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


Pirate Mom

Not false. I've seen the issues with my own eyes, after reading the reports. Please give me a time and date you would like me to take you to see what I've seen. I would like to show you what is there, without kids to distract you, keeping in mind the condition in which they are educated.

Common Sense

To "Wald",
I could accept that theory, but then tell us this:
1.) What do you consider "the past"?
2.) Many of those who insist they are voting against the levy ARE misinformed or lack any strength in their argument. The same occurs on the flip side of the levy.
3.) I turned my tax dollars over the the federal, state, and county government on a daily basis. I don't trust them with my dollars either, but there's a rather large, red "V" that adorns the front of the township building. Purpose? I would love to know as it looks as if its cost could be used for paving their lot.


I don't assume you are uninformed.

Thomas Paine

Fifteenthgreen I cant believe the arrogance either towards the facilities issues- the approach to this has been horribly managed and conveyed to the public. Its why I blame the board and supt for not getting a levy passed. However voting no in this election does nothing. My thought process is this, I am investing with a yes vote so the future board and supt has something to work with and hopefully realizes the first repairs that need to be done are the public trust and goodwill.


A no vote does do something.

Do you really think if this levy gets turned down again, Gunner and Board are going to go through with these cuts and build a new school on top of it. Remember, Gunner has stated on videos on the Register website if this levy does not pass, he will have to "dismantle the district" and that the Perkins community will "no longer have a school district."

Is he really going to "dismantle the district" but build a brand new high school building. A no vote stops Gunner and Board from building a new, unneeded, taxpayer-denied facility. VOTE NO TO STOP GUNNER'S BUILDING.

Edwin Ison

The majority of the Perkins community does not want a $50 million new building complex.
They also don't want a $30 million building complex.
If the school board would announce that the millage were to be moved back and a new, smaller levy were to be used for operations.
The money in the PI fund that cannot be returned be used to freshen up the current facilities, I bet the community would respond positively.
There are alternatives to the doomsday scenarios painted by Buddha.
You all remember the 8 day extravaganza to China?

Thomas Paine

Wald- It what the internet does- a lot of people on these boards are just negative with nothing to go on. Much like the naysayers that automatically assume a conspiracy is happening with no leg to stand on(there are plenty), the yes voters technically do the same thing and automatically assume as well and group any no voters with them.

Thomas Paine

Edwin, I would assume those alternatives have been looked at and debated by the board. This whole thing is really about the ability of the board to communicate with the public in a way that doesn't offend them. (which obviously isn't easy after reading some of the bizarre posts on here) I find it hard to believe they are intentionally sabotaging themselves and any hope of this levy passing by not looking at all the alternatives.


Gunner and the Board's only goal is to build an expansive, state-of-the-art, all the bells and whistles new campus. They will do WHATEVER it takes for that to happen (as has been demonstrated by their willingness to place their agenda above the education of the district's students against 2 taxpayer votes).

Edwin's ideas seem pretty reasonable and spot-on. If the Board would ditch this brand new building/campus idea, make some reasonable cuts, they wouldn't be in such a bad financial position. I'd then probably vote in favor of a new, smaller OPERATIONS levy. I will never vote for a BUILDING LEVY, particularly when the district is allegedly at the brink of financial ruin and about to dismantle themselves.... the LAST thing they need to do is start building new facilities.

Thomas Paine

Politically this administration has been atrocious.


Why do you keep insisting it's PR or politics they are bad at?

Gunner and this Board are not just bad at public relations and communications, they are terrible leaders. They are fiscally irresponsible. They lie and are deceitful. They prioritize building needs ahead of direct educational needs.

Please stop saying they are bad at communicating and PR. They are just flat out terrible leaders. Perkins Schools just had a $1M+ operating surplus last year. Perkins Schools are now on the brink of financial ruin, is what we are told by Gunner. He's the CEO of the school. That's not about PR. That's about being a horrible financial manager.




This is a financial fiasco. What is the job description of our treasurer? Doesn't she work for the Board as well?

Strong Schools ...

You need to put yourself in their seat. I have attended the board meetings and I feel they have been honest with their decisions. A lot of people have not attended the board meetings in the past and therefore they do not receive the factual information. They may not be the best communicators, but they do investigate different options to financially help our district. Their opinions were laid out earlier this year in a board meeting and they shared all of the oprions with the people. They chose the best option for our situation. They have kept us off the ballot for five years due to their financial responsibility. We are hurting due to state cuts. Everything you say is emotional and not factual!

Just Saying

Forgive me if my question has already been addressed here in this forum, but so not going to read through 642 comments to find out! Does anyone know if pay-to-play applies to students who are eligible for free or reduced lunches? And if so, how many open enrolled students get the free/reduced lunches??

Pirate Mom

The superintendent said at a recent meeting that free lunch candidates do not pay for pay to participate. The reduced lunch candidates will pay to participate. I don't know how many students are in either group.

Just Saying

Thank you for the information. Personally, I don't think free "sports" is along the same line as "free lunches". Sports is an extra, and should be paid by for all. Unfortunately, this fact will sway my vote.


This may be a law and although that may upset people, it is not any different from what happens in our world.

Strong Schools ...

Remember this fact is the law and is out of the district's hands. This is the LAW and we must follow it! Do not blame our students for the state lawmakers.


Yes you can continue to open enroll your kid at Perkins. We will pick up the tab. Don't worry. Long live Sandusky.

"Lower property values hurt school budgets"
"Most Ohio property owners know that they can request a review of their property valuation, usually hoping to decrease the amount. When a property owner requests a valuation that is $50,000 or more lower than the existing one, the law requires notification to the local school district so it can participate or object to the request.

But very few people are aware the law also allows school districts to challenge low valuations and ask that they be raised. This usually happens when a property is sold, as the Hoenings discovered, and most often with commercial, rather than residential, properties."


"Undervalued property taxes result in less money collected for local governments, as well as schools, roads, and emergency services -- including fire, police, and ambulances."

"One way that undervalued property tax assessments affect home prices, however, is making certain neighborhoods more desirable to live in than others. For example, if a home in an exclusive neighborhood has undervalued property taxes, potential buyers might pay a little more than the appraised value in order to live in an area with a low tax footprint."

"15 most undervalued US cities according to Local Market Monitor:"
•Akron, OH – 22%
•Cleveland, OH – 21%
•Dayton, OH – 16%
•Columbus, OH – 16%
•Cincinnati, OH – 15%

I see a trend in Ohio where properties are sold for far more than what they are appraised for tax purposes. What are the real reasons why Ohio schools are hurting for money? Undervalued properties result in less property taxes for school and local governments.

Thomas Paine

Citizen- where are you getting the 1m+ operating figure?


Perkins Schools was just coming out of an over $1M+ surplus in the 2011-12 year.

I do not recall the exact number.

Thomas Paine

The figures I have from the school show a deficit over several years and explains why the levy is a higher figure everytime one fails and another is placed on the ballot. So I am having a hard time accepting your figure. I would like to see the source of your figure so I can read and understand it.


No. Open enrollment actually gave the district a surplus for many years. This is something the school district actually praised themselves for at multiple BOE mtgs (and they should).

Thomas Paine

And for the record I am not trying to be obnoxious. Just don't believe anything on either side of the issues and want my own opinion.


Vote No


Vote no.