Fall sports enrollment OK despite fee hike

Perkins Schools pay-to-participate fees: up. District-wide enrollment: up. Participation in extracurricular activities: up in most cases.
Alissa Widman Neese
Aug 21, 2013


Documents to justify the latter two claims: not readily available, according to district officials.

Despite this year’s two failed tax levies, slew of district-wide cuts and hiked pay-toparticipate fees, Perkins Schools hasn’t seen a dramatic drop-off of fall athletes or incoming students, athletic director Mike Strohl and superintendent Jim Gunner said Tuesday. “We’re either at or up in every sport compared to last year,” Strohl said. “By no stretch of the imagination will this be healthy long term, but from what we see right now, we’re doing just fine and hanging in there. Parents are finding a way to make it happen.”

Perkins Schools officially implemented inflated pay-toparticipate fees Aug. 6, the day a majority of voters rejected the district’s 10-year, 6.73-mill emergency operating levy proposal. The fees range from $730 per high school sport to $100 per high school or middle school club.

The Register emailed Strohl and Gunner on Friday, asking for enrollment data to illustrate pay-to-participate’s impact on fall extracurricular activities, specifically athletics. When they spoke to the Register on Tuesday, the pair said the information won’t be available until September, although almost all sports have already started their seasons.

The Register emailed a public records request to treasurer Lisa Crescimano on Tuesday evening, requesting district-wide enrollment numbers for the past five years, all fall sports rosters and other documents.

According to Strohl and Gunner, nothing contained within the documents will be particularly surprising.

“Most schools that have implemented pay-to-participate fees have shared with us exactly what we’re experiencing — in the first year, parents figure it out, so there isn’t any sign of loss in year one,” Gunner said. “If it continues in the long term, then it starts to have an impact.”

Pay-to-participate fees for athletes will cover transportation fees and coach and adviser salaries. They will also cover athletic director Mike Strohl’s salary and benefits, about $109,000, and athletic secretary Linda Bixler’s salary and benefits, about $27,000.

The district calculated the cost of the fees by adding the total cost of each sport and dividing by the total number of athletes participating in district sports in the past school year, according to data the Register obtained from Crescimano. The fees were calculated in the same way for clubs and music activities, including band and choir.

Fall athletes must pay all their participation fees by Nov. 6, the day after the district’s levy election.

If a majority of voters approve the November levy — identical to the levy they rejected earlier this month — all fees paid up to that point will be refunded. Pay-toparticipate fees will return to $35 for high school sports and $25 for middle school sports. Students participating in band and choir will no longer pay fees.

Perkins Schools pay-to-participate fees

$730 per high school sport

$220 per high school music participation (band or choir)

$185 per middle school sport

$100 per high school or middle school club

Note: The initial club fee approved in June was $150, but board members took action at a special meeting in July to fix a calculation error, which misclassified Ohio Model United Nations as a sport instead of a club and inflated the cost.

Pick up a copy of the Register all this week for more stories on Perkins Schools, including fundraising and private donors offsetting pay-to-participate fee costs.



Of course it is. Nothing dismantled yet but the implementation of extracurricular activity fees for sports and clubs to get votes. Still trying to figure out why the required classes of band and choir are assessed fees. For what? As far as I know, the schools are open for business on Monday. Everyone has their classes scheduled. Sports are all scheduled and in progress. Band is back from camp. Schools look clean and shined up. Buses washed and fueled up. A few teachers hired back. Sadly, a few lost. Enrollment is up, though. Kids have new shoes and backpacks. 1-1 free laptops fired up. Sounds like they're ready to go and it's business as usual. Not sure what all the fuss is about.


As a professional musician and music educator, where do you think music teachers get the money for items like music, band instruments (some bought to rent to students, some rented from local music stores), equipment for instruments, cleaning materials for instruments, music stands and chairs, band and choir music holders (usually folders), uniforms/robes, and transportation to and from events? As a music teacher, I can guarantee you that we canNOT afford all of this from our pockets alone.


Your boosters!!! Equipment not owned by the kids is normally owned by the school since it falls under their insurance/inventory. Stands and chairs are purchased by the school for same said reason. Music/folders can go both ways. Some schools give a stipend for music. Uniforms/Robes? No help for us. We deplete our funds for a stadium project.

So you think that if your band is imposed a fee of $220 per student at roughly 160 students generating $35,200 and let's say 100 choir students generating $22,000 in fees, you'll see any of that $57,200 from the District? Don't think so. Keep practicing and sell more weenies at the concession stand!

Edwin Ison

Parents are banking on a big fat refund check, courtesy of the humble tax payer.

I'm very sure the "district" didn't want this little gem to become public!

"If the November 2013 levy passes...... Refunds for any payments in excess of $35 or $25, respectively, will be made for the sports or co-curricular activities that were paid in the fall of 2013."


Yes, notice the fall sport fee November 6 "due date" is ONE day after the November levy.

And I thought they were cutting specials? Guess that was a lie, too.



1. Can you obtain and publish for the public a final, official listing of names of the teachers and the positions that were eliminated by Gunner compared with what he threatened would be eliminated.

2. Can you ask Gunner to explain how the district has been dismantled as he threatened several times it would be if the levy failed. Additionally, Gunner threatened the Perkins community would "no longer have their school district" if the levy failed. Can you ask and report on how that is the case post-levy failure? (Both threats on video by Register).

3. Can you report on why over 75% of the pay to play fees for the fall season are due AFTER the fall season ends and after the November election? I'm not sure how accurate the statements by Gunner and Strohl are that parents are "figuring it out" and "making it happen" when they have only had to pay 25% of their fees.


Re: "If a majority of voters approve the November levy — identical to the levy they rejected in August — all fees paid up to that point will be refunded."

And one would pay the fees prior to Nov. 6th why?

In the meantime, salaries and costs are being funded how?

Common Sense

Fees are due in increments with the football fee (one portion) due by the first game.
Salaries are frozen for all and the cost of the communications director was eliminated when the director was moved to the principal position at Meadowlawn and more than likely will receive the salary amount of a beginning principal. Insurance proportion is now greater for all staff.
I really feel sorry for those who come here to bully the school. It is apparent that some have nothing better to do.


Re: "I really feel sorry for those who come here to bully the school."

Yea, merely asking questions and attempting to understand the permutations of a Byzantine taxpayer funded school finance structure amounts in your mind to "bullying?"

Reads more like a severe case of:

If you can’t dazzle ‘em with your brilliance, baffle ‘em with bull bleep.

Common Sense

It's one thing to be asked, it's a whole different story with the way some posters rant. Fifteenth green comes to mind as one who is not asking, but is angry about everything and wants to share it with all of us. When you do reply to his questions with a valid answer, he just screws it around to make it seem as if he is totally right. Wonder how many board meetings he/she has attended or when the last time he/she worked for a number of days within the school buildings.


More than you know, tap dancer! Show some common sense and try to persuade folks why they should vote yes.


Bullying is charging $220 fees to Choir and Band members for no reason. If there is a valid reason, please explain.

Common Sense

No. Bullying is being presented the facts and still pushing back because there is no reasoning with some people.


So you think it is ok charging a class $220 to simply go to class, i.e the choir? They don't go anywhere and the music boosters buy their robes, stands and music! Show some common sense.




VOTENO. You are on here all the time! Shouldnt you get a job?


He could be retired but that doesn't matter. All that matters is that he is a registered voter and entitled to his opinion.


Yes, he is entitled to his opinion. I never said other wise, only that he has too much time on his hands. If he feels that strongly about the issues then maybe he should run for school Board and actually do something about it. It’s a lot easier to complain on a newspaper website than to get up and serve your community.


Re: "to get up and serve your community."

As a possible law abiding citizen and taxpayer, VOTENO IS "serving" i.e. contributing to his/her community.


Relax, voteno only has five keys on his keyboard!



Common Sense

The AD position covers all sports from 7th grade through 12th. It includes football, golf (boys and girls - HS), cross country (jr high through high school), tennis (boys and girls - HS), swimming (Jr. high through high school , boys and girls), wrestling (jr. high and HS), basketball (jr. high through HS, boys and girls), volleyball - Jr High and HS, girls), track (jr high and HS, boys and girls), soccer (HS-boys and girls), baseball (HS), and softball (HS). Besides scheduling, there are officials to contact, facilities to make certain are prepared for the events, staying on top of OHSAA rules and regulations, conference meetings to attend, and being available throughout the school day and workers for the events (not all are secured by the booster club). It is not a standard 40-hour work week and there is no overtime pay. Have you ever been an AD? Didn't think so. Neither have I, but these are just some of the things that occur in the office. Oh yes, they sell event tickets as well.


I'm curious where the ticket fees and concessions money go? Can they help defray to costs of pay to play or do they just put it into the general fund?


Not true. The Perkins AD only does grades 9-12. The JH Assistant Principal is the grades 7 & 8 AD. Many schools function in a 7-12 AD fashion, but Perkins does not.


Who, Common Sense be wrong? Never!


All the parents crying about not being able to pay the sports and club fees were crying wolf. They just wanted everyone else to have to pay for their kids. All Gunner's and the levy committee's threats prior to the August vote were obviously scare tactics to secure more money to build the new schools. Now that the lies have been exposed, the guilt trips will be even less effective in November.


First off, I am NOT a Perkins parent. I have one child in band, on in choir. I would NOT be able to afford the FEES for them to be in their classes. My son is in 3 different band classes and my daughter is in 3 different choir classes. Do you need to pay those fees for EACH class, just like EACH sport? I am sorry I would NOT be crying wolf, I cannot pay 220$ for each class my kid takes.


ladydye_5 - The $220 fee is for the total program. Band - $220. Choir - $220. Do you agree with assessing the Band and Choir a fee? As a parent of two in the arts, you're obviously very knowledgeable with these types of programs and what they entail. Why do you think a pay to play fee would be imposed on a class that isn't considered a sport?


No I do not agree with the fee for a class that is not a sport. Especially when in middle school when they are FORCED to take one or the other (at least in our school district). I would NOT pay for a class that is required. I would be speaking to an attorney. You cannot force someone to PAY for something that you are forcing them to take.


In the middle school, it costs $0.


Right, use the Middle School Choir loophole. Why was band eliminated then?


Why don't you call the school, rather than turning to the SR comments for answers?


Please! Think they'll be honest about it? It's simple math for two very simple programs. Where is the money going?


Her question was, do you need to pay that fee for each class. I doubt this is the best source for that answer.


I think one sport, activity or club should be provided but the parents should pay for more than one. I don't see the need to provide several sports and activities to one student.


I just did the math. According to Register 622 students participated in district sports last year. 622 students times 730 dollars is $454,060. That's quite a chunk of change for the district. Can the board and Mr. Gunner tell the voters exactly where it is going?


I don't think that figure includes the various Clubs, Choir and Band/Music fees, either


They have - its been in past articles. It covers AD, asst., transportation, coaches...all the costs associated with sports.


Ok, so the Band and Choir are going to spend roughly $60,000 in gas to five football games and eight contests combined? The budget pays for teaching salaries and supplementals. The boosters do a great job of supporting the rest. Last I checked, these are classes for credit.

Common Sense

Yes, these are classes. However, because the classes reach beyond the traditional school day (after school practices and events), the band and choir pay a supplement to continue to be able to attend all events they have scheduled. Most events are scheduled anywhere from 3 months to a year or more in advance. This would also explain why it is legal fo rthem to collect this fee from its participants. For those who wish to avoid the fee, there are a number of art classes as well as a music theory class that would cover their requirement for Fine Arts.


For $220, these "classes" should cease reaching beyond the traditional school day.


I understand that the band fees are to cover director’s supplemental contracts, transportation to games and contests as well as entrance fees for those contests.


$60,000 - Transportation to five away games? Why go then? Are the students required to go to five football games and contests if they can't afford the fees? Contest entrance fees are paid for by the boosters and are minimal plus we host our own. Probably being charged for that. Thanks for reminding me.

Why supplementals for the Choir directors and Band directors? Isn't their pay in relation to the students state, accredited classroom curriculum?

Common Sense

In addition to the transportation to five games and five contests, that money goes to pay for fuel, general maintenance for the busses (the band uses more than one), and the bus drivers. The Choir and Band directors receive supplementals for their work as their work often extends beyond the traditional school day. Examples: After-school practices, attendance at games and contests (after school hours), travel time to those games and contests, summer band, etc.


The Choir Director's two supplementals pertain to nothing. Middle School and High School choir supplementals??? That's it. And Why? In addition to the base salary. There are no after school rehearsals or lessons for either.

The band. Thursday night band only and that isn't necessary, only by choice. Games and contests shouldn't be mandatory then if they are going to cost the parents $220. Many schools have eliminated participation in these events for this very reason. Travel time to away games? This after school activity is solely in support of an athletic event and has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with their education. Bus maintenance? Are you kidding me? Again, don't use them by only playing at home games and attending your own contest...at home. Northcoast actually generates revenue and gets some use out of that stadium other than five football games, a few soccer matches and track meets. Christmas concert fee? $36,000 Christmas concert? Then charge for the concert.

The Choir program goes to two contests by choice, no after school rehearsals, no bus maintenance, buys their own robes and music, no summer program, no evening rehearsal, no extended rehearsals beyond the normal school day that are required.....$22,000 based on 100 kids! I've heard there's more in the classes. Is that for a Christmas concert? A $22,000 Christmas concert. Nice Perkins. Insanity, Common Sense, but you go ahead and keep defending them and their fees!

Also, why are we not charging $220 for Art Class? Same thing. The art students just don't draw and paint at an athletic event!!! Maybe we should make them so we can generate more revenue by charging $220 a piece.


Band and Choir are taken for academic credit. Athletics and social clubs are not academic disciplines.


I will be so shocked if this levy passes in November. Never gonna happen.




This is getting way out of hand. A lot of people who supported past levies are now questioning the direction of the school and its leaders.


First of all in talking to an attorney out of the Columbus area Perkins cannot charge for the music classes like they are trying too. That could very well fall under extortion and the pi$$ poor way things have been handled over the last few years I would not bat an eye to battle this school system in court! Band and choir are classes for credits......


ACLU sues California schools over excessive fees. Michigan school charges $300 for Chromebook program.







Common Sense

I believe that if you will look at the reply I gave to fifteenth green concerning the fee for these classes, you will see that these classes extend beyond the normal school day and therefore, a fee can be instituted. If the student or parent does not wish to participate in the events or pay the fee, there are additional art classes and, I believe(but it may have had to be eliminated) a music theory to satisfy their Fine Arts requirements.


No music theory. The $220 fee needs to be eliminated, especially for the choir. They don't leave the school except for two contests a year. $220 for choir is going to be challenged via the proper legal channels for sure. Band is a stretch but at the very minimum, away games and competitions should be optional to students who don't or can't afford the fee. Currently, if you miss an after school game, parade or competition, you are docked a grade per occurrence. After school is my point!!!! After. Are you docked a grade for missing a football game or basketball practice?


Saw this posted on Facebook today and felt it was a bit humorous, as well as appropriate to our current situation.

"I've got a crazy budget idea. Let's fully fund the schools, and make the prisons make up their budget deficits with Box Tops for Education and money from Target."

Stop and think about it - we nickel and dime our education systems in this country, at every level, but we spend whatever we need to on the legal and penal system.


So true!


I have been saying for years, change the way we fund schools. Several lawsuits have been filed and upheld in courts..the current way is against the Ohio Constitution. I am not retired, but I would rather see an earned income tax be the way to support our schools, stop hammering our senior citizens and let those of us that work pay the way. My parents passed every levy that came down the lane, and they can't afford more, I don't want to see them have to downsize in their retirement...they paid my way. My dad has a decent retirement, probably around 35k pension/ss, he is making way less retired than he was working and saved money so he could retire maintain what he had...if taxes keep going up, he'll have to downsize and that is not fair. It's not like he has 4 cars and a 3000 sq ft home. I would rather my generation pay my own way.


Actually the original was something bout schools having all sorts of money and the Airforce's having to have a bake sale to buy a new warplane. What's the difference though, you want everyone else's money to go to your pet project.

red white and blue

Maybe they should turn in there mac books or merg with sandusky


You just proved why we will never "merg" with Sandusky.


WesTaylor....and the new Ohio DOE report card says what about Perkins???


Merging with Sandusky? Be careful what you wish for. I think that many homeowners from Perkins Township would be none to happy to be paying the millage that is linked to the Sandusky City Schools. It is, if I'm not mistaken, significantly higher than the rate would be in Perkins EVEN IF the November levy passes.


You are correct PT.


15th Green,

In response to your comments: "Of course it is. Nothing dismantled yet but the implementation of extracurricular activity fees for sports and clubs to get votes. Still trying to figure out why the required classes of band and choir are assessed fees. For what? As far as I know, the schools are open for business on Monday. Everyone has their classes scheduled. Sports are all scheduled and in progress. Band is back from camp. Schools look clean and shined up. Buses washed and fueled up. A few teachers hired back. Sadly, a few lost. Enrollment is up, though. Kids have new shoes and backpacks. 1-1 free laptops fired up. Sounds like they're ready to go and it's business as usual. Not sure what all the fuss is about."

You left out, among other things, maintenance workers set to climb thru trap doors into crawl spaces under the HS building to inspect cast iron sewage pipes daily for new leaks, and paint over new blemishes in the 2nd floor ceiling (which contains asbestos) daily, as well as keep an eye on the flooring areas of the school that also contain asbestos, which are slowly deteriorating.

But that's all normal stuff that I'm sure most high schools in Ohio have to do, and of course, it is a wonderful use of these men's time. But no fuss. When Gunner retires, I think you should be our next Super. You obviously feel it is a very easy job, and have all the answers.

By the way, in year one of PTP fee implementation, most programs do not see a dramatic change in participation. It's year two, three, four, etc when the effects occur.

Also, taking the $220 Choir course is a choice, as is Band, neither are required. There is a class called "Concert Choir", which is free and takes care of the Fine Arts requirement. I know this because my Junior daughter is taking it.


Why is "Concert Choir" free and Regular Choir costs $220. Both travel the same, about two times a year. Both are High School classes. One teacher. Same room. No additional expense. Somebody tell me the difference!!!

Gunner and the BOE have stated we're not going to address the buildings until we're fiscally sound so it's a non issue right now, right? I'd like to see them wait until the voters say yes to a new building, though.


Gunner & BOE brought this on themselves, ask them to donate money to fix these problems.