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

Comments

Strong Schools ...

Stay strong supporters! And another fact about Perkins Local Schools!

• If levy passes Perkins District will still be operating at 7 mils
lower than the state average.

JPB

Can someone explain to me why a "No" vote on an operational school levy is good for the students or the community?

citizen

My goodness, you cannot be that dense.

THIS IS NOT AN OPEARTIONAL LEVY. THIS IS A BUILDING LEVY.

Gunner and Board took out a $3,000,000 loan from Citizens Bank to design and plan a new high school so it is ready to go as soon as they can get a levy passed.

If this was truly an operations levy, I may vote for it (even though Perkins Schools currently operates with no fiscal restraint at all). But THIS IS NOT AN OPERATIONS LEVY.

THIS IS A BUILDING LEVY.

Strong Schools ...

Oh my goodness, are you still living in the past? The state budget changes weekly if not daily. The state is supposed to have their financial numbers submited bu July 1. As of now, they gave cut 2 million from Perkins. We got hit hard! We got hit more than other districts in our area. And we still could lose more money form the state.

We need to pass this levy so we can keep the amazing programs we have in place! The state has cut our budget and we have not passed a levy for new money in 13 years. It is time to do what is right for our students. Stay focused on today!!! We need to provide a bright future for our students and our community.

Citizen, get off the buildings and start attending board meetings!

Edwin Ison

Some would say it will keep the current leadership from saddling the community with a 50 million dollar debt it neither wants or needs.

This whole fiasco reminds me of the Ebeneezer Church building project.

citizen

Only in the mind of Perkins Schools administrators can an organization be on the brink of financial ruin and "dismantling" themselves, yet turn around and take out a $3 million loan to design new facilities.

Either they are lying to taxpayers, or they are so totally inept as leaders and strategists that their top priority while on the cusp of financial ruin is to build new facilities.

Strong Schools ...

Vote Yes and Support our Students!

• The cost per month for the average homeowner $25.76 for a
$150,000 home value.

pigeon farmer

It is time to force the students to give their soul to Jesus. KNOW JESUS NO BUDGET PROBLEMS. PRAYER IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE BUDGET SHORT FALLS!!!!!! Tear down the new stadium and build a shrine to JESUS.

Strong Schools ...

WHAT???

JPB

But the building is in the past and the situation is what it is. So your angry with Gunner/BOE and to teach them some kind of arbitrary reason and to show them they can't push you around, you are willing to harm the students, the community and therefore yourself. Even if your opinion is that Gunner/BOE made terrible choices and put the community's back against the wall, the only choice to not harm the student's at this point is to vote "Yes".

pigeon farmer

HIRE SARAH PALIN SHE HAS REAL EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE. CONSERVATIVE VALUES AND THE BIBLE WILL SAVE PERKINS SCHOOLS. TERMINATION OF NON-CHRISTIAN STAFF AND EXPULSION OF NON-CHRISTIAN STUDENTS IS THE FINAL SOLUTION.

Strong Schools ...

WHAT???

regstadtmiller

b

JPB

Everything I have learned indicates this is an immediate crisis for our schools, community and children. All that matters NOW is what are we going to do as parents and proud citizens to avert this crisis? Vote "Yes" to save our children's education!

fifteenthgreen

Not a crisis yet, JPB. The teachers being cut fortunately are getting paid through the summer. We don't go to the polls tomorrow. You still have time to educate the public and achieve the goal of saving teacher's jobs and assuring the children will get a quality education. It's hard work asking people for their money though, isn't it? There's good people on here that care. They just want to be heard. Keep at it!

AEversole

For all you people crying about the open enrollment and the students from sandusky going to Perkins, Don't you think that these kids that are our future workforce deserve the best education possible, or does that only apply to the kids whose parents make 100,000 a year . So the kids that are less fortunate can stay less fortunate, that makes sence. I realize that Perkins property taxes are high and if the levy passes they will raise, but theses kids deserve the opportunity to take art, music, and have extra activities that will mold these kids into successful well rounded and educated citizens. How can a single mom pay 730$ for her kid to play sports, what if she has two kids in high school together. WOW! It doesn't seem fair. I guess in Perkins only the wealthy get the good education and the poor have to settle for a cut rate ( poor mans) education. You rich snobs who cry about a few hundred dollars coming out of your pockets over the year are putting our future economy at risk. I don't know how you can sleep at night

AEversole

For all you people crying about the open enrollment and the students from sandusky going to Perkins, Don't you think that these kids that are our future workforce deserve the best education possible, or does that only apply to the kids whose parents make 100,000 a year . So the kids that are less fortunate can stay less fortunate, that makes sence. I realize that Perkins property taxes are high and if the levy passes they will raise, but theses kids deserve the opportunity to take art, music, and have extra activities that will mold these kids into successful well rounded and educated citizens. How can a single mom pay 730$ for her kid to play sports, what if she has two kids in high school together. WOW! It doesn't seem fair. I guess in Perkins only the wealthy get the good education and the poor have to settle for a cut rate ( poor mans) education. You rich snobs who cry about a few hundred dollars coming out of your pockets over the year are putting our future economy at risk. I don't know how you can sleep at night

Pirate Mom

Perkins property taxes are not high. They obviously are higher than most if your house is valued higher than most. Taxes haven't risen because of school levies in 13 years. My children are grown and gone but I will vote for this levy the way older parents did when my kids were in school.

Thomas Paine

JPB- Everything I have gotten from the district, from the county and others points to the same, thing, this levy is a need and a point of no return for the district. We can argue the what, when, why all day. The fact is this is where we are. If you feel the board and superintendent are equally responsible as the state and its policies for the mess then by all means vote out the board members. But the fact is it is an operational Levy. The reasons why it is are many. The PI money cannot be moved back to solve the problem, what is done is done. It is your right to disagree with the board and vote them out in November- but I 100% agree with Bherrie you cannot combine the board vote and the operational vote. I also agree that you cannot trade a yes vote for the ouster of the board and supt. That being said, maybe its time for the board to make a difficult and positive political move and fire Gunner? They may not want to do that, he may bring a lot to the table that the public doesn't see but he has been a polarizing figure in his short tenure. Right or Wrong. It wouldn't guarantee a yes vote but it may gain some public goodwill by the move. I will be voting yes strictly based on the info I have received and researched. Its not a vote of confidence in the board or Gunner by any means, but it is a vote of confidence that this community can move forward and get over the negativity.

Bherrle

Well stated Paine.

citizen

This levy is needed to build a new high school building.

If this levy is passed, when does construction start?

Recently, the Board and Gunner took out a $3,000,000 loan from Citizens Bank to design this building.

Why would they do this if the new facilities is "off the table."

I just want a straight answer on that. Gunner is calling this an operations levy... yet as soon as it is passed, they are going to start digging for the new school.

beesknees

There have been questions raised concerning the cost of the laptops. The following is lifted directly from the Perkins Local School District audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, page 42:

Capital Lease Obligation - Apple Equipment: During fiscal years 2009, 2011 and 2012, the District entered into capitalized leases for computers and equipment. All leases meet the criteria of a capital
lease as defined by FASB Statement No. 13, “Accounting for Leases” which defines a capital lease generally as one which transfers benefits and risks of ownership to the lessee. Capital lease payments have been reclassified and are reflected as debt service expenditures in the basic financial statements. These expenditures are reflected as program/fun ction expenditures on a budgetary basis. A total of $4,117,154 of computer equipment has been acquired under the capital leases. Of this total, $3,746,273 has not been capitalized as the computer equipment does not meet the District’s capitalization threshold. The remaining computer equipment, $370,881, has been capitalized as a capital asset equal to the present value of the future minimum lease payments at the time of acquisition. Accumulated depreciation on the capitalized computer equipment as of June 30, 2012, was $28,435, leaving a current book value of $342,446. Principal payments in the 2012 fiscal year totaled $1,185,745. This amount is reported as debt service payments in the debt service fund (a nonmajor governmental fund).

fifteenthgreen

Thank you, beesknees!

arnmcrmn

This forum has been taken over by all the non supporters. Can they close this already? Its not like we haven't heard the same thing over and over and over again.

beesknees

Information regarding the District’s general fund balance may be of interest. The following is extracted from the Perkins Local School District audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, page 9:

The District’s general fund balance decreased $2,280,651 during fiscal year 2012. During fiscal year 2012, the District authorized an unvoted permanent improvement levy and moved inside millage from the general fund to the permanent improvement fund. This action, as well as lower advances available from the Erie County auditor, resulted in a 14.41% decrease in general fund property tax revenue.

streak

I have one question that I need a yes or no answer too. Did the board spend 1.7 million dollars of taxpayers money to finish the stadium? Enough said, the leadership and fiscal responsibility has been terrible. This problem didn't happen over night, it has been years of not looking ahead and not being smart with money.

Bherrle

Yes. The facts as I know them are that $1.7M of taxpayer money was used to build a $3.4M stadium.

I also understand that it probably would have cost upwards of $1M or more to make necessary repairs to the old track and stadium, field, bleachers, etc.

In my opinion, it was a good decision. Perhaps poorly communicated to the public, but long term it was the right thing to do.

RMyer

Bherrie-if you have the time, follow this link to get an explanation of the past 7 year history of the facility issue. It will take a bit of time to read, but it will bring you up to speed since you mentioned that you were new to the district. Also, the facility reports are still posted on the district web page.

http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do...

Bherrle

Thank you R Myer. Appreciate help in getting right to the facts.

fifteenthgreen

bherrle is correct. 1.7 million was spent by the school district for the stadium.

My question is: Was the condition as bad as St. Mary's stadium? No. Because they obviously use Sandusky's stadium. Why didn't we use Huron's stadium as proposed until the funds were entirely generated through public donation, etc...? We had to know this crisis was on the horizon.

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