School board cuts $2 million from budget

Sports and extracurricular activities dominated discussions Wednesday evening as Perkins Schools leaders agreed to hike pay-to-participate fees and eliminate 15 staff members.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jun 13, 2013

The topic was fitting for the packed Perkins High School auditorium, where more than 200 people cheered on their side of a contentious levy debate with applause and praise.

Reductions approved Wednesday totaled about $2 million, a result of a failed May levy and state funding cuts, board members said.

Pay-to-participate fees for high school students increased to $730 per sport for the upcoming school year, up from $150 approved in April. Costs for dual enrollment classes, clubs and music activities also increased substantially for high school and middle school students.

“I don’t approve of this, and I don’t think you guys understand,” a mother shouted from the back of the crowded auditorium. “I want my son’s senior year to be a good one, not ‘mom and dad couldn’t pay for me to play my sports.’”

Board president Matt Koisor told parents no board members think the cuts are a good idea, however, they do recognize their necessity.

“Unfortunately we only have a certain amount of money to balance our budget,” Koisor said. “None of these cuts are cuts we want to make.”

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If township voters approve the district’s August levy, the reductions could be reversed and pay-to-participate fees will return to normal, superintendent Jim Gunner said. The district is proposing a 10-year, 6.73-mill levy, nearly 2 mills larger than its May proposal.

Before Wednesday’s cuts, Perkins Schools was projecting a $2.3 million deficit for the upcoming school year, with a budget of about $21 million, according to its most recent five-year financial forecast. It was set to spend all its reserve cash by 2015.

In early April, board members approved two rounds of permanent cuts totaling $12 million for the next four years. 

In addition to sports fees, several parents also voiced concerns Wednesday about cuts to music and art programming.

Conversation was calm, but tense, until parent Jason Dulaney commanded attention with an objective perspective. He criticized the board’s ineffective communication strategies, but also reprimanded voters for going to the polls without proper knowledge of the issues.

An angry “no” vote doesn’t punish board members or administrators — it only punishes students, said Dulaney, a levy supporter.

“I don’t want you to vote ‘yes’ and I don’t want you to vote ‘no,’” he said. “I just want you to vote informed.”

Levy committee members, many district parents, remained in the auditorium after the meeting to recruit supporters for their cause. They will kick off their campaign with a meeting 7 p.m. Monday in the Perkins High School cafeteria.

Township voters haven’t approved an emergency operating levy for the district since 2000.

Perkins Schools cuts approved

•Furry Elementary School: 3 teachers (art, music, physical education)
•Meadowlawn Intermediate School: 5 teachers (art, music, computer, gifted, physical education)
•Briar Middle School: 2 teachers (computer, music), 1 guidance counselor
•Perkins High School: 2 teachers (health, Chinese)
•District Office: 1 communications director, 1 EMIS secretary, full pay-to-participate fees

TOTAL SAVINGS: About $2 million for upcoming school year

Pay-to-participate fee amounts approved

•High school athletics: $730 per sport
•High school extracurricular clubs: $150 per club
•High school band or choir: $220 per music participation
•Middle school athletics: $185 per sport
•Middle school clubs: $150 per club
•High school dual enrollment classes: $300 per class per semester



Really? Hmm .. well I guess they did act like a business. They wanted a laptop based STEM program that costs $2.5mm/yr and ... let's see .. open enrollment brings in about ... $2.5mm/yr. Coincidence? Maybe .. but it's a zero sum transaction so quit saying open enrollment bolstered the district. The only thing it did was hurt our real home values (despite what the Erie County Tax Assessment says) since you no longer have to live in Perkins to attend Perkins schools. I know for a fact there are families that moved out of Perkins to cheaper housing in Sandusky and kept their kids in Perkins via open enrollment. Sorry but that is just plain wrong!

Here's a little financial advice you can give your students next year - don't buy a Escalade when you need the money to buy groceries! Better yet, give that advice to Dr. Gunner and the BOA!


Do you live in Perkins VOTENO?


Proud Perkins resident


Good. I disagree with you and others logic on taking your kids out of Perkins, but I respect that as your decision.


The days of communities supporting the schools are over with. Its a ME society. If there isn't anything in it for ME, then they won't get my vote.

Funny but these NO voters would be voting YES if they had a few kids in school.


That's just it they don't have kids in the system. As a citizen you have to respect that and that they don't want to pay more taxes. I myself vote to pass a levy but just because I will doesn't make people who don't wrong. It's a vote of the community. Most suburbs in Ohio also vote no. I think it's selfish but hey you choose to live amongst them.


ARNMCRMN - I agree that the lack of civic responsibility is concerning, downright frightening, but I think we need to be careful about making broad statements like "no voters would vote yes if they had kids in school."

I am currently a yes vote for the levy. But I know folks with kids who are currently no's, as well as I know older folks, kids out of school or no kids, who will vote yes. Let's not create undue animosity by pigeon holing people.

44870 South

That is inaccurate...we are in our early 40's, have children in the Perkins School System and do not agree with what is going on. We are open-enrolling next year. We've had enough.

Finn Finn

Bherrle - if you are concerned about undue animosity by pigeon holing people, don't start your comment with an inflammatory statement, ("I agree that the lack of civic responsibility is concerning, downright frightening"). You're doing the exact same thing you claim you're trying to avoid. Very contradictory.

Edwin Ison

When will the new building be built? Is it at the point of "financial stability?
Define "financial stability".
I predict that Gunner is the sole individual who will determine "financial stability".
I also predict the levy passage will meet Gunners definition of "financial stability" and the construction will commence next spring.
I also predict commencement of construction will necessitate a new levy request fall of 2014.

Thomas Paine

arnmcrmn Agree- Civic responsibility has ceased to exist. I am glad the greatest generation of americans didn't act like the selfish children we have become during WWII.



Finn Finn

T.P. - you are incredibly judgmental. 69% of my property tax dollars goes to the school district, and I'M selfish? If you want Billy and Sally to be able to "play sports", pony up the money yourself and stop looking to me for more.


Your property value decreases every time you vote no. You are uninformed and you have no commitment to the community or the well-being of its students.

Finn Finn

Your comment is foolish and unworthy of my time or rebuttal.

44870 South

WOW...I just talked to a "bottom of the totem-pole" Perkins teacher who has zip seniority and received a RIF notice in May. Just found out they will be returning to to work after all. It's a miracle!!! Don't cave to the threats people...of the 15 staff they rifted, they'll call back 14. Levy or no levy....seen it happen a thousand times.


This is very interesting but do realize the domino effect that takes place during the RIF process. This is not a sign that all is well and everyone will be returning to their job.

Strong Schools ...

44870 South...You have got to get your facts straight. People get their jobs back due to attrition, retirements, in house transfers..etc. Please call the board office and get the facts! There is more than one teacher who has lost their job. I feel bad if anyone loses their job! You are making yourself look ridiculous!



This blog is a part of civil responsibility. People are exploring different thoughts rather than rubber stamping a school board and administration's ideas as the only option.

Should people have the right to vote on decisions effecting their lives? This is nothing more than a vetting process needed at all levels of government to make sure it's the people's choice not just the elected officials choice.

With the present funding switch in millage the school board and superintendent are trying to eliminate the voting process in regards to permanent improvement decisions.

Is that what you want ? Are you willing to sacrifice the public's vote on building issues forever to pass this levy?

I know of an alternative building plan that allows public participation in the size and scope of the school. The superintendent has ignored an discussion on the proposal. It's his way or no way.

The board and superintendent has placed the community in a "lose, lose" situation by their continual disregard of the public's interest. You now must decide if you will accept the loss of $3 million dollars in not needed design work or $50 million dollars for a school not wanted by the public. There are no other options do to the inability of the superintendent and school board to pay attention to the public's wishes. It's the legacy they will have to live with.


I have attended most of the board meetings for a number of years. What is this other building plan and how would it be paid for?



This idea is not mine. It comes from a Perkins citizen who believes in education but does not believe in the direction of the superintendent or school board. He no longer comments on this to protect his family from unwanted hostility.

Let me see if I can explain. This funding process for a possible new building is still the responsibility of the community but the final cost and secondary education options are decided by the community not the school board or superintendent.

First there is the cost of a basic building to house minimal educational requirements by the state. Lets for argument sake say this building cost $20 million dollars. Off this main building are wings that house"specials". Music, Art, Gymnasium, Natatorium, Technology and Auditorium. The cost of these wings would show up as an independent cost which voters could make decisions on. So the voting public could vote to approve the basic building or any combination of the basic and the "special wings". So the cost could be $20 million dollars or up to $50 million dollars depending on what is approved at the voting booth. This concept has been approved by the local board of elections and the Secretary of State of Ohio. Again, these numbers are not exact, they are for example purposes only.

What is the value of this proposal? It eliminates some hostility between the voting public and public officials. It allows the voting public the option of what they want in a new school. It eliminates an "all or nothing mentality" of today's board and superintendent. The basic building can be built at a reduced cost and wings can be added when the community feels they are justified.

There are other options than the "$50 million dollar only one" proposed by the school board and superintendent.

My friend has attempted numerous times to discuss this other option. All of his overtures have been rebuffed by the superintendent.

The school board talks a big talk about being open to new ideas but they don't walk the walk.



Strong Schools ...

This levy is not about buildings. It is about keeping the programs we have and providing a quality education!

character counts no..I don't feel that comprehension is your strong point. Why don't you just stick to VOTE NO. That is enough for you to comprehend. If you notice you just agreed with Thomas Paine and arnmcrmn. Go back and re-read their posts a few times, and you will totally understand that they just posted something you have been opposed to through all of your posts. Nicely said Thomas Paine and anmcrmn! ( I on the other hand read, understand, and COMPLETELY AGREE with both of your posts!


You missed the point of Vote No's post, and yet insult him for having a comprehension problem. How ironic.


Well helloooooooo pot. This is the kettle calling !


You're blinded by your stooges.


Again, how does Huron's board impact you?




@Matt/Alissa: Will the video of the meeting be uploaded?