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

Nemesis

EVERY LEVY will be a building levy until the funds stolen from the operating budget for the building fund are returned. Once that's done, if there is STILL an operating shortfall, then they can float a REAL operating levy to cover JUST that shortfall.

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Pirate Mama

I am voting yes in August! I want my children to have art, PE, and music taught by specialists. I also want to maintain the technology classes! I am on a tight budget, but will make the sacrifice to pay for the new taxes. I support the BOE and Gunner. I don't care where he lives, he is still paying taxes!
VOTING YES!!!

DLK

Your children WILL have these specials classes, they will just be taught by in-house teachers rather than specials teachers. Don't drink the kool-aid!

Be Positive-Vote Yes

DLK- Do you understand that if these specials programs are eliminated they are considering going to a shortened school day, and if that is the case, I don't know how you expect teachers to teach to the high demands of state standards in science, math, language arts, and social studies, and be able to tack on music, art, PE, computer, and foreign language. Let's seriously be realistic here. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. That's why we have specials teachers, so that they can give children the full experience and time they deserve.

VOTENO

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Strong Schools ...

Are you going to drive the K-8 students to their class? Use your head...EHOVE is a 9-12 facility that offers adult education. The classes they offer on the weekends do not align with the common core/state standards.

Strong Schools ...

Oh my....You really think a classroom teacher can effectively teach art, music, computer, and physical education? Our specials teachers are certified in their own specific are and do a great job. My children love their specials teachers! We are not drinking Kool-Aid. We are just simply supporting our programs and teachers.

Nemesis

NONE of those certifications are based on strong subject matter background anyway.

In any event, the funds to pay for the specials are sitting in the building fund. They don't need a levy, they just need to return what they stole.

Tsu Dho Nimh

That is not a true statement. The Department of Education has criteria in order for a teacher to be licensed in any of these areas. Just like math, social studies, language arts and other subject areas, specials have content requirements. Please check with ODE before making such statements.

Vote4Perkins

Hhhmmmm? I wonder if all the teachers can read music? Good luck with that.

Be Positive-Vote Yes

Right here with ya mama! Voting Yes!

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Bherrle

There are a lot of comments on here without names. If your willing to put it on a public chat forum, then you should be willing to put your name to it. My name is Brad Herrle, I spoke at last night's board meeting. While I don't necessarily agree with the specifics of the cuts made last night, I support the levy. I need to do more research and educate myself. My family has lived here for two years, having relocated from South Central PA. I have two daughters in the district, one will be a Junior, and one going into 5th grade. From an "outsiders" perspective, it is a privilege to live in this district, whether you have children still in school or not. It is a huge value, even with the levy increase if it passes. In other states (such as PA), tax rates to support the schools are raised without consent of the voters on a ballot. Before I say anything else, can an "informed" person answer these questions? What do Perkins Township residents pay (millage rates) compared to other districts in our area, and statewide? How do home values in Perkins compare to other districts? How do Perkins Schools academic & athletic results compare locally and statewide? Why is Supt. Gunner and the board members so disliked, at least on this forum? What am I missing, what don't I know? I'd be glad to meet with anyone face to face to get better educated on your point of view.

Strong Schools ...

Hi Brad,

I have copy and pasted your questions on the Perkins Local Schools website. You can go to the website and check the answers. I just want to make sure you get all of the facts you want.

I do know some of the answers for you:

The state average on property taxes is 35 mills. Perkins is at 21.6 mills, which means we are 14 mills less than the state average.

Our studets can compete with anyone. Our district produces amazing athletes. Our football team won the SBC (Sandusky Bay Conference). We finished sixth and reached the state playoffs. The Lady Golf Team won the state championship this year. Our marching band set a record for being qualified for state competition 33 years in a row. We have 156 members in our band. Girls tennis took second, girls cross country took second, girls volleyball took third, boys soccer took third, and boys golf took third.

We have a lot of students who get scholarships for their academic achievements. Our district partners with NASA, BGSU, and many other organizations throughout the state. These oppportunities put our students above the rest.

Gunner and the board truly do think about the students first! They have been very creative in keeping us off of the ballot for the past five years, such as, open enrollment, grants, partnerships, etc. There are people in our community that think they can do things better but never step up the the plate.
I know Dr. Gunner or one of the board members would be happy to speak with you. All you have to do is call the board office and make an appointment. They would be happy to sit with you. Thank you for attending the board meeting and trying to get factual information! At least you are trying to be responsible and thank you for supporting our students!

Nemesis

The fourth highest millage and per pupil spending district in the state produces some of the least educated students in the state. It's not about how much you spend, and kids who achieve in high spending schools will achieve in low spending schools, because it's what happens at home that drives that.

"Gunner and the board truly do think about the students first!"

No, if they did, they wouldn't have stolen instructional funds to fuel their edifice complex. They care about getting their names on a cornerstone. Gunner cares about padding his resume with a major building project.

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Nemesis

Brad, your identity adds no weight to your words. Either what you say is valid based on factual support or it isn't.

fifteenthgreen

Where's the sign?

underthebridge

I suspect the BOE believes the sign is "marketing" their plans to the community.

fifteenthgreen

Of course. But I thought they weren't building a new school!!!!!!!

8ballinthesidepocket

This is all the result of the disappearance of the once vibrant industrial base in the county and state. If we cannot attract manufacturing or technology companies back to this area, there will NOT be money for the schools or anything else for that matter. Despite what Obuma says, you cannot just keep printing money to pay the bills. Look at Cleveland and Detroit...we were next.

Bherrle

Spot on "8 ball".

fifteenthgreen

Definitely need more industry. The landscape has drastically changed over the years.

Bherrle

I agree with "8 Ball's" assessment of the big picture view, that there are factors outside of anyone within Perkins SD or boards control. The County, State, and our countries economy are factors that have led to a deteriorating tax base, which is not the only factor, but it is an important one.

That agreement does not mean that I agree with how money was spent, or moved around. I don't have an opinion on that yet, I'm still educating myself. I've come to the party late, so I have some catching up to do.

fifteenthgreen

Once educated as to the real truth be a leader and speak out and ask all the hard questions at an open forum. If you don't like the answer, counter it and make them comply. They work for us! If you don't like what you see and find out, speak your mind and it may gain you a seat if desired. We need strength before we can move forward.

Bherrle

I will.

VOTENO

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local man

Please inform me as a voter to the following logic below
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

Why do kids who play in the band or sing have to pay? Fundraisers by those kids could take care of any additional costs associated with their activities.

Clubs which meet during school hours should have no additional expense, the teachers are already expected in the building during those hours - they shouldn't be paid more during those hours.

Makes alot of sense to screw the gifted program, let them underperform by being mixed in with the less gifted student.

fifteenthgreen

Hopefully they will pull back if the levy is defeated.

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