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

Vote Informed

Sooner or later we'll pass a levy. But for how much? If this levy fails, not only will we loose 14 teachers and have skyrocketed Pay to Play fees, but we will STILL be in debt, which will mean another levy will be proposed. There's only one way out, and that's to pass this levy. Like I said, we'll pass one sooner or later. And this levy is NOT for a new school. It's for school funds. The Board isn't afraid of your questions! They will answer them and even post them to the public at http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx. I will be voting YES because I believe in strong school systems! I will support our students and our teachers!

citizen

"And this levy is NOT for a new school. It's for school funds."

That is patently false.

The only reason Perkins Schools is, allegedly, in such a dire financial situation that Gunner is about to "dismantle the district" is because he and the Board chose to move millions of dollars from operating funds to a fund to build new facilities.

Gunner recently took on a $3,000,000 loan from Citizens Bank to design and plan a new high school and junior high building.

As soon as this levy passes, construction will begin.

This is a building levy. I cannot make it any simpler for you.

Vote Informed

I attached a link because I figured someone would find something negative to say about my posting, and if you happened to click the link, you would have found that someone directly asked the board what you seem to think is true:

If the levy passes in August, will any of that money be used for new facilities or building renovations?

Answer:

No. This is a general operating levy for the day-to-day operations of the school district. This money will be used for salaries, benefits, supplies and materials to operate the school daily. The Board previously has set aside the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to be used for facility renovation or construction. The Board intends on using the “Inside Millage” funds to address school facility needs sometime in the future. At this time, any building project has been placed on hold until we can stabilize the day-to-day operations of the district.

Citizen, I encourage you to stop spreading false information. This levy is not for the new buildings.

Edwin Ison

What does stabilize the day to day operations mean and how does the district
secure such?

Ibelieve2

For those asking about the district's ranking, I encourage you to go to www.ohio.gov and search school report cards. If you go to the link "view all local report cards" you will be able to look up report cards for the district as well as the individual buildings from previos years. You will notice the year we scored excellent that we actually met less indicators from when we were ranked effective. There is something called value added that played a part in this. You can read more about value added on the report card. There are many factors that contribute to a district's ranking.

Pirate Mom

Ibelieve2...it would be great if people did that, but they won't. YOU know that the bar keeps changing but most on here don't want or need to know. The excuses made change with facts presented by levy supporters. Hopefully the few that really want to know will read your post. The others will just say you're "drinking Gunners KoolAid". Vote yes on August 6!!!!

Vote Informed

I'm with Pirate Mom! VOTE YES!

underthebridge

Here is the more direct link to the report cards for Perkins from the Ohio Department of Education.

http://webapp2.ode.state.oh.us/r...

underthebridge

Here is a brief explanation of the Value-Added Measure.

http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/...

Here is a brief overview of how Perkins has faired on the ODE District Report cards from the previous ODE link.

Furry

08-09 Effectiive
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective

Meadowlawn

08-09 Effective
09-10 Excellent w/Distinction
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective

Briar

08-09 Excellent
09-10 Effective
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective

HS

08-09 Excellent
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Excellent
11-12 Excellent

District (with additional years)

03-04 Effective (Buccieri)
04-05 Effective
05-06 Continuous Improvement
06-07 Continuous Improvement
07-08 Effective (Rechtenwald/Gunner)
08-09 Effective
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective

Perkins seemed to decline significantly with the administration of Buccieri, the strike, etc. Things that have changed over the years include, among other things, the Curriculum Directors.

Subtle

They honestly need to drop the 'mil' specification that most people don't understand. The proposed levy would cost the owner of a 100 thousand dollar home less than $35 per month. That's less than most of those home owners spend per week on coffee on their way to and from work. That's not much to ask for to insure the future and safety of this community and our children.

On top of that, the reason the homes in Columbus Park, Fairview Lanes, and around Douglas Dr / Michigan Ave are all valued over 75 thousand is the school district. Truth be told, there isn't a house in any of those areas truly worth 75k... more like 40k, but because of the district, they are over valued by upwards of 30k. You can buy a palace in Sandusky proper for 75k because nobody wants to live there.

Sure...vote no, again, just don't come crying when you can't get a home equity loan to put a back porch on your house or a fence around your yard, or remodel your kitchen because your house has lost 30k in value over the next 5 years. All to save $35 per month (on a 100k home).

dbstr

Not sure what side of the debate these links will help out, but it gives information about the school district's expenditures and revenue http://public-school-districts.f... and then a page where the school board discusses the 3.5 million dollar loan for the new building (at the bottom of the page)http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do... .

eriemom

That meeting was on December 12, 2012. Executive session to discuss litigation and staff assignment. I'm sure that the board, taking advise from the super, felt confident about their decisions. That is, until February or March, when the District Court (federal) reversed and remanded in favor of the school employee.

This district has a problem with the term "just". For some reason they think that they can manufacture "cause" with impunity.

Bherrle

Did You Know?

In the 2012-13 School Year, Perkins spent $9,836 per student, which was less than Perkins spent 5 years ago, and is $1,800 dollars per year, per student, under the statewide average.

Edwin Ison

When and how will "financial stability" be reached and maintained?

If this new levy is passed, it will only be to tread water, according to gunner.

So, either gunner is lying, and this levy is for a building and construction will soon follow.

Or more levy and money requests will be needed to build.

Which is it?

What exactly is "financial stability" and how will it be reached?

Surprised some levy yes man hasn't been instructed on how to answer this question considering how important this issue is.

Focus50

So refreshing to see so many people in the coomunity come together to support Perkins schools. I have seen with my own eyes a huge amount of people who will say Yes! Such a great thing...keep up the great work Proud Pirates!

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