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
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

Comments

VOTENO

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Strong Schools ...

This has nothing to do with the buildings. We want to keep our current programs in place!

Nemesis

It has EVERYTHING to do with the buildings. They HAVE the money they need to maintain staffing and programs. They've STOLEN it from the operating budget and squirreled it away in a slush fund to pay for new buildings that aren't needed and that the voters have twice said they don't want.

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Perkins0602

Getting rid of Gunner is done by the board. The board is elected by the taxpayer.

Perkins2060

It's time to merge with Sandusky and cut out a lot of fat.

Perkins0602

Go ahead and merge. You will pay the millage of the highest district, which would be Sandusky! Remember back a couple of months ago, when you said you pay more property tax then I ever would? Yeap, you would be still be paying even more at a higher millage.

Nemesis

Merging has to be the most idiotic move conceivable. The unproductive of Sandusky will use their greater numbers to bleed Perkins property owners for more money to throw at futile attempts to teach kids who don't want to learn.

UgtaBkdnMe

The "unproductive of Sandusky"? My, aren't you just nasty and arrogant. Why don't you just say what you really mean?

oldpirate

Whole lot of hate being spewed on here. Can anyone say CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY.

Nemesis

And just what would that responsibility entail?

Wald

I'm sick and tired of levy supporters calling those who vote no "uninformed". I mean, you might as well just call no voters dumb. What is it you don't think we understand? How Gunner stole our money from operating fees to build a palatial new high school? How $1.7 million of taxpayer money was wasted on a new stadium? How Gunner doesn't even pay taxes to the district? How open-enrollment has caused overcrowding in our schools, burdening already busy teachers? Don't tell me I don't understand; I understand perfectly well. Gunner and the BOE have made their bed, now they can lie in it. They did this to the students, not no voters. Blaming us makes me want to vote no even more. Maybe the levy supporters are uninformed about the realities of their community. People can't afford to support Gunner's grandiose new school. I wouldn't trust him with my money as far as I could throw him. A levy just passed in May, now he wants more. It doesn't make much sense to ask for a bigger building levy than the one that just lost by a landslide. Arrogance at its finest. Vote no to the August new school levy!

UgtaBkdnMe

Wald, I have read all of your posts and they make a lot of sense. You clearly have a valid point of view. What I don't understand is how you have made numerous, unfavorable comments about Huron residents who support our board's action of removing Fred Fox. It make no sense! Looks like the shoe is on the other foot. If I were a Perkins resident, I would want to see Gunner go but let's be honest, at least he isn't breaking laws. Your board would be lucky to have our "three stooges"!

Wald

Fox made personal mistakes but he effectively ran the school system and was cleared by the state. His ousting was based on personal vendettas of the stooges, not fireable offenses.

UgtaBkdnMe

If his "personal mistakes" were blown out of proportion, why is the OEC on round four of the investigation process? Filing an allegation with the OEC is not an easy task. There is a lot of screening before the agency will even send out an allegation form. What has Gunner done that warrants an investigation? I am not saying that Gunner is good for Perkins but he hasn't violated his contract like Fox. But as long as we have an excellent rating, it's ok - right?

Wald

Where did I say that Gunner should be investigated? Where did I say Fox's indiscretions were blown out of proportion? You're only hearing what you want to hear, like the stooges.

UgtaBkdnMe

No, you are reading what YOU want to read. My point is that you criticize your super and boe and it's ok but yet you criticized our district for taking care of its problems. I am hearing the pot call the kettle black. I personally don't have an opinion of what is going on in Perkins and not being a resident, it really isn't any of my business. You sure can get wound up about what happens in Huron. Why is that when you live in Perkins?

Wald

Wrong is wrong no matter where a person lives. The stooges are on the leash of the football coach in Huron and fired Fox because of personal vendetta. What Fox did was personally wrong but not a fireable offense according to the state of Ohio. What's so hard to understand?

Strong Schools ...

I have noticed that there are a lot of bloggers that do not live in Perkins. Frankly, their voice means nothing. Start paying our taxes before you start judging us. I am so tired of hearing them whine but they choose to sit on their comouters all day and do nothing about the situation! Support our students and vote yes!

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

UgtaBkdnMe

I feel the same way but I am just returning the courtesy to BooBeeDoo, Nemesis, and Wald. They were very active on the Fred Fox blogs. I have been having conversations with them.

Nemesis

Ugta, you just don't get it.

TWO DIFFERENT SITUATIONS - but you can't get your head around someone drawing two different conclusions on the fate of the superintendents.

Ever watch Sesame Street as a kid? "One of these things is not like the other....."

UgtaBkdnMe

I did watch Sesame Street. Want to know what's different about the two situations? You, BooBeeDoo, and Wald don't live in Huron!!!!!!! Me thinks you might be a relative of someone directly involved in the Huron mess because you are really getting worked up.

Darkhorse

An operating levy means more money for the teachers. You are feeding the union with higher wages and benefits. The situation is not sustainable. Long ago, they just taught plain old school and now there are sports, music, art, etc. Let's get back to basic. How do you account for the added 2 percent increase since May? The schools need to cut the fat.

Strong Schools ...

This does not mean more money for the teachers. Our teachers have given a lot over the years to help the financial situation. If anything, the teachers have been trying their best to help the district. The teachers have been on a salary freeze for at least the past three years and have taken an increase on their insurance.

We want to keep the programs that are already in place. If the levy fails, we will loose them. Our students depend on the arts, academics, and athletics to be successful. These opportunities help mold a well rounded student.

Nemesis

Yeah, about that salary freese - it's a scam. They eliminate the cost of living increases and call it a freeze, counting on widespread ignorance of the step increase schedule.

All those programs can be maintained by simply returning the funds they stole from the operating budget to feed their building fund.

Vote4Perkins

Along with a salary freeze....they have increase insurance...so actually they are giving up money...

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Common Sense

Cut the extras and you cut the chances for the students to be accepted in to great colleges. Cut the extras and you will see an increase in juvenile crime (nothing to do). Cut the extras and you will see the community fade. As our schools go, so will our community. Once again, the question you ask could be addressed at a BOE meeting. Attend and become informed.Again, this was a response to Darkhorse, but it is a benefit to all.

Wald

There are so many things wrong with this post it's laughable. You're basically saying a student that goes to a school with no extras can't go to a great college? So inner-city students with no extras don't have a chance, huh? All students not involved in extras are criminals, huh? That's awfully arrogant of you. You ought to choose a different username.

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