Sandusky Schools asks for input

Rebuilding or renovating school facilities can be a divisive discussion among educators.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jul 17, 2013
Before Sandusky Schools officials make any decisions on the matter for their district, they’re asking community members to provide input at a series of upcoming public discussions.
 
At their meeting Monday, school board members released a statement regarding the plan, called “Summer Conversation on the Future of our Schools.” The dates and times for preliminary discussions will be listed soon on the district’s website. Anyone can attend.  
 
“We’re seeking input and feedback from all segments of the community,” board president Faith Denslow said. Superintendent Eugene Sanders stressed Sandusky Schools has not yet made any decisions, but it’s important to start talking informally about the possibilities.   
 
The district could seek assistance from the Ohio School Facilities Commission, a state organization that provides partial funding for construction or renovation projects it oversees, Sanders said. It could also assess community input and decide it’s not necessary to update its facilities at this time. No matter what the outcome, academic plans will determine facility needs, he said.   
 
“We don’t want to build facilities and then build our academic plan around those,” Sanders said. “We want a strong, dynamic, viable education plan to determine what facilites we need to match that plan. That will lead the conversation moving forward.”   
 
The district will first meet with a select group of community leaders Wednesday morning, he said.   
 
In other business, board members officially accepted assistant superintendent Dennis Muratori’s resignation Monday and hired David Danhoff as his replacement. 
 
Also at the meeting, state Rep. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, gave a brief presentation to board members regarding the state budget’s impact on public schools. Gardner praised Sandusky Schools officials for their desire to find innovative ways to educate children, including the district’s new gifted school slated to open in August. More than 100 fourthgraders through sixthgraders have already enrolled, Sanders said. 
 
“Public education has more competition than it did 20 or 30 years ago and if you sit back and don’t engage, you’re bound to lose students,” Gardner said. “I give you credit for already thinking in that way. I know the governor wants to see districts like you pushing the envelope and finding new ways to educate kids.”   
 
The new state budget offers districts a share of a $300 million pool of “innovation funds” in one-time grants for projects to modernize schools and improve achievement, he said. Sanders and board members expressed interest Monday in pursuing the funds.

Comments

44870 South

Wow...as a Perkins resident I can't help but wonder what it must be like to be asked FIRST, before big decisions are made. Nice move Sandusky on getting your community involved PRIOR to making sudden rushes to judgement! I sure wish your rival across the street would take a cue.

Bherrle

44870 South,

How long have you lived in Perkins? Me - only two years now - but somehow, I was able to inform myself enough to know that 9 years ago, all of the Perkins community was invited to participate in this very same kind of thing, when strategic planning began for the future of the district & specifically facilities began.

For you or anyone else to make statements like this, painting Perkins in a bad light, is reprehensible, and irresponsible. There was no rush to judgement. The Perkins community was invited to be involved 9 years ago. It is still invited to be involved. You don't agree with a plan, then suggest an alternative. Not addressing the facilities issue, however, is not an alternative.

The original $100 Million Dollar Academy (over a period of time, not all at once) was not the dream idea of Dr. Gunner or the BOE. It was a collaborative effort with the community members who chose to participate. The entire public was invited.

44870 South

And said NO...

Bherrle

It's a shame that's all you can say.

Nemesis

Why? It's the truth. The voters TWICE rejected it, and then the administration pulled this end run millage switch. School administrations are well known for having these community forums, and then doing what they had planned all along regardless of what the voters say.

Perkins2060

And said no twice.

lifetimeresident

I have to disagree with you. I'm a lifetimeresident and the wool is being pulled over your eyes. Period. He's building a new school with or without our support. Me and You. We dont need a vote. He's building.

Bherrle

Tell me what you know that contradicts my statement that the public was invited into this process? What wool is being pulled over my eyes?

The buildings need to be replaced. That has been shown in several studies. Not addressing the facilities issues is not an option. So if you don't agree with past plans, current plans, or potential future plans, then what specifically are your ideas. What plan do you have that solves the facility problems, doesn't degrade the current academic and athletic programs, and spends less money than what has been proposed?
By "He", I assume you are referring to Supt. Gunner. The BOE makes those final decisions, not Dr. Gunner. Many may not know this, but he has provided the board options on building new, and on renovating. I believe by law he has too. There is no tunnel vision, pie in the sky thinking going on here.

I'll also remind you that no final decision will be made on facilities until after the November Board Member election. If any new members are elected, they will have a chance to get up to speed on the issue before the board decides on a direction.

Nemesis

No one's disputing that the public was invited to participate. The issue is that their participation was subsequently ignored.
Twice they voted against it.

As for the proposition that the buildings must be replaced, throughout the Ivy League, the cream of America's crop is educated to be the leaders of tomorrow in buildings older than this nation.

As for Gunner's role, school boards are very deferential to their supers, typically being composed of people from outside the education industry, they are in thrall to the super's credentials and the need to validate all the money they typically spend getting an out of town "rock star" to fill the role.

As for any final decision on the building, if the levy passes, the money will be spent. If you think that this levy will pass and that, subsequently, the millage shift will be reversed, then I have a bridge for sale.

samantha

Many accuse the supporters of giving out false information while the facts are what is important.
The new building levy failed ONCE- in November of 2010. It was a 4.98mil Levy for 10 years with FREE Obama money for a $100M campus that lost 58% against to 42% for. The board surveyed all registered voters after the failure. Of the over 1400 responses, 60% said they would support the remodel or rebuilding of a new high school.
The only levy since 2010 was the failed operating levy in May of 2013.
As you can see, there has been only ONE building levy, not many as people on this blog are stating. Please be factual when posting. SR just provides us the forum; they do not police the facts.

Bherrle

I don't think the millage will be moved back, nor do I think it should be. The board moved it, which was their right to do. The 5.2 was the only millage than could be moved. By law, nothing else can be.

Your comments about Gunners role suggest that there will never be a school board that actually makes up it's own mind, that they will always bow to any Super. I disagree.

Local Resident

@Bherrle-I have watched the discussions that have been all over this paper in regards to the Perkins levy, and I can respect your opinion on the matter. Good for you for doing your research and learning all you can. I was on the fence and trying to educate myself as well, just for educational reasons. I am a graduate of Perkins schools and although I no longer live in the district, my parents do and I am still very interested in what is happening with Perkins. Then the other day when visiting with my parents a "supporter" of Perkins schools stopped by. I told this person that I was just visiting with my parents and they were quite elderly so couldn't come to the door and speak. This "supporter" then proceeded to TELL me how to vote. I told her that I was not a Perkins resident and I would not be able to vote. She then told me that I NEEDED to make my parents voted for the schools so they do something good for the district "before they die". Really??? If this is the way Perkins is garnering supporters, I am ashamed.

Perkins2060

They are scoundrels.

Common Sense

As my dear, departed mother would say, "It takes one to know one."

Bherrle

Local,

If this occurred this way, then it is clearly wrong and not the way that supporters were being asked to handle themselves during the door to door campaign. I apologize to you on behalf of the campaign. That is no way to campaign for any cause.

I'd like to know more about where this occurred, and if it was a student, or adult. I realize that sharing your parents address here is not an option, but we could perhaps track down who this was with this info.

RMyer

Sorry, did not intend to comment.

44870 South

Right. Well maybe we should have FIRST asked Sandusky where to buy turf for the brand new stadium we absolutely NEEDED. Because ours looks like it was sewn together by a 3rd grader.

Bherrle

44870 south,

Serious question. Are you just not happy unless you are complaining about something. Now it's the turf? Really?

I think the turf surface looks very good.

44870 South

I'll re-phrase - Yes. The turf does not look of quality compared to other turf projects I have seen. Was disappointed when I first saw it. 1.7 million matched for the stadium project...and they are laying off how many teachers??? Sandusky City Schools - don't make these same ridiculous decisions. And when the taxpayers give you there answer - respect it and move on.

KnuckleDragger

Well, in defense, Sandusky had Cedar Point that paid for the whole project. Perkins only had FRMC kick in a portion over like 10 yrs

44870 South

Well, if it is gonna take 10 years to pay it off, not including the loan that was taken out to complete it, then I think they had time to shop around...Maybe what looks like it came from Mom and Pop's Turf Shop wasn't the best deal. This was all about playing catch up to the kid next door. 1.7 million dollars matched for an unnecessary non-academic project. How many teachers are they laying off????

RMyer

FRMC was only one of a number of local businesses and community members who made the stadium project successful. If it was such a bad idea, why would so many elect to donate time, money, and materials?

Perkins2060

Yeah, notice all the billboard signs at the stadium? It looks ridiculous. Perkins is a joke thanks to Gunner and all you disciples.

believeit

You can't have it both ways. You don't want to contribute any funds, yet are upset that advertising was used to help offset costs. Unbelievable.

santown419

Well in Sandusky defense Orlando pace also was on board for the project so since you haven't or isn't from Sandusky don't spread lies

Bherrle

44870 South,

My understanding is that the track was already not usable, and that the stadium was a serious safety concern. The district was at a point where they had to spend at least, a minimum (and perhaps more) of $1.1M on the complex, and that would have left the grass field untouched.

So, the choice was spend a minimum of $1.1M on redoing the track, and bleachers (and shutting down the stadium for a year to do so),also not touching the grass field which I understand was not in the best shape, or spend approx $1.7M on a $3.4M project. A no brainer decision in my mind. The timing was unfortunate, but that could not be helped, something had to be done.

Did you offer your input, your idea when that issue was discussed at board meetings, or at any other time?

To your statement "when the taxpayers give you there answer - respect it and move on." So I take it you feel they should ignore the facility issues? What is your solution to the facility problems?

Wald

If the repairs were $1.1 million, why not match that with community donations? Then the school only spends $550,000 out of pocket and saves about $1.2 million of unethically taken taxpayer money.

Bherrle

Wald,

My understanding is that the public donations were available only with school funds to match. No money was used or taken "unethically."

Nemesis

I received some fine education from a highly regarded university whose track was unusable for almost half the 20th century. In case you didn't notice, athletics isn't the purpose of an educational institution.

OHIOHOOSIER76

I'm quite the sports fan and I love going to high school football and basketball games, but I agree with your comment that 'athletics isn't the purpose of an educational institution'.

I'm a Norwalk resident and have one child still in Norwalk city schools, I'm waiting for the day that Norwalk City Schools TELLS THE VOTERS that they are going to build a new football/track stadium so that they will no longer have to share Whitney Field with St Paul (which made sense back when the schools were across the street from each other). As much as I'd like to see a new stadium in Norwalk, there is no reason for it right now because of the financial outlook of the district.

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