Perkins schools to cut teachers, staff

The Perkins school board is set to trim at least $12 million from its five-year budget in two rounds of staff cuts and programming reductions.
Alissa Widman Neese
Feb 20, 2013

The first round, unveiled Monday, will be permanent.

The second round can be reversed, but only if voters approve a May emergency operating levy, superintendent Jim Gunner said.

To watch videos from the Monday meeting, click HERE and HERE.

For more on the plans, pick up a copy of Wednesday's Register. See the proposed cuts below.

Perkins Schools positions cut on March 13, regardless of levies in May     
Furry Elementary School: $250,000
•Two teachers
•One of three Little Pirates units
•Paraprofessionals for Little Pirates

Meadowlawn Elementary School: $150,000
•One-and-a-half teachers
•Reduction in office aid hours
Briar Middle School: $600,000
•Eight-and-a-half teachers (one in 2014, one in 2015)

Perkins High School: $550,000 to $600,000
•Five teachers
•One secretary
•Several paraprofessionals
•Possible reductions in business, family consumer science, physical education and health departments
District Office: $1 million
•One communications director in 2015
•One students services software
•One-and-a-half secretaries
•One-half school psychologist
•Busing for junior high and high school students living within a mile of campus in 2015

Other areas for possible cuts if May levies fail (minimum $600,000 in cuts needed for 2013-14 school year)
•All Little Pirates units
•Switch from full-day to half-day kindergarten
•Elementary gifted program
•Elementary and middle school guidance counselors
•Elementary and middle school art, physical education and music teachers
•All middle school foreign language programs, teaming, athletics and extracurriculars
•All high school non-essential staff members, athletics, busing and extracurriculars
•High school athletic director and athletic secretary
•High school French and Mandarin Chinese classes

Want to go?
What: Special Perkins school board meeting to discuss district cuts
When: 7:30 p.m. March 6
Where: Perkins High School, Room 805




Didn't you for see a problem with the school funding part of the new athletic complex prior to building a new school. If it was built with all donations there would be no issue now.

If the school board would have put the building of the school up to a vote by the general public there would be no issue now.

If money was not taken from operating expenses for the new building the new operating levy proposed would be smaller and might obtain approved.

The gentlemen in charge have made some serious miscalculations of the general public or they don't care about the public's value of what's needed. That part scares me as an American citizen.

Common Sense

No, I don't see a problem with the school funding a part of the new athletic complex prior to building a new school. The portion of the new athletic complex that was funded by the school board was the dollar amount that the Perkins community would have spent to make it safe. The rest of the mone was raised by both Booster clubs and through donations. This athletic complex now makes Perkins eleigible to host larger sporting events for the state (both in football and track). The additional revenue will be a welcome asset.
Back in 2010, there was a financing deal available to Perkins which allowed us to borrow money without interest. The vote went down to defeat for a variety of reasons (anxiety and "the fountain" was the reason some voters gave).
Money was taken from the operating expenses for the new building because of the need. I know that many of you are all for a quick fix to the building, but let me guess...if yoiur car breaks down over and over, you'll get a new one. There may even be items in your home that have not been remodeled or updated because there is always something else that needs the $$ more. Unlike education, you're not relying on me to pass a levy while the state government decides what amount of state funding you will receive.
As for miscalculations of the general public, my question is just how long and just how much are you willing to risk if yor community's schools no longer have the curriculum appeal to bring in additional tax dollars through growth, both industrial and residential? That should be your fear.



First, I appreciate your discussion on the issues. But you didn't answer my questions.

You didn't see a possible conflict with voters when at least a million dollars was spent for an athletic facility with a school in direr straights. It was as plain as day to me. By the way, the money was used for a retaining pond and land preparation for the upcoming academy not safety.

Do you believe the new academy should be built without a public vote?

You don't like the state government making decisions about funding without your input. That's exactly what is happening here with the new school. The BOE and superintendent have decided to build a school without a public vote. Why are you upset with the state but not with the your local officials? I personally don't want the state or local officials making decisions with my money without my vote.

I'm willing to let my community decide the fate of our schools with vote. The majority wins and I will abide. My fear is local bureaucrats feel they can tax the community without a vote. The state and federal governments already use this unAmerican process and now local officials believe they know more the citizens. God help us.


I am an outsider, but it seems to me(from things I've read) that Gunner and the BOE are more concerned with the "look" than they are the students! It is sad because it will be the students who suffer! But this is the day in age we live in...we want what we want and we want it now! If the school buildings are this bad now...they were bad back when the fancy stadium was built. These business' that donated for the stadium, would they have donated for a safer school? Why wasn't that put on the table? We can't always get what we want! Sometimes you have to give a little! But I do think that a safer school should've been the top priority over the stadium! Just my opinion.


I was wondering, does Mr. Gunner live in Perkins?


No Gunner lives (if I remember correctly) somewhere up around the Toledo area. So he could care less how high our taxes go. I don't understand why he is not told to live in the district or look for work in another area.



Where do I fit in? I'm not against all taxes or for all taxes. I support education but not blindly. I support public participation through vote on large expenditure like a $50 million dollar school.

Natti Light

Since I'm just a greedy union thug(and not employed at Perkins), perhaps you could answer a few questions:

1. Since when did it become a crime to have a good salary and benefits? Just because you chose a career path that doesn't offer those things, doesn't mean I should have to pay for it with my salary and benefits. If you want us all on equal footing, I have another idea you might like...socialism. That's not how America works though.....but it's interesting that the same people asking teachers to take cuts so we can share the pain are the same ones who turn around and call Obama a socialist.

2. Why is it now my responsibility to pay for the education of your students? Don't like the way they are run? Then send them to private schools. Or home school them. Or, pay your taxes and contribute to society like someone did for you.

3. Go ahead. Keep comparing our education system to China. Give schools in America the right to kick out the "dumb" kids, separate those who can and can't, and beat kids senseless when they don't learn. Then you can compare us to China.

4. Many of you state that you can't afford one more cent in taxes. Fair enough. But I also bet that most of you are using high speed internet through Buckeye Cable or Time Warner at home...that's $40-50 bucks a month so you can come on here and bash educators. Hope that investment is paying off.

5. NO ONE was complaining about teacher salaries when the markets were roaring and day traders and CEO's were raking it in hand over fist. The economy tanks, and suddenly, we are overpaid thugs. Life is a gamble....the economy will rebound and we will be right back to square one. If you honestly think that teachers have it made, I'm offering a serious invitation. Contact me and I will let you come and shadow me for 4 weeks on the job. Everything I do, you will do right with me. Then, at the end of the month, we'll have an intelligent conversation about what it is a teacher does. If you're not willing to do that, then shut your mouth until you know what you are actually talking about. Listening to Rush Limbaugh 2 hours a day does not make you intelligent or worth listening to.


Amen. I couldn't agree with you more.

1. I too must have been absent on the day when people came to school and put a gun to my head to make me choose a career path.

2. Too many people forget the fact that people helped us along the way and paid appropriate taxes to help the community flourish. The term "community" is a joke in modern American society. There's no such thing.

3. People only use the communist angle on China when it benefits their argument. When we compare schools, it is all apples to apples. It is one of the most ignorant arguments that can be made.

4. We live in a society of instant gratification. Many people are too short-sighted to see the benefits of building a strong community.

5. Keep up the good work. There are reasonable people out there who appreciate the time you put in with our kids and value the impact you have on them daily. Thank you. I will always do my part to help make my community strong.


Great comments! People are the first to bash teachers! Teaching is not a 8/3 job! Teachers arrive early and work late, for who? The students and communities! Think of the people who have made a difference in kids lives! As stated follow a teacher for a week!! See with what they deal with! They are a teacher, nurse, guidance counselor, etc! I am not saying other jobs aren't like this, but come on!


Agreed... I wonder if all of these negative commenters can honestly say that they have never had an extracurricular activity or an educator that has made a lasting, positive impression on their lives. Now that they're done with school, they don't seem to care that these students may not get the same opportunities as they did (and obviously take for granted).

Vote yes!!


Dont forget we saw how much they cared when they went out on strike a few years ago. Stood in the picket line and cursed some pretty nasty adult words to the replacement teachers only a few feet from grade schoolers, or yeled incouraging words to the high school kids to climb out the windows during the school day to join them on the line. Yep, they sure do care alot as long as they get there way.

Truth or Fiction

I am glad that you pay your taxes. What is your solution to the educational financing problem? How would you fund education in Ohio? Who do you see need to bare the responsibility of educating the youth of our community?



It's doesn't matter if the money comes from the federal, state or local's still my money. Correct?

I personally believe the responsibility should be local. So how about we don't pay some of our federal and state taxes and keep the money local to fund schools. I believe each community should decide how much money they wish to fund education. I don't believe in redistribution of wealth. Perkins money goes to Perkins kids. Sandusky money goes to Sandusky kids. It's not my responsibility to fund education for the country. I will take care of my community.

Now with that said, I believe it's the community's decision if they want to fund a new school. If the community doesn't believe it is necessary than no school is built. I believe the local bureaucrats have overstepped their responsibility and that is a scary situation. I am totally against a government entity (school) taking away my right to vote and decide what is best for my community.

Are you for or against government taking away personal responsibility?


Undoubtedly, school financing is an issue. But priorities are also an issue. When is the BOE going to look at cost for the laptops? I'm not against technology, but I question if the laptops are producing the results for the money. Other districts in the area perform better on the Ohio Department of Education District Report Card and they do not spend this amount of money on laptops. In Perkins, every 3 years, the lease for the laptops is renewed at a cost of over $2 million dollars. $2 million when they were first leased in 2009 and then last year another $2.7 million to replace them. These are funds from capital improvements; funds that could have been used for maintenance. I am not saying that they should eliminate them completely, but perhaps the program should be for the 9 - 12 grades and not 6 - 12 grades. Perhaps the length of the lease should be examined. I don't know of corporations that exchange their computers this frequently. Everything should be eligible for evaluation: even the laptop program.


From what I understand all this is being looked into! Like not making laptop exchanges every three years, but longer!


It should be, but I will believe it when I see it. The laptop program is Gunner's baby. It has not produced results for the HUGE expenditure of funds. Lease length should be examined, as well as limiting the program to the high school students.


It is all areas are being looked at! I for one and in favor of technology it prepares students for the real world!


It may. It may not. Technology is promoted as a tool for student engagement in education. The problem is that engagement does not necessarily equal achievement. The educational research is very mixed on this. In Perkins, the results of this program are questionable especially when you compare other area school districts that do not have the 1 to 1 laptop program with Perkins. Today's generation of students have grown up with technology. They are immersed in technology already. I'm not sure that it is a wise expenditure of funds for the schools to provide every student with a laptop with the idea that if we don't -- they won't be exposed to technology. Especially, if it doesn't enhance the achievement scores.


I can provide information on the value of the laptops from my personal experience. This can't serve as a blanket statement for every single classroom, but I have personally witnessed a great impact on my own students in middle school.

I have been an educator for over a decade. The laptops have given highly-motivated students access to supplemental programs in my classroom that have increased performance over the past four years. Programs, such as Study Island, offer students extra exposure to state standards and content. As we work our way through the curriculum as a group, students are able to use the software as a supplement to practice and move through the entire curriculum at their own pace as well. They are able to use this extra practice to stay sharp on skill-based exercises. As an educator, I also have access to statistical data that can be used to find student weakenesses. I can target standards, topics, and even types of questions that cause my students to struggle. Using this data, I can target my instruction in a more productive way.

Since the inclusion of the laptops, I have had nearly 400 students. Only two have not scored above proficient on the achievement test in this time, and nearly 70% have scored in the accelerated/advanced range. Also, when looking at the data, I realized that the two "below-proficient" students did not utilize the supplemental programs at an appropriate level. It must be emphasized that state test scores are only one indication of success for student achievement. The laptops have also opened up great opportunites for research and the sharing of ideas in my classroom.

I am not saying that the laptops are the only reason for this success, but I must emphasize that they were a very important piece of the puzzle. There is no question that they have been beneficial for students from my personal experience.



What do you mean by results? You mean student results, correct?


Yes. The ODE evaluates each school district based largely on their scores on the OAA. Since Gunner has been here, the results have not been above effective. Other districts in the area have had Excellent and Excellent with Distinction and those districts do not have a laptop program. I do not believe the expenditure of funds is producing results.


Thanks for the input and for your work with the students. I am not against them completely, but I do wonder about having them at the middle school level and about the length of the lease. We were also told that the laptops could be purchased by graduating seniors. Does anyone know if that happened and what revenue it provided?



Ok, the school spend $2 million dollars on computers. As a teacher would you rather have the money for computers or teachers? I know you want both but that's not going to happen. The superintendent picked computers and teachers will lose jobs. So, what's your choice?

Now, the BOE and superintendent chose a school building over teachers. Again, you can't have both, what do you want?


The question you have posed is obviously difficult. Quality teachers, appriopriate teacher to student ratios, computers, and a new school are all of benefit to our students. My point of view is that we have an opportunity to give our kids as much as possible by passing this levy. It is a fact that our community's tax rate (21.6 mils)is far below the average tax rate of schools in Ohio (35 mils). I honestly do not mean this as a slam against our community. In my time here, I have witnessed this community to be supportive and strong, especially during difficult times. I wouldn't want to raise my children anywhere else. It has been thirteen years since there has been an increase in funding for Perkins, and Governer Kasich has done all he can to strip away the funding we already have.

I understand that people all have different opinions about the school, laptops, and teacher layoffs. As taxpayers, everyone is entitled to have those opinions.

My personal feeling is that all of the things on the table regarding this levy will directly benefit our students and strengthen our community. Even if people believe that there are ulterior motives behind these moves by others, there is no argument that the students will see direct and positive results. The students will gain more individual attention in class, more access to modern technology, and have a better environment for learning. In gaining this, we will still be paying far below the average tax rate in Ohio for schools, and it is only a ten year levy.

This is my best explanation for what my choice would be. Obviously, it is my own opinion and I am directly involved. I'm proud to live and teach in Perkins. I actually bought my house here when I was teaching in a different district, because I wanted my children to go to Perkins Local Schools when they became old enough. I honestly believe it's worth the investment in the long run.


"It is a fact that our community's tax rate (21.6 mils)is far below the average tax rate of schools in Ohio (35 mils)."
"One mill = an annual tax of $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed property value."

The solution might be to raise the property values to get more money for the schools.


"It is a fact that our community's tax rate (21.6 mils)"

Where is the school's online information to back up your comments?
Where is the school's online financial information for the community?
Are there any pdf files?


BUT they have a beautiful new Football stadium!!! I mean who needs teachers and other school activities when you have a shiny new stadium?? Teachers are losing their jobs and the school itself is falling down, maybe they can have classes in the stadium.....maybe they could dome the stadium and just let the school cave in...



Again, like most of my questions to educators, no one can give me a straight answer to simple questions. In life most people have to make tough decisions. The rest of us who are not educators are very interested in your choices. I would chose teachers over computers and a building. That's where I stand. How about you. You have two questions and only two answers to chose from for each.

Computers or teachers?
Building or teachers?


What's wrong with having both when our taxes are not even high compared to others?