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

underthebridge

That is not how the schools in Ohio are rated. In Ohio, schools are ranked from lowest to highest: Academic Emergency, Continuous Improvement, Effective, Excellent, Excellent with Distinction.

Tribester

The open enrollment "scheme" as you call it saved this district from having a operating levy FIVE years ago. If open enrollment is so bad, why does EVERY other district in the area participate in it? I guess they all like to "lose" money too. It is also illegal to charge open enrolled students extra to "make up the difference" You would know that if you were informed, but clearly you are not For your information!

Foryourinformation

Tribester: For Your Information, along with "yesshedid," as a business owner and a mother of 4, I am more informed than you can imagine and not worried about what people enrolled in other districts do, but it is my property taxes from my business that I own that are paying for others who don't live in the community in which they send their kids to school. So, you "clearly inform yourself on that!" I own a home and condo in Sandusky, my husband and I choose to send our kids to the Sandusky City Schools in which I got a "great" education and graduated from, and my business is very successful in Perkins. Yes...I support 2 communities and 2 school districts and proud of it! I am prepared for someone to say I don't have a voice because I live in Sandusky and my kids attend another district, but I can speak loud and proud because my business pay a hefty amount of taxes which goes to the Perkins School District and I am proud of that as well. Therefore; with that being said and with a bachelors and 2 masters degrees, I am well "informed", well equiped with knowledge of policies and laws, and well educated to say what I want to say and speak on behalf of any community of people that I see is being wronged and I pay my taxes to (whether business or property). Perkins do NOT have to accept all of the open enrolled children that DO NOT live in the district, just like Sandusky doesn't and no other district. So get informed on that! Open enrollment is an option and NOT required by Ohio law. If Gunner and the Board saw that open enrollment was causing financial hardship for the students and families who live and work in the community, why would he continue to "make the students suffer" knowing that it was going to come to this with increasing fees, RIFFing staff, cutting programs, etc. They can put a limit on how many students they accept...that is in their control and has nothing to do with providing a "free and fair" education, but everything to do with open enrollment. I can provide you with some information and websites on open enrollment if you'd like. As a tax paying business owner in Perkins and with my taxing paying dollars from my business going to the Perkins schools (which it should), again...why don't you inform yourself instead of you spewing out clearly misinformation. "Please and thank you"!

Strong Schools ...

For Your Information,

Open enrollment has brought in about 2.5 million dollars to our district. This has kept us off the ballot for the past five years. The state keeps cutting our funding along with other districts. The cuts from the state have put us where we are today.

I agree with you that Sandusky has some amazing teachers. But the Perkins teachers and administrators do not go out and solicit people to come to our district. 500 students come to our district at their own choice. There is still a waiting list for children to come to Perkins. There is a reason people want to come to Perkins. Our teachers and district offer great opportunities that are not offered elsewhere. That is what makes Perkins unique!

Strong Schools ...

I agree with you Tribester! Open enrollment kept us off the ballot for five years. There is a reason why we have 500 + students enrolling in Perkins. We offer amazing programs and opportunities. And all of my children's teachers have been amazing!

Keep up the great work positive bloggers!

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

fifteenthgreen

Free $1 million plus laptops!

Bherrle

And we want to accuse the board of blackmail, and being in it for themselves? Wow.

citizen

THIS IS A BUILDING LEVY.

Gunner was told NO to a taxpayer funded new campus TWICE.

He unethically (but legally) moved operating money into a building fund. Gunner chose a new high school over providing education for the district students. Gunner and board then took out a $3,000,000 loan from Citizens Bank to design and plan the new high school campus.

Gunner and Board then come out with all these massive cuts, saying they will "have to dismantle the district" and scare tactics.

Can I make it any simpler for anyone? THESE ARE THE FACTS. THIS IS A A BUILDING LEVY

fifteenthgreen

Good point.

Bherrle

The statement "He unethically (but legally) moved operating money into a building fund" is an opinion, not a fact. The word "unethically" is opinion, without facts to support it. Please tell me more about this issue, I know no real facts about it, and I need to be better informed. You may be right, I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I'd like to better understand what was done, and why you feel it was unethical.

- Brad Herrle

fifteenthgreen

Keep doing your homework, Herrle and let us know. Thanks

Bherrle

I am doing my homework, that's why I am asking questions.

fifteenthgreen

Got it!

Ibelieve2

The cuts were not mentioned because they were not needed at the time. The recent cut of 2 million dollars from the state was just recently made.

fifteenthgreen

Free $1 million plus laptops!

Ibelieve2

The cuts were not mentioned because they were not needed at the time. The recent cut of 2 million dollars from the state was just recently made.

Wald

Gunner wanted a new building. The public voted no. He then took taxpayer money earmarked for operating expenses and moved it to a permanent improvement fund to build his new school anyway and spent $1.7 million of that towards a new stadium. When taxpayers vote to have money spent one way, then it is taken and used towards something that the taxpayers voted no on, it's unethical. And that's not an opinion, it's a fact.

UgtaBkdnMe

You have praised Mr. Fox so many times, would not admit he acted in an unethical manner, and actually defended Mr. Fox. Having an affair during his scheduled work hours wasn't unethical, using school email to conduct his affair wasn't unethical, accepting free golf (which is documented in school email) wasn't unethical (Mr. Lally testified under oath that free golf was addressed at a conference just days before his infamous July 2010 trip), bullying his "underlings" wasn't unethical, approving mileage for your buddy at 400+ miles a month after giving him a district vehicle to use was not unethical, and using tax payer money to cover costs of a trip to AZ that were not allowable was not unethical. But you think moving money from one account to another account is unethical? I don't agree with it either but it doesn't break Ohio Ethics laws. I'm glad to see that your opinions are facts. Wonder what a neutral referee would say about your superintendent?

Wald

I'm not saying Gunner did anything to be fired for. I'm saying I won't vote yes to a building levy so he can frivolously spend my money. Fox made mistakes but the state of Ohio ruled that he was fired over personal vendettas. And what Gunner did with moving the money isn't my opinion, it is a fact. If that doesn't fit the definition of unethical, nothing does. I would take Fox as the super of Perkins in a heartbeat.

UgtaBkdnMe

He should be looking for a job so maybe you'll get your wish...lol

Wald

He won't need a job after he's done suing Huron. Lol

citizen

You are correct. The term "unethically" was an opinion, but everything else in my comment was a fact.

Mr. Gunner and Board twice went to taxpayers asking them to pass a tax increase to build a brand new Perkins Schools campus and later changed it to new high school building. They billed it was "once in a lifetime opportunity" (yet here we are again 1 year later). Gunner and Board threatened that the high school was unsafe and posed an immediate danger to students and staff. This claim was proven false by a government inspector report. (As you'll notice, there is little talk any longer about how unsafe or what danger the building is, as the county building inspector has publicly reported those claims are false).

Taxpayer overwhelmingly rejected twice Gunner's plan to build a new campus and/or new high school.

Instead of accepting the taxpayer's decision and focusing on providing a solid education for the district's students (as Perkins had been noted for) Gunner and the Board deemed it more important to build a new high school building. Gunner and the Board chose to go ahead with building a new high school campus, against the taxpayer vote.

In order to do this, Gunner and Board had to remove money from operating funds and reallocate it to a building fund. That money was approved by taxpayer to educate students, pay faculty and staff, provided textbooks and technology as well as arts/athletics/music. Gunner and Board thought it more important to build a new high school campus, than actually provide an education to district students. Additionally, they took out a $3M loan from Citizens Bank to design and plan the new high school.

Gunner is now coming out with all these wild and crazy cuts, threats and stating he will have to "dismantle the district" unless voters pass this operating levy. This is a building levy. Perkins has the money for operations if Gunner would not have stolen this from the students and faculty.

Bherrle

Thank you for the information.

Be Positive-Vote Yes

This is No Longer a building levy and everyone in this community needs to understand this. The decisions in the past have been made and that was NOT expecting the additional 2 million dollars in cuts that have been made after that decision. Had the 2million dollar cut been known, I'm sure the move never would've been made. Right now this current levy is just trying to cover the addition 2 million dollars that have been cut by the state. The buildings are being totally put on hold until Perkins can become financially stable and at least get the programs back that students deserve and stop eliminating more teacher positions.

Even if you are still upset about the millage move, again, don't vote against the students in August, vote against the board in November when you have that opportunity.

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

VOTENO

.

Nemesis

No, it's fact. They floated a bond issue twice to pay for new buildings, and the voters said no both times. So then they shifted inside millage to the building fund from the operating budget, and floated a levy to replace the funds moved. That's not ethical. They did an end run around the clearly expressed will of the voters to whom they are properly subordinate.

Be Positive-Vote Yes

This is No Longer a building levy and everyone in this community needs to understand this. The decisions in the past have been made and that was NOT expecting the additional 2 million dollars in cuts that have been made after that decision. Had the 2million dollar cut been known, I'm sure the move never would've been made. Right now this current levy is just trying to cover the addition 2 million dollars that have been cut by the state. The buildings are being totally put on hold until Perkins can become financially stable and at least get the programs back that students deserve and stop eliminating more teacher positions.

Even if you are still upset about the millage move, again, don't vote against the students in August, vote against the board in November when you have that opportunity.

Strong Schools ...

This is not a building levy. We are trying to keep our programs from getting cut. The programs will be cut, not just the teachers. Our students need the programs to excel, build confidence, receive scholarships, and to build resources for a successful future.

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