VIDEO: Perkins school board debate

UPDATED: Candidates debate residency, finances
Sandusky Register Staff
Oct 6, 2013

Only one of four people vying for seats on the Perkins school board believes a superintendent should have to live in the district.


   Four Perkins Schools candidates seeking two open seats — Michael Ahner, Terry Chapman, J Franklin and Richard Uher — weighed in on the often hot-button issue during a Register-sponsored debate Thursday evening at Chet and Matt’s Pizza.

See photos from the debate HERE


   About 50 people attended the event in the restaurant’s banquet hall.


   To connect with a community, Franklin said a district’s top leader, including Perkins School superintendent Jim Gunner, who lives near Toledo, must reside in his or her district. Ahner, Chapman and Uher said it shouldn’t be required, although it’s preferred because it sends a strong, positive message to taxpayers.


   “It’s the job you do, not where you live that makes the difference,” Uher said. “If you can’t get the right candidate (in Perkins Township) and they’re not willing to move, you bring the best superintendent in to do the job regardless of where they live.”


   Other inquires from the crowd targeted the district’s fiscal future. Candidates discussed tax levies and a dwindling budget, as all the district’s reserve funds will be spent by the end of the current school year.    While the candidates all agreed a tax levy is inevitable, they disagreed on how much money the district should seek from taxpayers, especially given the board’s 2011 decision to move “inside millage” — funding used for day-to-day operations — into a separate account for building improvements.


   The polarizing decision has effectively segmented the Perkins community, and it was reflected in the four candidates as well.


   Ahner and Franklin proposed returning the 5.2 mills of funds back into the operating budget and then asking taxpayers for a smaller levy, possibly 2 mills, to get by in the short term. A future levy or bond issue would be required to fund building projects.


   “The first thing we need to do is reverse the inside millage move that wasn’t voted on,” Franklin said. “It wasn’t illegal but it was unethical.”


   Uher and Chapman said keeping the funds in their current location is the most feasible, cost-effective longterm option.


   The district is proposing a 10-year, 6.73-mill levy on the November ballot — its third levy attempt this year


   — which both candidates said they support. The new funds would replenish the depleted operating fund while also supporting new building projects without an additional levy or bond issue.


   “Moving the millage back is just a temporary fix,” Chapman said. “The move was not unethical. We as a district and a board have to manage our operational budget and our facilities, and we chose to move the millage to protect our facilities.”


   The four candidates are seeking a four-year term on the Perkins school board. The election is Nov. 5.

Watch the debate in the player provided below



elect Franklin to the board, Vote No on the levy.


Franklin and Ahner! No on the levy!


Chapman spoke of the Strategic Plan from NINE YEARS ago as if it was the bible. That is one of essential problem with this current BOE. Despite the economic changes that have happened in the last 9 years and despite the feedback from the community in the form of 3 levy failures, they are still following the same playbook.


I found it interesting that Chapman said he works at Citizens Bank. Isn't that where we got this bogus loan for new school design plans?


Yes it is!!!


New construction loans are surprisingly hard to come by in this area. That being said, I do think that it was an unwise decision because it presents the appearance of impropriety.


Got this email today...Just another good use of public workers and public funds

Just a reminder that Monday at 4 pm is the deadline for voter registration. Halley Leffler and Jay Wierzba have been leading the committee tasked with this important effort. Approximately 300 parents and 300 graduates were identified as not being registered. These lists have been placed in each of the schools for staff and others to review, and a team of volunteers have been working to contact as many possible to encourage registration before the deadline.

If you know of anyone else in the community that has been outspoken in support of the levy, whether they are family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, church members, etc., please reach out THIS WEEKEND in order to have them complete the simple registration form by the deadline.

Forms are available online to fill our electronically and then print ( or you can pick up forms at the ASC and turn in completed forms there as well. Please try to get all completed forms to the ASC by noon Monday, so they can be delivered to the Board of Elections.

If you have any other questions or want to help with last minute activities this weekend, please email Halley ( or Jay (

Also, if you are planning to vote absentee yourself, please be aware that Jason Bennett is on the printed ballot but is no longer running for the Perkins School Board. As active and outspoken supporters of the levy, both Terry Chapman and I would hope we have your vote. If you missed the online debate at Chet and Matt's last night conducted by the Sandusky Register, here is a link to the video: We encourage everyone to see for themselves the clear distinction between us and the other two candidates who do not support the levy.

Thanks for all your help and support,

Rick Uher

Perkins Levy Committee




What the district fails to realize, once again, is that the public is calling for a change in leadership. Uher has the same arrogance, attitude and feeling of entitlement as the current board. Unless the district moves in an entire different direction, I don't see the district and community being able to progress forward.


A levy will never pass with the current board or a board with Uher. Need new blood. Move inside millage back and put a 2 mill levy on the ballot. That will pass. That's Franklin's message. Then send Gunner packing and unite the community!


Does this mean that the tax mans money is being used to support the Uher and Chapman campaign?


"If you have any other questions or want to help with last minute activities this weekend, please email Halley ( or Jay (" is a school email address


VOTING NO AGAIN until the Gunnerbots are gone, the inside millage is moved back, the KoolAid is evaporated, and common sense is restored!


Why doesn't Perkins rethink this whole thing and develop a foundation to raise funds for buildings. Something Different! Firelands Hospital has a foundation. Bellevue Hospital has foundation. Then all the fundraising that is done through PTO could be funneled through it, grants could be written, they could even hit up the alumni to make donations. I'm not suggesting that operating funds be generated there, but capital improvements. Time to think out of the box.


Vote no in november


Vote no in November. Vote yes for Franklin & Ahner.


To all Perkins School tax payers:

Take a look at the April 2013 PerkinsPirate School Report. It is a type of news letter that the Perkins Local SD sends out to the residents in the school district. It had questions and answers before the May 2013 election.

Look at the first question and answer under the heading "Superintendent Residency Questions" on the front page.

What do you see?


Enlighten us


I don't have it anymore, what does it say or where can I get a copy??


I will post the question and answer in a few days.


Was it legal for Champmans place of employment to make a loan to Perkins Schools while he is on the Board? How much money is Citizens Bank making on this loan? Where is the Ohio Ethics Committee? On top of that, a loan for a project the voters turned down!



The Ohio ethics committee would get involved if there there was an indication of wrongdoing. It is not illegal on its face. There are rules that have to be followed.

The loan was for the archtectual fees related to the stadium, the rest of the districts part of the stadium project, as well as a possible new 7-12 building, as well as studies done looking at building new, and renovation.


Officers of The Citizens Banking Company

Terry L. Chapman, Commercial Lending


Thank you for the link Centauri. It shows, by my count, that there are 15 VP's of Commercial Lending at Citizens Bank, not just the one you listed above. Provides very ample opportunity to keep the transaction "at arms length", one of the requirements.


How many in Sandusky?


Don't know, and I don't think that matters. In this day and age, do you really think someone has to be physically in Sandusky to negotiate and consumate a business loan?

If you have proof Terry did anything wrong, let's hear it/see it.


One man is not larger than an entire entity. I would simply have avoided making the loan with a VP on the board, but it's not my bank/money. Again, a non issue at this point unless the shareholders say otherwise!!!



You're amazing! Amazingly gullible, that is. You must have some "sea captain" in you, because you definitely believe in "going down with the ship!"

You seem to be the ONLY one who hasn't figured out that the voters of Perkins do not TRUST Gunner or the BOE, that the current BOE (Terry Chapman can't go too soon) is going to be OUT in about 4 weeks, and this fiasco of a levy is going down like the Hindenburg. New BOE members, a total rejection of this administration, and a totally new direction are coming, and coming SOON. Wake up, Bherrle.



I think everyone, including myself, know that roughly 2,500 Perkins Voters do not trust Dr. Gunner or the board. I know it, but I don't understand it. I will not abandon what I feel is right simply because it is not at the moment "popular." Neither will other supporters.

When Dr. Gunner arrived in 2008 to the district, the first thing the then BOE wanted to do was to put an operating levy on the ballot. He asked them not too, he asked them to give him a year to make changes to reduce or eliminate the need for a levy at that time. His changes worked. He kept us off the ballot for 5 years on operating money, which would have been at least another year longer had the stadium not reached the critical point it had. Keep in mind that strategic planning for the district and it's facilities had already begun, before Gunner was here. These notions that new buildings are "Gunner's dream" and that the district has not managed it funds properly, are really not true.

This "new direction" you speak of may very well come, but what you call a "new direction" I and others see as a "lack of direction." Reversing inside millage and approving a smaller levy (which first off there is no guarentee the public will even do that) completely abandons the facility issues. What is Mr. Franklin's, or yours, or VoteNo's, or 15th Green's, or any objector's specific plans about how to deal with the facilities and fund operations at the same time?? A specific, detailed plan, that ensures this community won't spend more in the long term because we get forced into repairs as things actually start failing? I've never seen one. It seems to be that the plan is we'll just keep waiting, keep kicking that can down the road. I utterly fear where your "direction" will take the district.

It is not a Board members job to be a puppet to the community. It is his/her job to always be thinking ahead, and making the best long-term decisions for the district. I understand that they have to be accountable to the community, but that doesn't mean that the community is always right. I find it ironic that a certain very popular Ex-Super from the 80's saw the need for new facilities as far back as the late 1980's. Yet, some 20-25 years later, here we are.

"Perkins Schools is taking out a $3.6 million loan from Citizens Bank to move ahead with plans for a new school for grades 7-12."

"The interest rate on the five-year loan is 2.79 percent, with no penalty for early repayment, said Lisa Crescimano, Perkins Schools treasurer."