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

fifteenthgreen

Oye!

JDBOSUFAN

People should see this as on opportunity to return to the Sandusky school system or open enroll into Sandusky. You're not going to pay to play or sing or act. And, contrary to popular belief, you can get an EXCELLENT education at Sandusky.

underthebridge

Go to http://www.perkinsschools.org/Bo... and read the notes for the special meeting on 3-6-2013.

I'm not satisfied with Gunner's response, but finally people are asking about the district's "Effective" rating.

Also, the prospect of an academy model/facility with "Blended Learning" combining traditional instruction with technology instruction is also addressed. Given the declines in academic standing under this administration's leadership, I've got concerns about this.

fifteenthgreen

Go to Perkins, you may get Mesothelioma ? Really? Comparing this to Clyde?

Board meeting minutes:

Ann Wells, a senior in the District, said she lives in a single parent home and her Mom is living on a teacher’s salary. The family cannot afford to have three teenage children and pay an additional $20 a month. She questions why a family needs to pay more money for a school building that the community does not need. Mr. Gunner replied that the $20 extra a month is for comprehensive plans that address both the operational needs and the facilities needs of the District. He said that she may think the building is OK, but it is not.

People in Clyde thought Clyde was OK, and now what are they finding out. He said he does not want to be the superintendent 20 years later that knew about all of the massive asbestos in the building and did nothing about it. He does not want to see people suffering from mesothelioma because the Board did not address a hazard in the building.

Vote Informed

Despite what you may think, the new building plans ARE on hold. This levy is to generate funds for the school for the lack of state funding. I agree with Dr. Gunner, and being at the high school for the board meetings and looking at the school, you can immediately tell its a health hazard. But despite what other users might be telling others, this levy is NOT for a new building. If you have any further questions, you can ask the board at http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx

fifteenthgreen

If there is any threat that these children, teachers, staff and public could even remotely get sick from being in those schools, why are we still using them?

Bherrle

In response to your question "If there is an immediate threat that these children, teachers, staff and public could even remotely get sick from being in those schools, why are we still using them?"

You repeatedly reference cancer, and I believe are characterizing Dr. Gunner's comments out of context on this issue as "immediate". The risks are serious for sure. I'm not an expert on this at all, hopefully someone who knows more on the issue to speak more on it. Chronic exposure to asbestos is a known health risk. Has been known for over 30 years now. Undisturbed (contained) asbestos is not an every day health risk in itself, but as the materials that the asbestos is contained in (ceilings, insulation, etc) age, risk increases that the asbestos can be released into the air slowly. If a piece of ceiling starts to separate or cracks. If asbestos containing floor tile comes apart, or as asbestos containing insulation (usually used around water pipes) ages and separates, same threat. This poses a health risk to anyone in the building, past or present. Which is one of the reasons why since 2010 the school board and Supt. have supported and recommended plans to do exactly what you say in another post - Tear them down and build new ones. This is only one reason, but an important one, why Dr. Gunner, the board, the state facilities commission, and two 25 person committees (represented by the community) have recommended buiding new for some time now. I have not spoken to Dr. Gunner specifically on this issue, and I have not read or heard in full context what his comments were, but even outside of full context I can say he is correct, at least as far as the chronic exposure and long-term health concerns.

I would also add the performing renovations on buildings containing asbestos vs. not containing is much higher risk, and requires specially trained personnel and equipment. It is much more expensive than normal renovation, which is a reason why the projected renovation costs of the high school building alone exceeded 80% of tearing down and building a new, modern educational facility.

Why hasn't that happened you ask? There is not one single reason, but a combination of things. State funding continues to decrease. Did you know that Perkins receives less money (actual dollars) from the state in 2013 than it did in 2002? I didn't till yesterday. HB 920 is antiquated - while it importantly protects farmers from rapidly rising taxes on their land, it is destructive to overall school funding. Some balance needs to be struck there, that protects farmers, but also funds the schools in a more progressive manner. I don't mean take more money from the farmers. But no state congressman seems willing to take on the issue, for fear of political suicide. Other factors include starting in 2010, the voting public chose to "vote no" to a levy that would have been more than matched with Federal interest free loans, specified for captial use. That was the "once in a lifetime opportunity", to address the facility concerns now and far into the future with the significant help of Federal interest free loans. Had that levy passed, the districts financial situation would have been solidified well into the future. The district still needs to address facility concerns (as you have agreed above) now and far into the future, but the Federal interest free loans are gone. The public feels cheated because millage was moved from outside to inside. While that move advanced the schools cash flow problems by a year or two, long term it will generate much more revenue and reduce if not eliminate the need for future levies. Plus, that money is not gone, it is simply set aside to be used for PI needs. However, by law, it cannot be simply "moved back." The explanation to all this one is pretty long and complicated, I won't attempt it on a blog. But I'd be glad to meet with anyone in person to explain it. So would Dr. Gunner. A second levy attempt failed in May 2013. Overall, only one additional funds levy, 2.9 mills, has been passed in 18 years.

fifteenthgreen

So how long do you forecast until we need a new school to ensure the safety of everyone involved. August? November?

Bherrle

15th,

In response to your question "So how long do you forecast until we need a new school to ensure the safety of everyone involved. August? November?"

I am not qualified to give that answer. I would recommend you viewing the facility reports that are avaulable on the Perkins Local Schools website, and/or contact the firms that have inspected the districts buildings.

underthebridge

I don't think he's taking Gunner's comments out context. Gunner referenced "Clyde" which a known cancer cluster in the area of an unknown origin.

Bherrle

Under,

You are correct, Clyde is an area of know cancer cluster. From years worth of repeated exposure to "something" toxic. The focus latley seems to be related to testing ground/waters where Whirlpool used to dump waste. I'm not saying that is the cause, that is just the latest I've seen. But Clyde is a classic case of chornic exposure leading to deadly disease.

The Health issue in our school buildings is just one facet of why either extensive renovation or new buildings are needed, but it is an important one. Long-term exposure to asbestos can be harmful. Asbestos has been outlawed in building materials since I believe 1984-85. The longer the asbestos remains in the buildings, the greater chance that those in the building are being exposed to it. Ours is not the only school, or building for that matter, in the state or country that has asbestos in it. But you will find that eventually, everyone who is responsible for a buidling with asbestos in it will tell you that they would like to either get the asbestos out, or tear down and building new.

underthebridge

Brad - you asked why 15th mentioned cancer. I'm suggesting that it wasn't !5 who brought that up. It was Gunner at that meeting and I think it is a way to incite fear.

fifteenthgreen

Only "Effective"? When did this change? It's ok though. Just an "oversimplification". Gunner has a twisted answer for everything.....just ask him.

Mr. Kuiesza then indicated that he is not happy with the “Effective” rating. He said the District should be “Excellent with Distinction”. He said that rating is telling him that the students are not getting the best education. Mr. Gunner said that is an oversimplification of what the rating details. He said that he and the Board are not happy with the rating, and the Administration and Staff are working very hard to get our students’ scores higher. To do that, the District needs all programs in place and not to dismantle the programs.

44870 South

If this whole thing were a good idea, there wouldn't be almost 1,000 comments about it. Perkins residents, the answer is staring you straight in the face - VOTE NO. And don't be so naive to think they aren't going to be asking for even MORE in the near future. Hopefully when they do though, it will be under new leadership and not on the heels of embarrassing and irresponsible fiscal decisions made by these clowns running the show. My mind is made up on this issue..VOTE NO. Your children will thrive in whatever school district you send them. WHY? Because the vast majority of us are GOOD parents, and that is the key to our childrens' success. Show your children what it means to stand up and maintain your convictions. There's only so much money - and that goes for everybody...I can take the extra 60 bucks a month this is going to cost me and put it into my kids college savings...not give it to a bunch of people who are going to waste it under the guise of "saving the children"...They are doing just the opposite, setting our children up to have to pay for this mess!

Strong Schools ...

Good parents do not jeopardize their child's education. Our children will have a harder time going to college if they do not get the opportunity to excel in academics, athletics, and the arts. All of these components prepare our children for the real world and the future. Scholarships are hard to come by without these opportunities.

Our money will not be wasted when this levy passes. The district will be able to afford the regular operational expenses.

fifteenthgreen

No, we just jeopardize their health and well being until we finally get a levy passed??? Do the buildings need to come down immediately or not? Which is it? Can someone answer this for me, please?

Don't get me wrong, Strong Schools. I hear you, but this is so unbelievably twisted that it's hard for anyone to make any sense out of this campaign. Even you have to agree with that.

Bherrle

15th,

In response to your post: "No, we just jeopardize their health and well being until we finally get a levy passed??? Do the buildings need to come down immediately or not? Which is it? Can someone answer this for me, please? Don't get me wrong, Strong Schools. I hear you, but this is so unbelievably twisted that it's hard for anyone to make any sense out of this campaign. Even you have to agree with that."

My answer would be that two 25 person community represented committees, at least one independent inspection firm, the District Superintendent, and the Board of Education have all been saying since 2009-2010 that new buidlings were needed. The sooner the better, see my previous post to Underthebridge on this issue.

I'd like to understand better what "is so unbelievably twisted" about this campaign? I'm not being smart, I genuinely want to here your perspective.

44870 South

Don't you dare suggest that parents who don't vote for this levy are jeopardizing their children's education. That is insulting...We HAVE other choices! Perkins is not some utopia and the only place my children can get a quality education. Now my children can't get scholarships unless they go through the Perkins School System? They better get a full-ride then considering the hefty price tag getting educated there comes with..."The district will be able to afford the regular operational expenses"....PLEASE...the district would have been able to afford these "regular operational expenses" hadn't they moved millions of dollars. Once again, please explain why a multi-million dollar athletic complex was built when we needed the money for all of these "regular operations"??? PLEASE EXPLAIN!

Bherrle

South - it's already been explained, numerous times. The answers to the stadium, the answers to the millage move. You obviously disagree with those explanations, and that's OK. You will vote no, and that's OK too. I'd be glad to call you on election day to remind you to go vote. I do not believe the previous post was meant to indicate that "your children can't get scholarships unless they go through the Perkins School System." My take on what was meant is that we want Perkins to remain on the cutting edge of the educational spectrum. Not doing so will make it more difficult for all graduates of Perkins. I forget who posted that, but poster, please correct me if I am wrong in what you meant.

As far as a hefty price tag, I would encourage you to take another look at that too. Perkins school district has consistently spent less per student than most schools in Erie County (all but one I believe) and less than the state average also. In 2011, Perkins spent $9,996 dollars per student, while the state average was $10,696. A full seven hundred dollars per student less. The school (I don't know which school it was) that spent less than Perkins was at $9,403. Perkins is being responsible with taxpayer money. I understand that some don't agree with the stadium, some don't agree with the millage move, some don't agree with the need for new facilities, etc. That's ok. But the officials that were elected to be responsible for the district feel otherwise. That's not being smug. It's doing what they feel is right. On the flip side of the coin, there would be a whole group of people scraming at them to build new facilities if they were against it. Either way, they get the criticism.

44870 South

Well Bherrle, I guess "the officials" got it wrong didn't they??? Because there's pushing a thousand comments on this issue...."It's doing what they feel is right"....You don't make decisions based on FEELINGS! You make decisions based on ADDITION! They apparently couldn't add when they layed the first brick...and you want me to trust they will be better at adding in the future??? C'mon!

Bherrle

South,

The number of comments to me means nothing. There are both for and against comments being made repeatedly by the same group of people. I'd estimate that they are 2% or less of all total potential voters blogging here.

You are twisting my words now. So, let's replace "feel is right" with "know has to be done", or "what should be done." I'm not suggesting emotion be involved in these decisions at all. Saying the problem is about "addition" is oversimplifying a very complex problem, in my opinion.

I don't want you do to anything specific other than to make sure you are fully informed. I'm not suggesting you aren't, this goes for yes supporters too. Like I said to Gadfly, I'll gladly call you and remind you to vote on election day. Even if you call me the day before and say "Brad, I'm still voting no." I believe they can be trusted, and that they are making good decisions, and I'll continue to try to report the facts. You have the right to disagree with me, and vice-versa.

Vote Informed

South- How can you even say that a no vote isn't jeopardizing our children's education? First off, if the levy fails, 14 teachers will loose their jobs. Also, if this levy fails, the Pay to Play fees will increase which will result in less students involved in extra curricular activities. Colleges want students who are well rounded, and that involves extra curriculars. You're jeopardizing the quality of our phys ed, music, and art programs because if this levy fails, the classroom teachers will have to teach them, not the teachers who specialize in that area. A yes vote is the clear answer here. And a no vote will only punish our children, the future of this community.

44870 South

And....therefore, based on the fact that the board of education and its fearless leader has jeopardized our children's education, we all as parents have the right to send our children elsewhere...don't put this burden on the parents, and those of us who disagree with what they have done. This is all the fault of the current leadership. A NO vote is not a vote against the kids or teachers...its a statement that says "we disagree with your leadership and the tactics you have used"...unfortunately until this current regime is dismantled, there will be some suffering and sacrifices along the way...

Vote Informed

My children are extremely worried about this levy. If this levy fails, the entire school system and community will be affected. My kids won't be able to participate in all of their activities. And not punishing the teachers?! 14 teachers will loose their jobs, and you don't consider that a punishment from the no voters? If you don't like the leadership, then vote them out! And even if you enroll your kids into another school, your property value will go down. And that's a fact. Vote YES for the students and teachers!

Bherrle

South,

Yes, you have the right to send your children elsewhere, and if you feel that is what in their best interest, then I encourage you to do just that. That is your decision.

I disagree about tactics. I don't see tactics being used at all. I see the board and super being very open with information. In my opinion, a "NO VOTE" on the levy because you want the board and super removed is a mis-guided vote. You are hurting the students and teachers, to send a message to the board, in my opinion, when instead you could simply vote two of them out in November, if you chooe to do so. That allows you to vote on the levy based on it's own merits, and if your vote on the levy is still "no", then that's OK.

MrGadfly

This levy situation is about one thing to those of us who believe in America and the values of our country.

The right to vote.

With the present manipulation of millage by the superintendent and school board the present and future citizens will abdicate their right to vote on buildings.

What is your vote worth? Are you willing to give that right up to pass this levy?

Until the millage is returned, to its voted on use, this question will be a issue in the Perkins district.

This levy is not about money. It's about your rights and if they have any value to you.

Do they?

Bherrle

MrGadfly,

I respectfully disagree. There was nothing illegal, unethical, or immorral about the millage move. The state gives that right soley to the board of education of each district, and it also denies the public a vote on that issue. The taxpayers do get to vote on outside millage, which they have repeatedly voted no to providing any additional funds.

I understand that you want a vote on that issue, and you want a vote on the building issue (whether one gets built), and that you and others feel that is a right the taxpayers should have. I again respectfully disagree. We elect the people who make those decisions. Not unlike many issues decided at the state or national level. If I want a specific vote on those issues, then I'll run for the board.

Aside from that, the millage move, while creating a cash issue a year or two earlier than would have happened, will save the district (thus the taxpayers) money for years to come.

Our right to vote is preserved in that board members come up for re-election every four years.

sandtown alum

I hate to say it this way but welcome to the real world Perkins Schools! School districts all over Ohio have been dealing with these budget cuts from the State. People don't truly understand how tax dollars flow from the State and therefore don't understand that the money just isn't there anymore. If you make $30k a year and your salary is cut by $5k, will you still give your kids money to go to CP or the movies or Goofy Golf? Probably not, unless you use credit to live the same lifestyle you were living before the reduction. Schools are no different. The money isn't there and there has to be cuts. It is the schools responsiblity to provide an education. If the BOE has to decide between $ for sports or keeping a classroom, what should they chose? Our school district closed several elementary schools, laid off many really good teachers and added the play to pay. Our classrooms went from 20-25 students to 30+. It's been a very rough transition but we did it because we didn't have a choice!! I know that our school district did everything they could to run a tight ship, they never had the opportunity to have wasteful spending. Perkins residents need to get educated and not blame all the people in the administration. Do you really think they want to be the ones to deliver this bad news and actually make the cuts? They have the weight of the entire school district on them, I can't believe they take that responsibilty lightly. I don't know what's best for your school district but the reality of budget cuts is here and there can be substantial changes coming down the pike, get informed and do what's best for the students!

fifteenthgreen

Perkins Local Schools loses it's "excellence with distinction" rating and has been downgraded to "effective". Why? How and when did this happen?

fifteenthgreen

Pride, Tradition, Efficient!

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