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

Comments

bobshumway92

Sounds like I need to make a phone call to the ethics committee.

Truth or Dare

WOW, that's like $100K plus to Citizen's bank in interest, right? I bite at math but do my best. Perkins Voters/Taxpayers oughta love that one!

fifteenthgreen

Probably depends on the life of the loan....which could be a long, long life! The five years will need to be extended. All for a dream.

VOTENO

Chapman should me ashamed of himself. In my opinion, this is worse than what Huron is dealing with!

Bherrle

Ashamed of himself for what Voteno?

First, this isn't new news, it has been public information for a year now about the loan, and even longer than that the Terry works for Citizens. This isn't some "revelation."

Second, are you already assuming guilt? Based on what evidence?

fifteenthgreen

Non issue, guys. Too many channels to go through in the loan process. If anything, I would question the banks decision to make such a loan but if the loan criteria was met, why not. Easy money.

Subtle

Michael Ahner cannot be trusted. Prior to the debate he had frequently advocated merging with Sandusky Schools as a solution. Unfortunately, this really highlights his inexperience as that would result in either Perkins paying $5732 to Sandusky per student, or Perkins residents paying Sandusky's tax rate that is 13.6 mill higher... either way it would cost the good folks of Perkins Township much much more to consider his solution rather than simply pass this levy. I will give props on figuring out that wouldn't be a crowd pleasing answer after only 90 seconds of dead mic, deer-in-the-headlights time before completely making a complete and unprecedented 180 over what he has stated time and time again.

What people fail to realize is there was no mis-management of funds... the policy of the federal government (which borders on communism) is that federal funds are taken from healthy, financially balanced districts to fund poor, financially unstable districts. So far the federal government has stolen 2 million dollars from Perkins to fund some poorly run district elsewhere. Perkins gets roughly 25% of what it should were it not for this 'redistribution of wealth'.

Were it not for the government robbing our coffers, Perkins would never have had to get rid of any teachers, or add participation fees, or ask voters to fund the levy. The state/feds feel that sinc perkins is 3 mil lower than the rest of the state there is no reason we should get the federal funds we are entitled to. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at the government... it's not our problem if some backwater BOE in some other part of Ohio ran their district into ruin, and personally I don't care if they can bus their students or not...it's their problem.

QUIT STEALING FROM US! Prior to big brother's theft, Perkins had no need for any levy funds and balanced the budget perfectly for over 13 years while providing the best education and extra-curricular in all of northern Ohio.

fifteenthgreen

Prior to the "government robbing our funds", we were donating $1,700,000 million dollars to a stadium project that could have been paid for by raising the entire dollar amount due through community donation proceeds. Instead, we simply pull it from our savings account assuming the public will pay it back later. That is management! Just one quick example.

Best education in all of northern Ohio is questionable, at best. Just check the Ohio DOE grade card for the last eight plus years.

I agree on the merger talk. It needs to stop!

Bherrle

15th,

I've asked you this before and you have not given it. Please provide proof that the stadium could have been dealt with all donated funds.

I happen to know this to be not true, but I'll await your "facts."

fifteenthgreen

Easy, Bherrle. The athletic boosters, band boosters, local businesses, students and community all did a fantastic job of generating half of the 3.4 million dollar cost of the entire project. Why do you doubt their ability to raise the entire amount without district contribution?

Subtle

Like it or not, more students get athletic scholarships than academic scholarships that's just the way it is. You can be a purest and say schools are for education and extracurriculars are unnecessary, but that doesn't make you a realist. The reality is colleges make money from their sports program so handing out sports scholarships like candy is a financially sound decision on their part. With that in mind, it is the school's responsibility to make sure our students have every athletic advantage including a stadium where scouts will want to come watch and not immediately think of the participants as 'small time' because of the dilapidated facilities.

It's pretty simple, think in terms of your own life. If you are driving around in a '98 Windstar that is all paid off but costs you $500 per year and someone comes along and offers to pay half of a 2013 Escape, you are quite frankly an idiot if you don't go out and get a loan for the other half and replace a vehicle living on borrowed time.

That is the same story as the stadium.

fifteenthgreen

Why not drive the $500 '98 Windstar for one more year and let someone else pay for the entire 2013 Escape? Then you wouldn't have to take out a loan or rob from the taxpayers savings.

Athletics is vital to the educational experience, but new stadiums being built at the expense of teachers jobs and academic programs should of and could have been avoided. The funds could have been raised solely by the community and saved the district 1.7 million.

In addition, many, many more academic scholarship opportunities are coming out of Perkins than athletic. You can count major athletic scholarships on one hand.

Subtle

Ok so then it comes down to: do you take the gamble if you aren't sure the businesses will be in a position to donate anything in another year. If I turn down half of the Escape and then the donation disappears, I'm stuck in a vehicle that costs more than it's worth every year till it dies and I have to pay for the whole thing myself.

I'm not saying it was the best decision, but it's not black and white. How many teachers could they have put back on the payroll for a 20 year period for that 1.7 mil? I say a 20 year period because that's most likely how long it will be before the new stadium needs any major financial input. 1.7 mil divided by 20 is 85k per year... what's that, a teacher and a half if they are both first year teachers? So the question becomes save potentially two teaching positions or get a brand new stadium that adds value to the school and should last 20 years with out additional financial input.

The funny thing is, and you can probably imagine, there could be as much backlash (and in some districts certainly would have been) if it had gone the other way and the district had turned down 50% of a new stadium to save 2 teaching positions.

It's much like the loan to get plans and estimates for a new building. People would be crying criminal incompetence if the district had blindly decided to repair all the buildings without even looking if it made more sense to rebuild them.

Seriously, around here, were that the case and Gunner hadn't ordered the estimates and plans and had just repaired the buildings out of the operating funds (if money weren't an issue) there would be people on here riling up the general uninformed public about how criminally negligent he was for dumping money into repairs when we should have built new buildings...believe that ;)

underthebridge

That is a myth perpetuated by parents and the cottage industry associated with travel sports leagues (including personal trainers, athletic directors, personal batting instructors, etc.)

From this: http://www.fastweb.com/student-n...

According to Mark Kantrowitz and FinAid.org, approximately 1% to 2% of undergraduate students in Bachelor’s degree programs receive athletic scholarships, equaling a total of about $1 billion a year. While that monetary amount is growing at a rate of 4.5% year over year, the percentage of those that actual receive athletic scholarships has not risen higher than 1.8% since 1995-1996

About 13% of kids receive academic scholarships:

http://articles.washingtonpost.c...

Bherrle

15th,

I agree with you that they did do a fantastic job. I have spoken with a number of them, including those "very" involved in that campaign. The sentiment I got was that they got just about all they could get.

I, like you, would have loved to seen it all paid for by donations, but from everything I've learned about the project, that wasn't going to happen.

Subtle

Reading the comments here really makes me wonder... do you people want Perkins to end up as worthless as Sandusky proper? I can buy 3 story palace in Sandusky for 60k because no one in their right mind would send their child to SHS unless they had no other choice. On the contrary though, Perkins is filled with 80k plus hovels... Columbus Park, Fairview Lanes, and 80% of the rest of the township are properties over-valued by 20,000 + (Fairview Lanes average home value is currently 104k and there isn't a house in there worth over 80k physically) all because Perkins history as the premium district in northern Ohio.

The current levy is going to cost your average Perkins resident 56 cents per day, that's roughly 1/10th of what I spend on coffee from Bigby every day. Doesn't seem too expensive to me to insure Perkins students, who have a history of continuing their education and returning to the community as valuable assets, have a quality education and safe and secure facilities. It's a nice contrast to some of the other schools where students have a history of graduating ...sometimes.

The other upside is I don't lose 20k+ valuation on my home. Not that I am planning on selling, but if all the homes in Perkins reflect what they are actually worth, no one is going to be able to get so much as a home improvement loan if they ever decide to remodel their kitchens.

fifteenthgreen

You say Subtle, "Perkins is filled with 80k plus hovels... Columbus Park, Fairview Lanes, and 80% of the rest of the township are properties over-valued by 20,000 + (Fairview Lanes average home value is currently 104k and there isn't a house in there worth over 80k physically) all because Perkins history as the premium district in northern Ohio."

I say, "Precisely why this levy will never pass."

Subtle

The key is these homes are all filled with moderate income families ranging 40-80k per year combined income. I know, I'm one of them. The problem there is most of us don't have huge savings accounts, we can't afford to go out of our monthly budget to remodel the kitchen, or repave the driveway, or add a back porch, or build a new shed that gets blown down in the winter. To do these things, most of us will need a loan and we aren't going to get one when we find our houses, previously appraised at 90k are actually worth 60k. Trust me I know from experience, the last home to sell in this neighborhood sat on the market for almost 2 years at 89k, valued at 94k and then finally sold for 60k... there are 3 other houses with for for sale signs in front all for 90k and none will ever sell.

Pass the levy, the school goes back to excellent ratings, my home value stays at 90k and I can get a loan if I ever need one... not to mention it keeps the rif-raff from being able to flood into my formerly decent neighborhood since basically anyone can afford a 40-60k home and I personally want to be surrounded by people with steady jobs and families.

fifteenthgreen

Right, but I know many communities with $500,000 plus homes and much larger incomes struggling to pass these same levies and their schools are rated Excellent with Distinction. I get what you're saying but to me, it starts with good paying jobs and industry being enticed back to our area/state.

Not so sure about the schools getting higher ratings with the passage of the levy. That problem has existed for years and is getting worse. It starts at the top on this one.
Welcome to the forum, Subtle.

Subtle

Thanks, I don't post that often, but there are some misconceptions and I personally feel that the levy supporters aren't explaining that the desperately needed levy has less to do with mismanagement and more to do with the gov't robbing from the rich to pay for the poor.

I am voting for the levy because I want Perkins to remain the place where businesses go to prosper rather than on the north side of Perkins Ave where they go to die or meagerly scrape by. I want Perkins to remain an area with an acceptable crime rate that doesn't have daily shootings and where I don't need a high tech security system to insure my TV stays in my entertainment center when I go to work. I want Perkins to remain a district where a higher percentage of students go on to college than actually graduate from Sandusky schools.

I don't want to become Sandusky South. I don't hate Sandusky proper, and I'd like to see things pick up north of Perkins Ave, but that isn't the immediate problem facing me and my family, this levy is.

fifteenthgreen

Sandusky Schools have made great progress. I wish it was like the days of past when the area was thriving and you're right, our government is to blame.

underthebridge

How does passing a levy MIRACULOUSLY improve state rating???

Centauri

"Trust me I know from experience, the last home to sell in this neighborhood sat on the market for almost 2 years at 89k, valued at 94k and then finally sold for 60k... there are 3 other houses with for for sale signs in front all for 90k and none will ever sell."

QUESTION: What is the address of this "last home to sell in this neighborhood sat on the market for almost 2 years at 89k, valued at 94k and then finally sold for 60k..." so that I can look it up to verify what you stated is true?

QUESTION: What are the addresses of these "3 other houses with for sale signs in front all for 90k and none will ever sell" so that I can look them up and verify what you mentioned is true? I get a lot of information from people who say this and that. I need to see for myself what is and what isn't.

Rosa

You sound like an idiot with a superiority complex...I would like to see your 3 story palace that you can buy for 60k. Sandusky is a great school. I sure would not want my children to go to school with yours if you raise them to follow your thoughtLESS ideology. DISGUSTING.

Centauri

"On the contrary though, Perkins is filled with 80k plus hovels... Columbus Park, Fairview Lanes, and 80% of the rest of the township are properties over-valued by 20,000 + (Fairview Lanes average home value is currently 104k and there isn't a house in there worth over 80k physically) all because Perkins history as the premium district in northern Ohio."

"The other upside is I don't lose 20k+ valuation on my home. Not that I am planning on selling, but if all the homes in Perkins reflect what they are actually worth, no one is going to be able to get so much as a home improvement loan if they ever decide to remodel their kitchens."

I see many parcels in the Perkins Local SD that are over valued for tax purposes. The owners of these parcels pay more than their fair share of taxes to the school.

If your home is under-valued for school taxes, be thankful that you pay less than your fair share of taxes.

Subtle

@ Rosa, numbers don't lie, and neither does common sense. Which district has a larger percentage of graduating seniors? Which district has a higher percentage of students enrolling in college? Which district has a higher average grade point average?

Ok so lets take a restaurant, or pet store, or dry-cleaning business or any business for that matter... where do you think it will be more profitable? Perkins or Sandusky? Pretty sure that is what killed The Weenee Hut and The Krunchie Pickle, they were both fine and profitable while in Perkins, moved to Sandusky for lower rent and went out of business even though the rent was less than a third of what they were paying... it's not a superiority complex, people in Perkins support their local businesses, people in Sandusky proper do not. The only consistently profitable businesses in Sandusky proper are bars. Would I change that if I could? You bet! I'd love to trade in my tiny 90k basement-less house here for the 3 story finished basement home I could get in Sandusky for the same price, but currently there is just too much risk to my children on all fronts to make that move even if I'd like the extra square footage of living space.

fifteenthgreen

I'm a Perkins community member/parent and even I disagree with your assessment of the Sandusky Schools. They, like the rest, have their issues but in my opinion, it starts at home and with how much each child applies themselves. Great leaders, scholars and athletes have graduated from there as well as all the schools in our area.

Subtle

I don't have a problem with the school itself, they offer more program than Perkins by a country mile, they have more clubs and extra-curricular activities, they even have better student / teacher ratio.

That being said it doesn't change the fact that PHS has a 94.1% graduation rate and SHS has a 84.0%. PHS has 28.8% graduating with honors and SHS has 13.6%. 76.9% of PHS students take the ACT, 59.5% of SHS's students do.

The numbers don't lie, nor does knowing them make me someone with a superiority complex, just a parent who can read the current statistics. Did I say SHS hasn't produced many quality graduates? Certainly not; however as a parent, knowing those numbers, which district would you entrust your child's future to?

Perkins Schools and the community as a whole do not settle for mediocrity. Our students are pushed at school and at home. The attitude is to strive for greatness. Call it what you want, 'entitled', 'over-privileged', "superiority complex", but when you encourage greatness, many become great, and the numbers reflect that.

Rosa

Well, Subtle, if you feel that way, you had better make sure that once your kids graduate from PHS, they do not go out into the REAL world and make sure they stay cloistered in their LITTLE perkins community. It is good for kids to accept and be integrated into real diversity, and make their choices with the guidance of parents no matter which school they attend. All this starts in the home and if you raise your children to become citizens with empathy and understanding, you are raising a great human being, not one that is a little bit better in their mind, than their fellow student who maybe does not have a two parent home, maybe not enough to eat, or even parents with drug problems. This is as important as education and will help prepare them for their futures.

Subtle

So wait, Sandusky proper is now the REAL world? Last I checked it wasn't a vast metropolis in fact, to put it into perspective, Perkins is to Sandusky as Avon (or Westlake, or Avon Lake etc.) is to Cleveland. People who don't have to live in Cleveland, don't... and the same is true for Sandusky proper. If you have the financial resources to live elsewhere you live in Perkins or Huron or Milan or Vermilion.

That's the nice thing about a college education. If you get a college degree, you generally work in a field that provides you with the financial resources to live among others of a similar economic demographic. Your co-workers tend to be equally educated people and that dramatically cuts down on the "real diversity" as you are trying to call it.

Here is where someone will inevitably try and throw race into the equation, but the bottom line is; that's a fallacy. There were people of all races who graduated college the same year I did. My office is filled with people of all ethnic heritages. My neighborhood is comprised of families of all races, yet the one thing we all have in common is we are educated, and financially stable... not financially privileged, but stable and as a result, there is very little of what you are trying to veil as "real diversity".

As for raising children correctly at home, let's take a look at the difference, I went to a Perkins graduation ceremony and people were instructed to hold their applause until all students had been recognized. Every parent in attendance followed those directions. There were two instances where the student body cheered for fellow students, and one or two scattered cat calls.

I attended a graduation at Sandusky High School they were given the same instructions, yet there were parents hooting and hollering for every other student that graduated. The difference is respect. The Perkins parents respect the authority of the school administration and followed the directions they were given. They respected the students and their fellow parents, they respected the importance and reverence of the ceremony itself. That respect, intentionally or not is passed down to their children as they emulate their parents behavior throughout life.

The Sandusky parents clearly couldn't care less if their fellow parents could hear their child's name being called, didn't care about the reverence that should coincide with the ceremony, and couldn't care less what directions they were given, because frankly, they don't feel the rules apply to them. That is the attitude and behavior set they are passing down to their children, either intentionally or unintentionally.

No, that doesn't mean all parents of students at SHS have that mind set, but there were at least as many that demonstrated that behavior as those that behaved properly. So yes, you are right, it starts at home and in the community at large; and I'll stand by my initial statement that the last thing I want in this world is for Perkins to become Sandusky South.

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