Perkins Schools to try for levy third time this year

Board members place identical levy on November ballot, appoint Chris Gasteier as Meadowlawn Intermediate School principal
Alissa Widman Neese
Aug 7, 2013

Perkins Schools is going back on the ballot.

At a meeting this morning, school board members approved placing a 10-year, 6.73-mill emergency operating levy on the November ballot. The deadline to place the issue on the ballot is this afternoon.

The proposed levy is identical to the levy that failed Tuesday, with 54 percent voting against it.

Also at the meeting, board members agreed to appoint Perkins Schools communications director Chris Gasteier as principal of Meadowlawn Intermediate School for the upcoming school year.

Dean Stanfield, the school's former principal, was appointed Perkins High School assistant principal to fill a vacancy after Nick Neiderhouse, former Perkins High School assistant principal, resigned this summer for a job at Maumee Schools.

Pick up a copy of tomorrow's Register to hear reactions about the levy's failure from community members who attended Wednesday's meeting.

Note: This post has been modified to reflect it will be an emergency levy. 



How did he vote on the resolution to move the inside millage? It's a matter of public record.


Bennett was not on the Board. Therefore had no vote when the resolution was passed.


He does support the move, though.


Can anyone comment on the facts of pay to play? I was talking to the father of a football player last night and he said he hasn't had to pay anything yet and that he wasn't even sure when the fees were due.


Lol! Classic Gunner move right there! This guy is hilarious!


Only fees missing on this form are a new laptop fee, building design loan repayment fee, stadium contribution fund fee, shouldn't have moved the millage fee, excessive wage fee and the ODE under performance fee..................!


Another question: How is it that all neighboring school districts are able to function without imposing such a fee structure?


The Medina City School's Board of Education voted Nov. 8 at a work session to reduce pay-to-participate fees to provide student opportunities. Learn from others!


But the no voters said the fees and teacher cuts would never really happen, they were just scare tactics to pass a levy. Whoops! Wonder what they will be wrong about next?


I don't know, but the band director that was cut sure looks good at band camp this week and so far I haven't gotten word that our children won't be getting an education this year and that they'll be aloud in our decrepit schools!


Not positive, but the band director you speak of might still be working on last school years supplemental contract. We'll see if he's still around on the 26th.


Don't get me wrong, Tribester. I hope he is. I think they all should be as I feel other cuts and better use of funds could have saved their jobs. I believe their contract ended on August 2nd unless his supplemental extends through the 26th. Either way, sadly all of their proposed cuts will be accounted for prior to November. An absolute mess!


Tribster, do you not see it?

November 6th, when the pay to play fee is due, is the day after the November election.

I thought if the August levy failed, there would be pay to play fees forced upon participants? Well that's come and gone, and Gunner keeps deferring the fee.

If the November levy fails, Gunner will cancel or further defer the fees. If it was Gunner's intent to actually enforce these outrageous fees (and not just use this as a scare tactic) he would enforce it after the August election as he threatened.... not wait until after the November election (weeks after the fall season concludes!)

It is a scare tactic. Continue voting no! Taxpayers have stated over and over they will not fund new buildings. Tell Gunner to move the operations money back- for the students and teachers!


25% is due prior to the first game which is 182.50 NOW, not November 6th! They are trying to let people spread it out like an installment plan to be nice, instead of saying pay it all now or else. Perhaps some parents naively assumed this community would support its students with passage of the August levy and are therefore not ready to totally pay up at this time. Maybe when the state takes over you guys will realize that the "scare tactics" were reality, but I doubt it. If you honestly think the facilities are fine and no money is needed for them to be renovated/rebuilt I want what you are smoking. Fire Gunner, get a new board, move your precious millage back, and you will STILL need to pass a new operations levy regardless!


To the No voters - I do congratulate you on your "victory" but I still don't think you realize that you have won the battle, but will eventually lose the fiscal war. Essentially 25% of the populace is causing everyone to pay more. Whether it is because you distrust Gunner, don't think facilities need to be upgraded, can't afford the increase (in fear of foreclosure or anything else), or are a Tea Party type advocate where no taxes and constitutional rights trump all else, future costs will go up. Some say just keep failing the levies, no problem. Unfortunately, the state will eventually take over the finances of the district. That means even less local control, and a state-mandated continuation of levy requests, plus the state must be reimbursed for their troubles (more costs). The levy requests will not stop, regardless of moving millage back, putting in your own hand-picked board and superintendent, or allowing facilities to continue on their path! If the levies continue to fail, the district will be dissolved. This seldom, if ever, happens because residents finally say enough is enough, and the levy is passed. However, now it is closer to 10 mils instead of 6. If it does dissolve, Perkins is now paying Sandusky millage, already much higher. Meanwhile, 40 taxpaying positions have been eliminated, along with programs for students, with the potential for much more. If you think this is all just scare tactics, please stay tuned. Many teachers and other staff are already gone, with more to follow. So we have gone from a state of the art, efficient, community-based campus (sports facilities, theater, adult classes) for decades to come, to barely staying afloat for probably 2-3 times more money. For those facing foreclosure for $206/year, what happens when it is much more? (and honestly, where $206 will rarely create a foreclosure, losing a job certainly can) Victory for you, yes, but at what cost to the community overall.


You've got a lot of criticism and feedback for the community members who voted no. Seems to me, there is enough blame to go around. Just curious as to what your criticisms of the administration (Superintendent and BOE) are?


My major criticism of the administration is that they did not read the demographics of the community very well. I believe that their vision (while potentially great) was bigger than what the community could see. They didn't present the benefits for all well enough, and assumed everyone would see the benefits as clearly. So now, the 25% strong voting block has continued to make its stand, not enough of those with their vision came out (the democratic process) and we are where we are. My point was that from this point on, no matter what happens, costs have and will increase.


Some good points. I also don't think they understand the community very well. Their vision did/does not match the community's needs now or for the future when in all likelihood the population of residents will decline as it is for many Northern Ohio rural or semi-rural communities. I also think they demonstrated their true priorities with the stadium project in the face of expected budgetary cuts from the state.


"not enough of those with their vision came out "

That's not likely. The yes vote probably represented 90% or more of those who were likely to vote yes. Special elections are generally favorable to school levies because they enjoy strong yes voter turnout and weak no voter turnout. So favorable that many districts go out of their way to bypass the general November election and have a special one some other month, despite it costing them money to do so.


I agree with many of your points, believeit, but people need to take a look at many of the communities and school districts around us and compare. Name one that has it all going for them, i.e. the new "state of the art, efficient, community-based campus". All of them are getting it done, and done better based on ODE scores for that matter, with much, much less. Get out there and visit these schools. Go to many of the highest rated schools in Cleveland, for example and see what they're working with. Very old schools and a much better education. Rocky River, Westlake, Avon Lake, North Olmsted, Avon, Lakewood, Bay Village, etc... These are a few West Cleveland school districts that are rated very high but don't have nor feel the need to have what Perkins wants....or they know it won't fly with the voters. Visit a few online or in person and compare.

In addition, only 40 tax paying positions? That's all. For example, how many people once worked at New Departure just twenty years ago? Over 2,000 compared to less than 800 now? Much lower wages? That's where much of our tax base came from vs. the now ever present service and seasonal jobs. My point is, this is a completely different community that we live in and adjustments are going to have to be made in regard to what we feel we should have or need vs. what the new Perkins Township can afford. Until the good jobs return we will never be what we once were.

Also, your $206/year figure that keeps getting thrown out there is another reason we are in the position we are in. Why aren't there many more homes being built in the $300,000 to $800,000 range? Most homes in this area were built in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s when things were great around here. They now are valued that low because that is what they are worth, which is precisely why people can't afford the additional tax.


You are missing my point. I did not say we needed new buildings to have better scores, but had the opportunity to get them relatively cheaply. I only stated that whatever happens in the future will be more expensive. However, even though the west side districts you listed specifically may not have new buildings, they have passed numerous levies, and are much more expensive to live in (partially because of their higher-rated school districts). Please compare the average home value of Rocky River, Bay or Westlake to Perkins. These are completely different (and higher) socioeconomic communities, which tend to have higher rated schools. Plus, none have had the lack of support (passing levies) that Perkins has. New buildings will not improve scores, but neither will reduced programs and staff. Plus I understand that our manufacturing job base has declined, like much of the country, but it is due to multiple factors (declining economy, robotics, cheaper labor elsewhere, etc.) but that isn't the school districts fault, and removing more jobs doesn't help. Again, I'm not saying it will be easy, just more expensive as time passes.


There is a MAJOR disconnect somewhere.

Believeit keeps talking about the state coming in to take over Perkins Schools. Facilities faltering. Perkins School District actually being dissolved.

How are we at that point talking about state takeover and dissolution of the district... yet if this levy passes in November, Gunner is going to start buildings his new buildings?

This is exactly why people will continue to vote NO for this building tax increase.

There is not a good leader out there whose organization is in alleged financial ruin, is in the process of dismantling his/her organization (as Gunner said he would have to if Aug levy failed), allegedly is on the brink of State Government takeover and there is actual talk about dissolution of the organization.... but the first thing on his/her strategic plan are building new facilities and actually taking out millions of dollars in loans to design and plan these facilities, when they can't even fund operations.

You can't have it both ways. You can't threaten taxpayers with $730 pay to play fees, State takeover, dismantling the district.... yet, first strategic priority is to build new buildings and facilities.


The state will take over only if levies continue to fail. What happens if a levy passes changes the situation. What is done with that money will be determined by the new board (with or without Gunner). I only stated that the cost, regardless of what happens, has already gone up, and will continue to do so.


That's not necessarily true. Enrollment could drop (Americans continue to have fewer children) and the project could thus become smaller. Construction costs fluctuate up and down.


In the Mid 70's Perkins graduated over 300, they were AAA in sports. Last year with open enrollment they were down to 229, I believe.
Two Question:
1) With a decline in students shouldn't some positions be cut.
2) How many students will graduate in 2020 or 2025. The kids are in school now.


You are talking about the height of the population boom. Yes, it was very crowded (thus all the building additions over time, including "temoporary" trailers at Briar), but the staff numbers were also much higher. There have been numerous reductions in staff (and sometimes increases due to need), even before these latest cuts. It is impossible to know how many will graduate 10 years out - it is not as simple as who is there now. Demographics change, will open enrollment continue, what of the desirability of the district itself in 2025? All very much unknown.