VIDEO: Perkins school board takes heat on cuts

About 200 district residents turned out Wednesday to weigh in on the difficult choices ahead if tax levies fail.
Andy Ouriel
Mar 7, 2013

Click the video play button down screen center to watch last night's meeting. Click here to see a photo gallery.

The school board will be forced to slash up to $12 million more from the district's budget over the next five years without voter approval.

The fate of the district's 2-mil, five-year permanent improvement renewal levy and its 10-year, 4.98-mill new emergency operating levy on the May ballot will chart the course. 

The board already axed about $2.6 million by cutting teaching jobs and other positions. The next round could include slashes to athletics, foreign language programs and full-day kindergarten classes. 

One resident said the board and district superintendent Jim Gunner had not been straight with residents, a suggestion both Gunner and school board president Matt Kosior refuted.

“If you come up with a better plan or a chapter plan, let’s see it. Don’t accuse anyone up here of doing anything underhanded. That is not the case.”

The board shares many of the same frustrations residents do, Gunner said, but has kept its focus on the No. 1 priority.

“We are going to make the decisions that are right for the kids, and sometimes those are controversial,” Gunner said.

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Click here for the e*Paper or get a Register at a newsstand near you for a table on contents on potential cuts and a deeper look at the school budget. 
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Comments

cockynurse

Interesting. Certainly there was more to the meeting than the 15 minutes posted. Sounds like that teacher knows where some cuts are going to be taken. Looks like there are some difficult decisions ahead.

Cowboy

Does Gunner live in Perkins yet? Didn't he say 2 years ago that his family would move to Perkins?

LifeIsCrazy

Let me just say - as a resident of Perkins - I do NOT see the need for a new high school. If they took the funds back out of the new school fund and put them into keeping the extracurriculars and teachers, there wouldn't be an issue. And if they really think that people are going to vote in their FLUKE of a "emergency operating levy", they're insane.

I'm Done

It was stated in a previous board meeting that if both levies failed, they would move funds back. As of last night they refuse too. Gunner stated to even fix the aspestos I the building would cost around $4,000,000 and he doesn't have that kind of money but I guess we have the funds for a new school.

Mum-of-One

Mr. Kuiesza wants all the open enrolled students to be sent "back" because he does not want to pay for "them". Small minded bigotry at it's best.

A "bigot" is a person who has unreasonable biases against a particular group or people, or against almost all identifiable groups. Truly bigoted people tend to hate all religious groups, races, political groups and in this case other school districts. The exceptions, of course, are any of those groups in which the person himself is a member.

bobshumway92

He is no bigot! We LOSE money on every open enrolled student from outside the district! We lose $4k per student! That's over $2m per year! SEND THEM BACK! VOTE NO!

bobshumway92

Name calling, classy. I guess a person is a bigot because they don't want to pay for kids from other districts. Mum of One is a bigot.

Brick Hamland

telling someone they are real classy for calling someone else names, then calling them the same name... classic

Cowboy

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Mum-of-One

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Cowboy

I'm not going to revert to name calling but I will say, he was shut down before he could present all the facts. And please quit calling him a bigot!

bobshumway92

STOP OPEN ENROLLMENT NOW!

Cowboy

VOTE NO!

Cowboy

The real question is, what gave the BOE the right to move millions of dollars from the operating fund in the first place to pay up the gap in the stadium budget? They should have gone door to door and begged for the money instead of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Now there is a gap in the operating funds that is much harder to fill and teachers will lose their jobs! Nice job BOE!

Gardenman

As i remember when Gunner was hired a few years ago from Bryan school superintendent job he was only at Perkins a few days and he wamted to resign and take the superintendent job at Oregon Clay close to Toledo. It has been where he grew up and he wanted to return as their school leader. Perkins Board had a private pow wow with him and he decided to stay at Perkins.

I don't think he will be around long if these levies even do pass. He saw a while back their were greener pastures in other locations.

I'm Done

Gunner stated he wants 2 more years.

bobshumway92

Copied from the other thread:

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

Cowboy

You hit the nail right on the head! So let's show them that they can't get away with this and VOTE NO!

samiam

As I remember it, the voters did get to vote on a new building...TWICE...and both times they voted NO! But that's not what Gunner and the BOE wanted to hear. So they thumb their noses at the voters and move inside millage. Legal, perhaps; ethical, not by a long shot. I vote NO!

The New World Czar

For some odd reason, the words "Academy" and "STEM" have been common-place language since Mr. Gunner's appointment. Let's be real ladies and gentlemen, if we were in a big metro area we could consider these concepts. But we're not; we're in a county of 80,000 people and this district ranks second to last as is per the latest state standards- notably dropping since the expansion of open enrollment.

Calling the gentleman a "bigot" for rightfully echoing the sentiments of many in the district is at best childish. Open enrollment isn't just hurting Perkins, it is also hurting the sending districts.

bobshumway92

Gunner has no clue. He has to go.

goodtime1212

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights) and Personal information.

Tool Box

Hey Gunner, move to Perkins or MOVE ON!

Imataloss

Really, we are still complaining about open enrollment? It's kept this school afloat! About Gunner not living in the district? Who cares?

This levy is about a foundation for the future of our community. Get over your issues with Gunner and think about how this will strengthen our education system, strengthen our property values and strengthen the core of Perkins.

Get over the personal stuff and think about the big picture people!

bobshumway92

We LOSE money on every open enrollment kid! What don't you get???

Imataloss

Really, who is giving you that info? Ralph Roshong? Perkins does NOT lose money on open enrollment kids and in, fact, it's the only reason the board has not had to put a levy on the ballot in years past is BECAUSE of open enrollment.

What's wrong with open enrollment anyways? All the open enrollment kids I know are good kids with involved parents. They are an asset to the school.

smeltz

Really? What don't you get? We are going to pay that teachers same salary whether we have just 20 district students in the classroom or 25 students w/ open enrollment. I am not a huge fan of Mr Gunner or what the school board has done, but I do believe that open enrollment is part of the reason they haven't had to ask for new money in 13 years.

Lets start thinking about the students...no one mentions them...no one talks about how the students are going to be effected. They can't vote...they have no say in what Mr Gunner and board do, but they are the ones that suffer. Its time that we put them first!

If you want paybacks...pass the levy and then election after election vote the entire board out! Its simple...punish those that made the decisions not the children!!!

Imataloss

Amen Smeltz!

I'm Done

Adding 1 child to a family changes the whole dynamics of the family, think about it. Add 5 kids to a classroom might sound efficient but that's more behavior, less teacher time per student and students lose out on the benefits of a smaller classroom. I feel the residents of Perkins would have supported this district if given the opportunity to decide the direction of the district. The boards decisions do not reflect the views of the residents therefore hurting the district.

LawrenceD

Tell me how we lose $ with open open enrollment, please! Are drinking Ralph's Kool-aid? or getting his sound financial wisdom he used when the Sup at Perkins and his many levies. I attended my first board meeting in over 20 years Wed and thought the info was fair and complete. After some thought in challenging times my family is voting Yes and that over 20 Yes votes. To another reader, please give me some information how consolidation of schools save taxpayer money. A lot of bad and inaccurate info being spread by NO voters. Shame on you for using this forum to spread distortions and at time completely false information.

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