Can Perkins schools use tax money well?

Would you hand over hard-earned money to an entity that miscalculated about a quarter of a million dollars of debt in its budget?
Sandusky Register Staff
May 9, 2010


Would you hand over hard-earned money to an entity that miscalculated about a quarter of a million dollars of debt in its budget?

That’s what Perkins Schools hope when they go to the voters once again to get money to run its school system.

Just before an arbitrator is to look over proposals from both the teachers’ union and the school board to determine what a fair amount of pay and health care costs for the teachers, the school is crying poor.

Would an arbitrator take that into consideration? We don’t know. Would the schools risk such a tactic with a public that has already voted against new taxes? Again, a question we cannot answer.

Never mind the fishy timing of discovering this quarter-million shortfall. The district will be hard put, even more so than in recent past — and that's saying something — when it comes to convincing voters to cough up more property taxes.



Those who are without sin cast the first stone. Does the teachers union pay off the editor of the paper to keep fueling the fire? Who has made a mistake and been upfront about it? Better yet, who has made mistakes and hidden them?


The paper asks good questions and one wonders if the answers will be as good. The treasurer gives a 5 year forecast in January. The treasurer updates the forecast in February, 6 days before abitration. The numbers show improvement in finances. Then the school lawyers hire another school treasurer to look at our numbers and that person finds a mistake after the treasurer has submitted two different five year forecasts within just a few weeks of each other. It is interesting how it was found just prior to the board and teachers abitration, and even more interesting that now Perkins pays another school treasurer to work the numbers. Perkins seems to have plenty of money for lawyers and consultants, not so much money for education. Sad.


Is the Register fueling the fire or is it asking the community's questions? There is a difference between an honest mistake made by an incompetent treasurer and a dishonest mistake made by a competent treasurer. The Register is being responsible by posing questions that make us think about our decisions.


To the writer below, of "anonymous wrote on February 21, 2007 2:31 PM:" I think it it would fair to say the Register is crafting equally libelous remarks by referring to an accounting error based on H.B. 66 as a "tactic." Such a statement suggests the school system is attempting to defraud the taxpayers. Crafting an editorial calling to question the effectiveness of our school treasurer would be appropriate, but I would hope the person editorializing the issue at hand might do some research on the actual problem that occurred. So in that regard I think R. Smith's comments were of equal editorial value.

On the actual issue of the mistake itself: First, the error is huge in terms of what most of us taxpayers earn, but in terms of the school budget it should be hitting single digit percentile values of the entire budget. Second, it was in relation to H.B. 66 which have been the cause of similar errors across the state. Third, everyone seems to be forgetting that there was not much money available in the budget to begin with. The Ohio school funding situation is highly antiquated. Since we cannot pass a levy there's no money to play with. Mistake or not there was never room for the Teachers demands. Lastly, we have new a treasurer who is left with a legacy of bad record keeping from the old guard. I give her credit for doing what she has thus far. She did wonders for the Township when she was the Clerk (not one bad audit) and I have full faith she can do the same for our schools.

In fact, I'm happy that the school is properly auditing their books and being up-front with the public. Things would be much worse had they not bothered to to show good faith and simply let the error fester until it became a real financial problem. What would we do if they ratified a teachers' contract and the error was found after the fact? Things would be much worse. But I don't think the Register would bother looking at things that way because most of their reporting leans towards the union regardless of the situation and I'm sure that's where R. Smith's comment was leading even though it happened to be quite a harsh comment.