Perkins students don't want cuts

Language arts students are fighting to keep their programs alive as voters ponder a tax levy on the May ballot.
Alissa Widman
Mar 4, 2013

Students at Perkins High School show support of the district's language classes, specifically the French classes that may be cut next year because of budget problems. The school board plans to announce a final list of cuts at a meeting Wednesday night.

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Click here for the e*Paper, get a Register at a newsstand near you for reporter Alissa Widman's story about the school board's list of potential cuts and options, or check back at sanduskyregister.com for updates as they happen. 
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Want to go?

What: Special Perkins school board meeting to discuss district cuts
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Perkins High School, room 805

 

Comments

Truth or Fiction

@ cowboy
Maybe what you wanted to state in German was; "Ja stimmen fur die Perkins Schulen!"

Truth or Fiction

Sorry bob - not my students but they may be paying for your retirement some day.

bobshumway92

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underthebridge

Here is the Letter to the Editor by Ralph Roshong who is a retired Superintendent of Schools from Perkins.

Perkins trying to build without voter approval

The Perkins School Board of Education is asking its voters to approve a 4.9 mill operating levy in the May primary election. The board is telling us this levy is needed due to the loss of state aid, reduced tax collections and increased costs. They are wrong.

Those three conditions may exist, but the actual reason they are requesting the support of the voters on this 4.9 mill issue is to replace the 5.2 mills of inside operating millage the board decided to change from operating to permanent improvement beginning in 2012. Of course, this step was taken so the board can construct a new $50 million school without the vote of the taxpayers.

However, the really serious impact of this move is that the school’s operating funds were reduced by $2.2 million in 2012 and another $2.2 million in 2013.

That is a little short of the $4.5 million in operating funds lost for the instruction of our students between last year and this year. It appears ironic that the board will solicit our vote for an operating levy to replace the inside millage operating funds they moved, but they will not give us a vote for a new $50 million school facility. It must also be assumed that in going forward with this building project, the building will potentially be sized to house a major portion of the 500-plus students of non-resident parents who do not pay property taxes in Perkins Township. Each of these students bring to the district $5,500 from the state, but it costs the district $9,500 each to educate them. Many areas in most buildings have become crowded, additional teachers have had to be hired, and many alterations have had to be made to accomodate these additional students from the open enrollment program.

All of the current four school buildings have been involved in three or four energy retrofit projects over the last 25 years through House Bill 294 projects and as a result, are in quite satisfactory condition. The 1907 area of the high school, the north end, is the only parcel in need of possible replacement.

In addition, the board is asking for renewal of a 2 mill permanent improvement levy originally passed about 1990, which generates about $700,000 per year. The district’s voters have passed/renewed this levy approximately five times with the understanding that the funds would be used to keep our four school buildings in top-notch repair. It appears the board recently assumed that keeping the buildings in top-notch condition is not the primary purpose of those funds and is using the permanent improvement funds on many other projects, most notably $1.7 million on a new stadium, making numerous alterations to the buildings to house the 500-plus non-resident open enrollment students, laptop computers for most students and staff, etc. If the board determined that additional funds were needed for these non-building maintenance projects, then additional funds should have been requested from the taxpayers for those purposes. The $700,000 collected yearly should have been used, as intended by the voters, for maintaining our four current school buildings, and possibly purchasing a few school buses.

It is apparent that the 5.2 former operating mills and the two long-time established permanent improvement mills are being combined to provide a 7.2 mill permanent improvement “building fund” for the board to expend as they wish on a $50 million project WITHOUT voter approval. Every Perkins School District voter must be aware of how the school board, the guardians of our school district’s funds, will be using those taxpayer provided funds, especially a $50 million building program, without our voted approval.

Ralph Roshong Perkins Township

bobshumway92

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Common Sense

Mr. Roshong came to Perkins as the superintendent in the mid 80's. Also, I believe he may be the author of a number of books involving school issues including a study of bond millage rates. Before coming to Perkins, he was the superintendent at Hillsdale Local Schools, but had his contract bought out by the board of education there.

bobshumway92

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bobshumway92

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Wald

Thank you, Mr. Roshong, for pointing out just how misguided Gunner and the BOE are. When both levies fail, and they will, Gunner and the BOE will have no one to blame but themselves.

Bearcat1819

What is cutting the French program going to do? The district is just going to have to hire more Spanish teachers. Also, what about the students who took French starting their Junior year?Most colleges require two years of the same foreign language. These students will basically be out of luck if the program gets cut next year.

nosey rosey

Who cares what the students think. When they are old enough to vote and understand what taxes are, then they can have an opinion. Did the parents of each child give their consent to have their photos posted on the internet or in a public document? I'd hazard a bet that some of their parents are still voting no.

Bearcat1819

Well, I hate to break it to you, but there are actually quite a few students who are old enough to vote. The only students that actually care about the levy are educated. If they weren't educated, they wouldn't waste their time reading about it. Though they don't have to pay for the tax raise, the student vote is important. The students have actually experienced the conditions within the schools. So, instead of bashing the students about not having to pay taxes, think about the information that the adults don't have.

bobshumway92

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Bearcat1819

I'm aware that the levy most likely will not pass. That isn't the point I'm trying to make. I just think that it's ignorant of people to ask, "Who cares what the students think?" They're the ones who are going to have to put up with the changes in the long run.

bobshumway92

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treemotan

I swear. A good majority of you all are making me lose faith in the human race. Going to go on a bit of a tangent here, pardon if it's a bit disjointed.

First of all, this shouldn't have anything to do with wherever you stand on the political spectrum. It has to do with what's best for the students, school system and in turn the community in the long term. People standing on the outside looking in or those that bury their heads in the sand and pretend it's not going to affect them somehow in the future may not see the importance of the programs the BOE is planning to eliminate should the levies not pass.

For one thing, those of you saying the teachers are putting the students up to this, no. That isn't the case. These aren't little middle schoolers and elementary school kids. These are young adults concerned for their futures and acting of their own volition for programs and organizations they know are important to them and have left a positive impact on their lives. The teachers had close to nothing to do with this at all. As I've previously stated, most colleges require two to three years of a single foreign language to even qualify for acceptance, and most Ivy League schools require four years. Cutting the program effectively hinders freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in some way, shape, or form in regards to pursuing a higher education; and I know for a fact that most if not all of the students pictured plan on doing so. This doesn't just apply to the foreign language programs, either; it applies to the music and arts programs as well. Colleges are looking for students skilled in many areas. Jobs are looking for employees skilled in many areas. I'm not saying personal attachment to these things ISN'T playing a role in where the students stand in this, but I guarantee they're thinking about their futures and the future of the district just as much.

And for the people that whine "I don't care" or "it doesn't affect me personally", well, it will affect you. Maybe not immediately, or even directly. Cutting these programs will no doubt end up driving the school system into the ground, and as a result it'll end up lowering the value of property in the district as a whole. The most prevalent argument I've seen in regards to this is that people don't plan on selling their homes, or that all it nets them is a tax decrease. While it's true you may not be planning on selling your home now, you have no idea what the future may bring. You can't say you'll never sell. Tax decreases result in cuts in funding and employment for state, federal, and district workers, which then results in more individuals on unemployment who are doing less spending, which then affects businesses, and the whole thing keeps going downhill in a vicious cycle. In the long run, it means LESS money for everyone.

For the record, I understand INTELLIGENT arguments opposing the levy (as few and far between as they are). However, the one thing I notice seems to be consistent with most opposition and even the support is disdain towards Gunner and the BOE. Frankly, I don't like them much myself, either. And personally, I think they should have left the new school off the levy for a couple of years until the outrage over the stadium cooled down and investing the tax dollars into operating costs. So, I understand where the animosity and lack of trust comes from. But here's the thing: yes or no, however you may vote, it's probably not going to eject Gunner from his position. So, like it or not, we're likely going to be stuck with him and the rest of the board until they step down of their own volition. I'm of the mindset that one should think with foresight and vote for what's best in the long run rather than basing their decisions on knee-jerk reactions and personal spite or disdain. All that voting "No" is going to do is put a little egg on Gunner and the BOE's face, but force hardworking and dedicated individuals actually competent at their jobs into unemployment and completely wreck the futures of 100+ students.

bobshumway92

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treemotan

No, because I'm not a teacher. I'm a student, free-thinker and a voter that is annoyed by the shortsightedness and pettiness of the voters in the district. I've been following and reading up on the whole levy business since I heard there would be cuts, primarily due to my heavy involvement in the school's band program. But this is mostly irrelevant, considering that now that I've mentioned this you'll probably just start saying a teacher put me up to it or something. Like you've been doing with every individual attempting to explain why they're voting for the levy.

I'm well aware that the levies will likely fail. I'm not a complete fool. And I am of the mind that Gunner and the current BOE are bumbling tools that can't set their priorities straight. I think they should've held off on building the new stadium. I think they should worry about making sure they have the money to run the district as is rather than concerning themselves with building this glamourous new building (though from my own experience as a student at PHS, I agree a new building will need to be built in the near future. Just not now). And I am of the belief that they are so caught up in their own business and ambitions that they've gotten completely out of touch with the community and voters.

However, voting no sheerly on that basis is, to me, rather pointless. As I said, whether people vote for or against the levies won't affect Gunner or the BOE one bit. The only thing it accomplishes is stifling the school district as a whole, and in turn the entire township. In other words, driving it more into the ground than it already was with no expense to the higher-ups. I don't like it, personally, but that's unfortunately the chokehold the Perkins School District is caught in.

Oh, and one more thing... I love how no one seems to understand how open enrollment actually works and why it's desirable. I myself am not open-enrollment, but the numbers people came up with intrigued me and I decided to do a little information spelunking on my own. Open enrollment, contrary to the belief, hasn't caused the district to lose money. Open enrollment actually helps schools MAKE money and doesn't cost (Perkins) taxpayers anything. The $4K isn't paid by Perkins township taxpayers- it comes from the district the student was previously attending. Each open enrollment student might add, say $1k to the school's operating cost. Still a profit. In other words, if not for open enrollment this school system would be even more in debt. In addition, the state tends to give more funding to schools with higher attendance.

All that said, I highly doubt those are the only reasons people are voting "no". Just a convenient excuse. Perkins township hasn't passed an operating levy since 2000, which was well before Gunner was superintendent. Which suggests to me something completely different about the voters in this township.

bobshumway92

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treemotan

No, I don't pay property taxes. But I will in the very near future. So I at the very least understand how they work, and have looked into their rates in our district and the surrounding districts as well. And I can understand why people would be frustrated with their money being handled irresponsibly, especially when you consider taxes as an investment of sorts. No one likes being cheated, and I am capable of understanding such sentiments. Though never once did I say the levies would fix everything; you're putting words in my mouth. It will probably fix some things, or at the very least stabilise them until a better solution arises. Though really, none of this would be an issue if it weren't for Kasich.

And again, the fact that no operating levies have been passed since 2000 seems to indicate that the board isn't the only problem here.

Perkins2060

Kasich? Lol the state is broke! The gravy train days are over. You will understand when you get older. Hang in there kid.

treemotan

Ah, whoops. Did it again. Got ahead of myself and moved on before I finished transposing my thoughts. My bad.

Let me redact and rephrase that: Kasich cutting down funding to schools likely made this matter far worse than they would be otherwise. Which I find a shame, because as cliché as it sounds the future lies in the hands of the nation's youth and a strong education is needed to set them on course. So, I feel it's something important to invest in. Doesn't help that the way Ohio funds schools was deemed unconstitutional years ago and nothing was done to fix it... and now that's coming back to bite.

bobshumway92

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treemotan

$9500 is the national average. It costs the district far less than that to educate them; Perkins is actually extremely cheap when it comes to tuition expenses for both normal and open enrollment students. The district gets the student fees, plus a nice bonus $5732 from the parent district.

Perkins2060

The national average is $7742 and Perkins is $9500.

treemotan

I'll have to check the numbers again a bit later. If I'm wrong, I'll at least suck it up and admit it. I'm going to do some cross-referencing first. The main point is that the $5732 isn't all that they make for taking in the student. Schools, in general, wouldn't do the whole open enrollment thing if it didn't net them extra capital.

Perkins2060

Hey lowbrass, good to see you back. But why the name change?

treemotan

I'm not lowbrass, I'm a woodwind. Lame joke aside, you've got your people slightly mixed up.

bobshumway92

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eriemom

I don't think that I have ever read a post that said, "Yea! We got to vote for a school levy." It is my opinion that we are about to see an entire school district implode. Sandusky, here we come.

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