out to local businesses and alumni, the committee has developed several support levels that will allow donors a wide variety of options. The committee is in the process of finalizing our fundraising presentation, and we would love the opportunity to make a pitch to areas business that might be interested in supporting this project. The committee is also brainstorming other fundraising ideas to help us meet our goals. Any money donated to the softball and baseball field projects will be held in a special cost center devoted entirely to this project. We recognize that this project will not happen overnight, but we are dedicated to making the progress necessary to bringing this to fruition. 

If anyone is interested in joining our efforts to help raise funds for this worthwhile project, I encourage them to reach out to one of the committee members listed above. 

The Board also passed a resolution to place a Substitute Levy for an existing levy on the November 2, 2021 ballot.  The Substitute Levy is a renewal of the $825,000 Emergency Levy that will capture new revenue on new homes and businesses built in the Swanton Local School District.  With the Substitute Levy, homeowners will still get the 12.5% owner-occupied discount on their real estate taxes.  For the first year of levy, the same amount of taxes ($825,000) will be collected for the School District.  This levy is for five years and will run from 2022 to 2026.

The final year of a three-year contract for Leigh Pancoast, Middle School Assistant Principal, was rescinded by the BOE and a new five-year contract for Ms. Pancoast, effective August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2026 was approved.

The next meeting will take place on August 18, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. in the BOE Offices at 108 North Main Street.

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