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

smeltz

The children are suffering, because the cuts will effect the quality of their education. We are/were planning on sending our son to Little Pirates next year, but with these cuts, not only will he not get the benefits of the Little Pirates program, but he will also lose out on having all day Kindergarten. If they levy doesn't pass things like music, art and gym will no longer be offered at Furry & Meadowlawn. That doesn't effect you, that doesn't effect the BOE...that effects and punishes the students.

I work with Junior High & Senior High students on a weekly basis, so of them were at the meeting last night because they are afraid that the things they enjoy doing like band and other arts are going away if this levy doesn't pass.

Its time that we make the students a priority and begin to deal with the dissatisfaction with the BOE when it comes to re-election.

treemotan

Sure, might help the current senior class. But here's the thing- not passing the operating levy will cause foreign language classes (primarily French), fine arts, and extracurriculars to be cut. Now, most colleges require 2-3 years of a single foreign language to even qualify for acceptance, and Ivy League schools typically require a full 4 years. Almost every college I've looked at also requires varying numbers of fine arts credits, technology credits, etc.. Basically, anything that doesn't fall under the "required" courses for high school graduation. Furthermore, I know from undergoing the college application process this year that they look for students who participate in extracurriculars, since it says to them they're involved and can manage their time. While this year's graduating class won't be affected, the cuts could exclude all other future and current students from various college opportunities; heck, Juniors taking their first or second year of French might not qualify for college at all should it get cut! It could literally ruin their lives before they've even really begun.

So, now do you see where the "making the children suffer" argument comes in?

Lil DAB

Required classes won't get cut. French will not go away. It's just a threat to scare you. Maybe the fancy field trips will get taken away, but the kids raise their own money for those anyway, don't they? Extra curriculars to get accepted in college? What about ambitious kids working a job? Has that ever been held against them? Doubt it. Students can volunteer for all kinds of community extra curriculars too. VOTE NO.

observer

I drive past the school every day on my way home from work. Just about the time the students are getting out of school for the day. I also have been IN the school many times for athletic events, etc. I've yet to see ANY "suffering students" Where are these "suffering students" anyway? As a matter of fact, Perkins High school looks pretty darn GOOD compared to the other school buildings in the area. I'm voting NO.

treemotan

The "suffering students" has nothing to do with the quality of the current building; it has to do with the cuts that will be made if the levy doesn't pass. See my reply to Lil DAB for reasonings.

Lil DAB

and see my reply to you :-)

goodtime1212

Same here OBSERVER.

Resident51

I noticed a Perkins teacher encouraging us to vote yes and support the students on her personal Facebook page.

I wonder if those teachers thought of the "students" when they went on strike a couple years ago? I wonder how supportive she would be if she lived in the Perkins School District? I wonder how she'd feel if her job wasn't on the line?

Don't blame the voters, and don't blame our governor when jobs and programs are cut. Look to your Superintendent and school board for the bad decisions they are making (without voter approval).

smeltz

You know...probably not...but you are bringing up old, irrelevant news. How can you say not to blame the voters...or the Governor? I like and voted for our Governor, but both Kasich and Strickland both have made decisions and policies that have adversely effected schools, not just Perkins. The BOE has made bad choices that I don't agree with...but I would rather vote yes on a levy that will give my child a better education and then address my issues with the BOE when it comes to their re-election.

Resident51

Schools are NOT receiving a cut in state funding. Loses in funding in one area are made up for by gains in other revenue...casino tax, lottery, etc. Perkins is on a "funding guarantee". So yes, I do know! Perkins has financially crippled schools like Sandusky City because of open enrollment. And now Gunner and the board has moved operating money to permanent improvement to build a school for your kid...and voters are left to fill in the gap. Who is to blame for this mess? And tell me....how is it that YOUR child will receive a better education in a $50 million dollar dream school? Dream on Smeltz!

Imataloss

Resident 51 - back this up with some facts. How has open enrollment crippled the school. Where are your numbers? Please explain the dollars and cents of the "gains" Perkins has received since the cuts. I'd love to know where you are getting you are getting your facts.

It's not about a $50 million dream school. It's about building up a community. Educating kids, getting those kids to come back here and make a home. Making this community worth something and something to come back to.

lifetimeresident

I'm Voting
@ Tree I wasnt aware college looked into all that before excepting students. I thought they let anybody in with money.

Brick Hamland

being a minority helps as well. Most colleges say it flat out that they are actively looking of for minority students because diversity is beleived to be a great addition to education at that level.

Bearcat1819

The students may not be suffering now, but if the levy isn't passed, they will. Do you really think that students losing great programs, such as Little Pirates and French, and great teachers is just not going to affect the students? It will. Not passing this levy is just going to put the community in a deeper hole. We are going to need a new school within the next ten years no matter what, so why are we just pushing off the levy now? It's just going to be proposed again in the next year or so. Also, the need for a new building is not because of open enrollment. The problem is not that the school can't house all the students. I have no idea where that idea came from. I understand if you don't support Gunner, because it's hard to trust someone with your tax dollars. However, if you seriously don't think out of the all the board members THAT YOU ELECTED and Jim Gunner that there is not one sane mind, that's ridiculous. That's why there isn't just one person in charge. Why would the board want to manipulate the tax payers anyway? They obviously want what is best for the school. If you don't like their decision, why did you elect them? Maybe you should run next time.

Lil DAB

Do your board members in Perkins get paid? If so, how much?

oldpirate

So residenr51 you are saying only renovate that which the law says you must and in the very next sentence you find fault for lack of upkeep. If you are looking for a reason to feel good about voting no don't make-up excuses.

Resident51

No, I'm saying it's BS that it's going to cost $37 million to renovate and bring the school up to "code". There's nothing in the law that says you have to bring an old building up to code. Just like it would not have cost $1.7 million to fix the old stadium. Who's making up excuses? I'm sorry I'm not going to support your dream facility. My other point is regarding the use of PI money, which should be used to maintain and make repairs to buildings...and deal with issues like raw sewage, lead paint, asbestos, etc. Oh, that's right....that was all a lie, too. I forgot. Instead it was used for your laptops and now a new school.

Imataloss

Resident 51 - where did the money come from for the laptops? Hmmm? Do you even know? I'd like you to point to where that money came from.

The problem is, too many people really have no clue, yet they spout all that they believe is wrong with the system.

underthebridge

The money for the laptops came from the permanent improvement funds. The district has spent nearly $6 million dollars on 1) leasing the first set of laptops in 2009; and 2)then renewing the lease in 2012. Teacher trainings were paid for with grants. This was confirmed to me personally by Mr. Gunner.

dire wolf

The answer to these questions will sway my vote: 1) did the 1.7m that was taken from from operating fund to use for the stadium fund ever have a plan to be reimbersed?, and how? or was the new levy the plan all along for that? 2)Whose idea was it to transfer the funds, and which board members agreed and disagreed? I really only want the answers from a board member who knows for a fact. It really seems to me like the whole reason for this crunch that this school is facing would have been avoided if these funds were not transfered, and had they not, the emergency levy would not be on the ballot right now, and some good teachers would not have lost their great jobs. The fallout from the levy not passing will have even greater impact on this. I think it is crazy for people to throw the blame for this mess on open enrollment. That I know is not the real issue here. When a school decides to spend the kind of money it did to build a new stadium (by taking operating funds without approval), i would think that the issue of firing teachers, cutting needed programs and other sensitive claases would not have been the plan, just to build a new stadium. Sounds like the money could have been better spent. Maybe those who donated to the stadium funds care enough to donate again to reimberse the operating fund. Seems like the right thing to do, for the kids. Then again, i don't really know, that's why i ask.

Imataloss

It's not as simple as that. Property tax valuations went down 30% in Perkins last year. Who could have anticipated that? Kasich is cutting $4.4 million to the school. Who could have anticipated that? I don't have info for you off the top of my head for the stadium, and hopefully others will chime in, but much of that $1.7 was booster money - I believe the school only pitched in at the last minute when the boosters failed to raise the full funds. The stadium project was a boosters project - not a board project.

Wald

Wrong on the stadium. It cost 3.4 million. 1.7 came from donations. 1.7 came from moving the operations fund to the permanent improvement fund. Basically, Gunner and the BOE underhandedly moved taxpayer money to build a stadium that the taxpayers didn't get a say in. Of course, since you are drinking the levy Kool-Aid, you don't have that info off the top of your head, making you look just as shady.

lifetimeresident

I thought Firelands Hospital paid for that and the boosters matched the other half. Please do tell. This may sway my vote.

Wald

You can vote no, because Firelands Hospital made a major donation towards the 1.7 million raised by the boosters, while the other 1.7 million came from the millage Gunner stole from the operating funds, thus forcing the taxpayers to pay for the stadium without a vote. He admitted as much on the Register's Behind the Lines segment.

Lil DAB

If property taxes went down 30%, are you paying 30% less taxes? Probably not. Check with your county auditor and see the breakdown of what you are paying to the schools! Add in the SS tax that was reinstated this past January, and the increase in medical benefits and expense of living cost increases,we just can't afford an increase in taxes! The schools need to readjust their budgets like we have to!

dire wolf

With the state of the housing market and economy over the last 5 years, we all should have anticipated that. Especially those handling public funds. I'm not talking about donated booster funds. As you stated, if it was not a board project, why was 1.7 million taken from the operating fund to fund a booster stadium project? do you see where i'm going with this?

Brick Hamland

A lot of conversations about the new stadium fail to mention that the home side bleachers of the old stadium was condemned. It was estimated that the repairs to the bleachers would cost $1.7MM. The school was going to have to pay the $1.7MM to fix the bleachers, instead they put up the $1.7MM to help fund the new stadium. Seems like a pretty good deal to me. As like the most of these comments, i have no idea if this accurate, but I can't admit or deny what I have said based on the truth or falsity of the matters asserted

dire wolf

It doesn't seem like a good deal to all those teachers and others that lost their jobs, let alone the ones that soon will. Are the bleachers a higher priority to the school than all the programs that will soon have to shutdown and the teachers that will lose jobs? Was that their thinking when they transferred the money? Did they think that was the best plan for the school? How did they not see this coming? They had to. If the levy fails(i hope for the kids sake it doesn't) they will have only themselves to blame.

LawrenceD

70% of school districts in Ohio have some form of open enrollment, so I guess that means all have a financial loss from opening doors. Districts open their doors to increase enrollment which increases money. It doesn't make any sense that people actually believe open enrollment hurts a schools financial bottom line. This is Ralph Roshong logic, the same man that had over 10 levies in the time he was the Sup in Perkins. Watch who you listen to.

Imataloss

Amen Lawrence. I've been asking all day for someone to show numbers on how open enrollment has hurt our school. Every school system does it because it WORKS! It's a financial boon!

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