Getting the vote out

Election day is tomorrow; Perkins Schools emergency operating levy is only item on August ballot in four-county area
Alissa Widman
Aug 5, 2013
Tuesday’s special election will be a quick day at the polls for area voters.
 
A Perkins Schools tax levy, the district’s second attempt for new funds this year, is the only item on the August ballot in the four-county area. The 10-year, 6.73-mill levy would generate about $2.8 million annually for the district, which would stabilize its deficit budget and restore $2 million in costly cuts approved earlier this summer.
 
Many consider the contentious levy debate a divisive issue. 
 
But to Citizens for Perkins Schools, a recently organized levy committee consisting of hundreds of volunteers, it’s one of the largest unifying forces the district has seen in decades.  
Committee members have blanketed the area with reinvigorated Perkins Schools passion and reliable facts, they say.
 
They’ve hosted handfuls of informative events, including serious sit-down discussions, a weekend “Fun Fest” and a parade Saturday headed by an ice cream truck.
By getting involved in the community, the self-declared grassroots group hopes to gather its much-needed support.
 
“We all volunteered to come together because we believe in this district, these teachers and these kids,” said Jason Bennett, committee chair. “It’s brought the community together in a way we’ve never seen before, to support our kids, our future.”
 
The history
Citizens for Perkins Schools members didn’t get involved because they expected their job would be easy.
 
Although levy opposers don’t have a comparable organized effort, the group has consistently made its views known at the polls with overwhelming “no” votes. Most recently in May, voters rejected a 10-year, 4.98-mill proposal, with about 64 percent voting against it. Voters barely approved a five-year, 2-mill permanent improvement levy, a renewal, by a slim margin of 51 percent the same day.
 
Voters have not approved a new operating levy for the district since 2000. Before then, voters most recently approved a levy in 1991.
 
Several Perkins Township voters at the polls in May, some retired, said they're cutting back and can't afford an increase in monthly taxes.
 
New campaign strategies
This spring, about 12 people manned any efforts to promote Perkins Schools at the May polls.
 
This summer, the effort has swelled to at least 300 people, under the new, unified name Citizens for Perkins Schools. District parents Jason and Brandy Bennett lead the committee, with the help of individuals heading nine different sub-committees. Each leader, a community member, is paired with a school employee. Members include district parents, alumni and students.
 
The new group’s efforts include campaigning door-to-door, posting on social media and news websites, hosting community gatherings and question-and-answer sessions, making phone calls, distributing hundreds of yard signs and keeping voters updated on their website, perkinslevy.com. 
 
Their goals are simple: battle misinformation with the truth, keep voters informed and use multiple means to be accessible to a broad audience.
 
“What I said a month ago, I still mean it — I don’t care how they vote, as long as they vote informed,” said Jason Dulaney, a sub-committee chair. “As I talked to people door-to-door an overwhelming majority of the feedback was positive. It was a great experience to talk to them, answer questions and objectively listen.”
 
Citizens for Perkins Schools hopes its increased efforts will generate the district’s first “yes” vote in 13 years.
 
Its members also hope the new campaign strategies will increase voter turnout in August. They have helped several individuals register to vote since the past election. Less than 40 percent of Perkins Township’s 10,000 voters came to the polls in May.
 
What’s at stake if it fails
Without additional funds, Perkins Schools is projecting a $2.6 million deficit for the upcoming school year with a budget of about $23 million, according to its most recent five-year financial forecast. It is set to spend all its reserve cash in 2014.
 
Because a district can’t begin a school year projecting a significant deficit, board members approved a slew of district-wide cuts in June, putting this year’s total budget reductions at more than $12 million for the next five years, with more than 40 positions eliminated.
 
Most eliminated staff members taught special classes, including art, music, computer and physical education.
 
The hot-button issue: The June reductions also hiked pay-to-participate fees to $730 per sport per high school athlete, up from a $150 fee approved in April. Costs for dual enrollment classes, clubs and music activities also increased substantially for high school and middle school students.
 
If the levy isn’t approved, all the reductions will be permanent and more cuts are likely looming. Board members have already certified a similar emergency operating levy for the November ballot, which they are expected to approve Wednesday.
 
What happens if it passes
If approved, the August levy will generate about $2.8 million annually for Perkins Schools, stabilizing the district’s deficit budget. 
 
The new money will fund day-to-day operations for the district, including employee salaries and benefits. The additional funds will also reverse all the June reductions, about $2 million total, allowing board members to restore eliminated staff positions and return pay-to-participate fees to their normal rates.
 
The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $206 per year. Perkins Township residents currently pay $998 total in school taxes per year.
 
Last chance for lower tax rates
An additional, one-time factor in Tuesday’s election is a recently approved portion of the new state budget.
 
Citizens for Perkins Schools members are urging voters to approve the levy now, rather than later, because an identical Perkins Schools levy will cost taxpayers more starting in September, according to the budget.
 
Until this year, the state paid a portion of approved levies through two tax exemptions, one 10 percent and one 2.5 percent, Erie County auditor Rick Jeffrey said. Now, according to the new budget, taxpayers will pay the entirety of future levies.
 
Simply put: If approved in August, the levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $206 per year. If the levy fails and is approved in November, it will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $236 per year, a 14.25 percent increase of $30.
 
Existing and renewal levies will not be affected by the tax exemption changes.
 
“It’s so important voters understand the urgency to pass this now, when it costs them less,” said John Schlessman, a sub-committee chair. “We’re doing everything we can these last few days to help educate and inform people so the can get out and vote based on the facts.”
 
 
Perkins Schools emergency operating levy proposal
MILLAGE: 6.73
LENGTH: 10 years
ANNUAL COST TO OWNER OF $100,000 HOME: $206
ANNUAL FUNDS GENERATED FOR DISTRICT: About $2.8 million
USE: Day-to-day operations, including employee salaries and benefits

Comments

Good 2 B Me

We need to run some qualified people for the BOE and replace the current one. Once done, then maybe we can get back on track as a high quality School District!

PT109

Then do that. Run for the board!! You have until Wednesday to register as a candidate!

Good 2 B Me

Thanks, but I cannot do that. I truly wish that I could! I KNOW that I could help shape the BOE into a better, stronger BOE and keep the Kids' Education first, before Sports! I truly wish that I could.

Good 2 B Me

However, I will be backing a new Candidate for the BOE. So, I will be doing my part.

queenjhb

don't increase our taxes, vote no, anyone that wishes to donate money to the school ,please by all means do. Some have more income, open your wallets , sponsor pay to play. Please stay out of my wallet.

Centauri

"However, Gunner moved millions of dollars away from operations to build his new buildings and facilities, and took out $3.5 million in loans to plan and design these new buildings."

Move money out of the operating fund and then beg for more.

How will that $3.5 million loan be paid off?

The cost in additional taxes for a $150,000 home is only $25.76 per month. That equates to $309.12 per year or $3091.20 for 10 years. That will not be enough. The trick-or-treaters will be back begging for more money.

The Perkins School District is becoming another Shaker Heights (OHIO) school district.

PT109

That's right! I mean they have already gotten 2 levies in the last 20 years! It's like they come "trick-or-treating" at least once every decade. Statistically your argument doesn't work.

Centauri

"Perkins School Taxpayers Pay The Lowest Taxes In Erie County"

Is this a true statement? Prove it with public records.

Anybody can answer.

PT109

Where did you see this? I've never heard that before. I did hear that Perkins schools had the lowest millage and from what I have seen that's true. So where did you see the item about the lowest taxes?

Centauri

It is printed on a card that was given to Perkins voters recently.

Also:
http://perkinslevy.com/
"Overall, the state average for a community is 35 mils taxation for their schools. Almost all Erie County Schools operate below that average tax rate with Perkins currently the lowest at 28.52 mils. With total property valuation of $433 million, Perkins does receive MORE revenue locally with a LOWER rate of taxation than other school districts.

Perkins Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...
Check the Class 1 and Class 2 millage
JVS millage is included.

Centauri

I mentioned Shaker Heights because it is the most expensive Ohio school district. A lot of rich people live there.
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

The Perkins School Levy committee claim that Perkins taxpayer "pay the lowest taxes in Erie County (3.5 mils lower then Huron; 3.5 mils lower than Sandusky)"

Tbere are other things to consider besides millage of a school district.
Shaker Heights has a high millage but lower ASSESSED PROPERTY VALUATION PER PUPIL at $156,226.41. The average income in Shaker Heights is $117,121.00 You also have CLASS 1 and CLASS 2 millage.

Check out Perkins Schools:
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Huron Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Sandusky Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Margaretta Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Vermilion Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Berlin-Milan Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Check any Ohio School district here:
http://webapp2.ode.state.oh.us/s...

Better make copies of all online Perkins School Levy information before they are taken down. Also keep those handouts and mailings. They might come in handy in the future. Sometimes the people will deny making such statements and claims. The proof will be what is posted online and what is in print.

RMyer

None of the school districts you list here are considered "similar" to Perkins by the state. Comparing Perkins to Shaker Heights or Huron or BerlinMilan is comparing apples to oranges. When comparing operations of school districts, one must look at similar districts due to demographics, student population counts and so forth. The only two districts near us that are considered similar are Port Clinton and Benton-Carroll-Salem. When Perkins operations such as tax load, expenditures per pupil and so on are compared to similar districts, our district is below the averages for similar districts (see middle column of report linked above for Perkins) due to proper fiscal management.

In my opinion, to compare to non-similar districts is not valid for all info.

Centauri

So why the cardboard handout given to Perkins voters comparing Perkins schools to Sandusky and Huron?

http://perkinslevy.com/
Question: Tax Rates
"Overall, the state average for a community is 35 mils taxation for their schools. Almost all Erie County Schools operate below that average tax rate with Perkins currently the lowest at 28.52 mils."

Here you are comparing Perkins Schools to other schools in Erie County, Ohio.

Port Clinton Schools
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

Benton-Carroll-Salem
http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/ht...

http://webapp2.ode.state.oh.us/s...

fifteenthgreen

Right, RMyer. They all scored above simply "effective" on the state's score sheet.

tk

Schools boards are largely made up of people who can afford the increase and they don't see that others can't afford it.

PT109

Then run for the board and bring that perspective.

Bherrle

That is a very general statement that is pure assumption. The school board members are elected by the public. If your statement is true, then it's our fault they are on the board.

queenjhb

@ pirate mom, they worked hard to give out ice cream? How about sponsoring and donating your money to Perkins Schools, Work harder and donate all your income for the cause. You can afford the tax increase, great, but, get your sticky ice cream fingers off of my hard earned money in my wallet. Ice cream - really! please vote no, I have no ice cream to give you, no magical goodie to make you do what she wants , just keeping some much needed cash . [ no, I'm not buying ice cream w/ it.

PT109

So, you never went to school. No teacher ever made you feel like you could be more than what you think you can. No coach ever instilled a sense of fair play and teamwork in you. No neighbor ever stepped in and helped you out ever. Pretty sad. I have always supported the schools even when I didn't support the board. You are turning your back on your children and your community. Do what you have to do...sad. VOTE YES.

Pirate Mom

@Queen: my hard earned money and how I spend my time are used for kids' futures and my family's home value, which is why I vote yes on Perkins schools levies and work hard for their passage every time the schools ask for my help. If you can't do that, I still do it and hope that your kids and home value benefit.

queenjhb

@perkins mom, ofcourse you do, you have extra income to throw at this , go ahead, be my guest, stay out of my pocket, fund raise some more ice cream, you need to feel like, wow, I'm really something, look at me , here take some ice cream ,now do what I want. I don't care how it effects you and your income, I want this no matter whom it hurts. This will hurt people on fixed incomes.

beesknees

I encourage people like citizen, Good 2 B Me, Centauri, and Donutshop to run for the BOE. Gunner and the current BOE must be run out!! First agenda, fire Gunner and move the millage back.

PT109

That would be November's election, not this one. I encourage everyone to VOTE YES for this levy and to run for the BOE. Without choices, we will always get what we have always got. Vote YES tomorrow. November, is another story...

donutshopguy

beesknees,

After the harassment my family received from employees of the Perkins School System after they found out my true identity there is no way I would waste my time.

Isn't it rather funny that the people we intrust to protect our children from harassment have no problem intimidating and harassing my family when it comes to achieving their needs.

Don't expect them to protect your children. It's more about protecting themselves.

Good 2 B Me

Exactly! I took quite a long harassing phone call from them arguing with me to change my vote. Never bothered to tell me who they were, but they called me so they know who I am. How does this do anything to protect family members that might share my last name in the School System?

Centauri

Welcome my fellow online political activist. You are much more valuable as an online political activist. If you ran for office, the dimwits would vote against you. Look what happened to the former Perkins Township Fiscal Officer Diane. The powers that be went after her and the Sandusky Register wrote some untruthful things about her.

You have gotten a taste of the powers that be and the powerful elite. They are very sneaky and will gang up on you. I know all about intimidation tactics because I have been a victim of them.

kal-el

Something about Karma, the Golden Rule, and "reaping what you sow" comes to mind while reading these last three comments...

Centauri

"Something about Karma, the Golden Rule, and "reaping what you sow"

Oh yes about Karma.

I will help Karma along to bring the entire truth into the light.

I will help to bring transparency for the taxpayers and citizens.

I will have to wait until the elections results are in.

Then I will go to work. Karma will come for many.

Good 2 B Me

I will stand by you Centauri! I believe in the Kids, but not the BOE and Gunner!

bao

what is the message to "our students"? If you dont get your way through normal means,throw ethics out the window,move the inside millage,hit the parents where it hurts most with pay to play, register as many non-tax paying voters(college kids and veterns home residents) and see if we cant get this school built. so proud of our boe and supt!

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