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.”

Click here for related articles, video and photos. 

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



Hey Bobshumway92....Just stick with your "vote no, vote no".....this way, you won't have to continually duck when someone swings the idiot stick. That welt has got to be about the size of a golf ball now, doesn't it? :-)

Strong Schools ...



I rankly find it insulting that people will imply because the people who have no discipline and self control with their own bodies and health,living lives of excess, will be less likely to be good stewards of other people's money-after having unethically pried that money from the taxpayers hands. This is an unfair extrapolation of these people's character.


Gunner isn't going anywhere anytime soon.


maybe some can ask why gunner has a salary of Gunner, James Superintendent Assignment Perkins Local Perkins Local $117,200.00 yr 235 days


Want to know why schools are having such a hard time passing levies? Our population is aging and most senior citizens can't afford higher property taxes. The current way schools are funded was determined unconstitutional and nothing has been done. Write your congressman and suggest an earned income tax to fund schools, this will put the burden on those that are working and take the burden from those on fixed incomes. In the smaller communities where the number of citizens retired is out numbering those working there will be no need to ask for a levy that will be shot down, they can just adjust the tax on those working to pay for the needs of the schools. No one that has worked their entire life to have a nice house should be forced out of it because of higher taxes when they are on a fixed income.


Maybe they should come up with something that requires people with children in the school system pay more than those who do not. If you have 5 kids in the system and no job, (not saying you do, just an example) and I have no kids and a very good job, why should I have to pay for your kids' education? Something to think about.


You benefit even when your own children graduate. Your grandchildren benefit. Every citizen benefits because we have an educated work force. Every child should graduate and be prepared for more training/learning in preparation for their chosen vocation/career.


Eriemom is right, and I would add that a desirable school district enhances property value. Supply and demand, the more people want to move into the district, the more demand there will be for existing or new homes.

I used to feel the same way you do "doppleganger". But as I have experienced life, my viewpoint changed. Yes, I have kids in the district, but that does not make me biased.

character counts

Fromthe419 ..... Are you kidding me? You want all of the responsibility to lay on the working class because you want everything to remain as is for your comfortable lifestyle. The working class at this point is already taking a higher hit from the government, paying into a social security that they won't even receive any benefits from, raising families, buying houses------theses are all things that keep our economy going. So YOU would like to tax them harder while someone else that was on a fixed income helped to provide YOUR child's education. The baby boomers....which I'm sure your somewhere in that vicinity...will deplete social security, double dip by retiring and then re-hiring, and now expect people that are working are taxed higher. Newsflash to you.....look at the percentage of people unemployed in this country, tax the working ones higher so that they can not build a life (similar to yours or what you did) and then in turn take them out an already stifling economy. You arn't looking at the whole picture, and what makes everyone successful...Again another person looking at their own personal agenda! I would be interested to hear what your response would be to that 20 years ago when you were apart of the working community. That was one of the most selfish and hainess comments I have ever read...Change your name to "Meit's all aboutme" that is way more fitting.


I consider your silence as an apology. You are right about the double dipping, but don't blame the baby boomers for social security failing, blame the government that spent those funds on Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, foreign aid, corporate welfare, etc. Blame a Federal Reserve system that creates money as debt and creates inflation and the need for more taxation. Let's face it, the Government is broke, the states are broke, the cities are broke, the schools are broke and lastly the citizens are broke. No easy solution.

character counts

and the more I thought about it: you don't want to pick up someone else's 'tab' for education, but your expecting someone else to pick up yours....where's the irony in that!


I'm not retired, I'm 45. The current way our schools are funded was determined unconstitutional years ago and nothing has been done about it. Find another way to fund the schools and quit beating up on the retired folk who have passed levies in the past when they had kids in school and no longer have kids in school. I don't want to see my parents or grandmother have to move out of their house because their taxes keep going up and their income is fixed. They worked their entire life to enjoy what little they have in retirement and with energy, food, etc going up, the last thing they need are more taxes.


I feel for the seniors in every community. Many of us will not be able to retire as planned. I know that I lost a boat load in this recession.


close the schools down and just put them all on welfare that's about what 50% will be on when they graduate


If I hear one more time, "you're hurting the students" I'm gonna throw up! Mr. Gunner and the BOE are the ones "hurting the students" .......if they are being hurt at all. Frankly, I think if Gunner cares so much about the students he would take a pay cut, put the operating money back where it belongs, and then maybe the people in Perkins will pass a levy. And if you who are crying "save the students" REALLY want to save them, you'll call for Gunner and the rest of the school board's resignation, since THEY are the ones THREATENING the students with closing down the district and killing sports, band, etc.! Don't tell me I don't care about the kids when the BOE punishes the kids to get their way! We will NOT be strong armed or threatened by someone we don't trust!

Strong Schools ...


You might want to grab your trash can because this community is hurting the students! We will lose programs that our students depend on to be successful everyday and they take these talents with them outside of Perkins.

The administrators of the district have saved the district $126,000 in insurance savings and $75,000 on salary concessions. This is a fact...not emotion. Also, if the inside millage was moved back we would still be on the ballot because of the state cuts to our distrct. The state has cut over 2 million from our budget and we have not passed a levy for new money in 13 years!. Again, Fact not emotional.

Why don't you ask the board and Gunner for their resignation if you are that upset and stop complaining to all of us. Your irresponsible and uneducated actions are threatening the futre of my children. I do blame YOU for trying to take programs away from them that they love. The dynamic programs will only make them successful in the future and they will be able to compete in this fast paced society. We all need to step up and take care of our future or our community will go down the drain! We have to support our students! VOTE YES!


[quote] Your irresponsible and uneducated actions.. [/quote]

Is this your typical response to those that disagree with you? Sad.

Why is it you believe that those who will vote NO on this levy are "irresponsible and uneducated"? As far as the community "hurting your child", that threat/excuse/guilt trip just doesn't fly anymore. You're doing more harm than good with that rhetoric. Right now, I'm not sure which way I'm going to vote, but I can tell you, YOU are pushing me to vote NO just because of your demeanor on here! You're NOT helping your side, trust me.

44870 South



I was at the meeting the other night and was asked to join various committees. With over 700 comments here, clearly the blogging group is doing their job.

But let's face it, we all feel strongly one way or the other. You can leave your positive comments and there is no changing the minds of those who are voting no or have lost trust with Gunner and the board. You are wasting your time. Some of the arrogant comments just make me feel more strongly about not supporting new taxes.

My opinion will not change. It's too bad the school didn't use PI money to maintain their buildings all these years. It's too bad Gunner put new facilities before his people. It's too bad the board won't listen to the voters who they are supposed to represent that overwhelmingly said NO.



The voters "overwhelmingly said NO" to an additional levy. The voters choose not to provide additional funds the board requested for new buildings or renovations. The ballot question was not "Should Perkins build a new school?" Frankly, that is the job of the board and Supt to decide. This district elected these men to the board. That job is to do what they feel is best, whether that be who they choose as Supt, the direction of the facilities issue, or any other issue. Sure, they need to listen to the taxpayers, they need to hear them out, but they do not have vote the way every single taxpayer wants them to vote on every issue. That in fact could never be possible, as there will never be 100% agreement by any tax paying group in the nation.

If enough people don't like the way they vote on the issues, then they'll get voted out. They are doing their jobs (unpaid jobs I believe?), whether you agree with them or not, and being accused of being unethical at the least, and much worse by others.

If the taxpayers want to decide every single issue, then they should all run for the board, do the work behind the scenes, get criticized in public, called names, etc. I'm not saying this board is perfect, but I have to wonder, if they are as bad as some say they are, how did they ever get elected in the first place?


I never said the board should listen to "every single taxpayer". However, they should listen to 65% that don't agree with their plan.

Board members are not "unpaid" either.

Moving inside millage to PI without public vote was legal, indeed. But asking for more operating money to replace what was moved, knowing it will make them financially secure so they can build a new school, is unethical. Can you promise this won't be done Bherrle?

Strong Schools ...

I know the board members work a lot outside of the board meetings making appropraite decisions for our district. True, they get a small stipend for being on the board but they donate it back to the schools. I talked to the treasurer and she gave me the information on this fact. I think it is great the board not only gives their time but their small stipend. Support our Students and Vote Yes!


DLK - +1


I couldn't promise that any more than I can promise any number of things in life. I know you didn't say that, but a lot of people are angry because the board is not doing what they want them to do. It's not the job of an elected official to just blindly do what even the majority his/her constituents want them to do. It's their job to do what they feel is best. They can be replaced by the voters in elections if enoutgh voters choose to do so.

I disagree that 65% of taxpayers disagreed with funding the additional levy. It is my understanding that there are approx 10,000 potential voters (registered and unregistered) in the district. The numbers I saw show that only about 4,000 (40%) of them voted, a sad stat in it's own right. 65% of the 4,000 voted no. That is 25% of the taxpayers. About 15% of all taxpayers voted yes. These are rough numbers, not meant to be exact. 60% of potential voters did not speak at the polls.

Lastly, I believe that public votes on moving inside millage are not legal, it is not allowed by state law. The voters, by state law if I am correct, don't get to decide that issue. They put the men in place who decide that issue.


P.I money has been used to maintain buildings, and buy busses, repave parking lots, buy textbooks, upgrade technology, reroof as needed, replace maintenance equipment, boilers, and so on for four buildings and other facilities. What p.i. money can't take care of is the amount and cost of renovating buildings that have other issues as listed in three separate reviews of the facilities.

The BOE (with different members by the way) started a process to look at the facility issue 7 years ago. All along the way, the call was put out for community members to be involved and to provide suggestions. A few participated; many did not. Numerous public meetings have been held, studies have been conducted, board members and residents who were involved provided input. The board put forward the best plan that is at the least cost to taxpayers. The board is responsible to address facilities and educational programs and general operations of the district. Have you reviewed the different options that the board had to choose from? Is there a better option out there?

There is no easy fix; moving the inside millage back won't correct the financial issues going forward. So, please, if you or others have a specific plan for how to take care of these issues and that works financially and that will be approved by voters, please bring it forward. What would you do?


What your account fails to consider in the intervening 7 years is the recession. When the BOE and Gunner failed to change the course of their plan or even postpone it despite the economic realities for many citizens changing, they showed themselves as out of touch, stubborn, if not arrogant.


True. Out of touch because diversity is lacking. Stubborn? Not so much. Just group think. If everyone that you associate with agree with you then you could believe that "everyone agrees."

Think about it. If your friends, coworkers, and neighbors all agree that a certain program is great and worth funding, then you could believe that everyone in the community thinks as you do.


eriemom - You're so right about the lack of diversity and the group think.