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



I believe the additional costs would cover traveling expenses as the band attends games and participates in other activities. It would also cover the cost of paying a band director for time outside of the school day.


Fund raising has paid for nearly all the expenses associated with the music programs for years already because of previous budget cuts. The new participation fees will be used to offset salary costs for the remaining music teachers.


This is about a new school building.

This new building will be the legacy of the present school board and the superintendent.

This levy must pass now or the makeup of the present school board my be changed and the employment of this superintendent may change.

All attempts to intimidate voters will be used. If this levy doesn't pass those in charge maybe replaced.

Are you strong enough to see past the smoke and mirrors? Are you strong enough to stand up to the threats against our children?

You have told the school board twice the new academy school is not viable at this time. They are not listening. They have taken on an additional burden of over $3 million dollars on plans for a school after you have told them "NO". They have manipulated millage to take away your vote on this new school and any other building in the future.

Do you really trust these people?

These individuals have caused the loss of teachers and programs with their overzealous desire to build their legacy. They are threatening more cuts and reduction of services for our kids to get "their building".

Are you strong enough to say "NO" again? Are you strong enough to then replace school board members and the superintendent? After these changes we can then right the school, bring back teachers and programs.

Are you strong enough to stay the course?




This would be a good question to ask on the district's website

Strong Schools ...

We are strong enough to stand up for our children and try to provide a quality education.

We have had many superintendents that have ignored the issues of the district. Gunner did the opposite! He came to our district and noticed a need for our students. He has the best interest of the students and for our commnity in the future.

The majority of the community memners voted the school board members into office because we do trust they will make the best decisions. They don't do what is popular, but they do what is right!

We need ot stay strong for the students and not punish them. Take it out on the board when they are on the ballot in November!


Gunners talking points.


$3,000,000 new school design "loan".
$1,700,000 district contribution/match to the new stadium
$2,000,000 being moved annually from operating to PI to build a school.
Are these figures accurate/true?


Not to mention there is over $2 million being moved annually from operating to PI to build a school.

This money could go a long way saving jobs and programs.


Since everyone is asking for informative posts and proof of facts:

The Perkins 5-year forecast and the assumptions states, "In November 2011,the Board of Education moved the inside millage, 5.2 mills, to the permanent improvement fund. The movement will decrease property tax revenue in the operating/general fund by approximately by 2.3 million per year. This forecast represent the movement of the inside millage. This movement also places residential property below the 20 mill floor which will require a roll up to re‐establish the district at the 20 mill floor.

For those of you who don't understand what they mean by a "roll up" to the 20 mill floor, MOVING INSIDE MILLAGE IS AN UNVOTED TAX INCREASE! Your taxes will go up regardless!

AND they are asking for MORE to replace what they stole! VOTE NO!

Move the money back to balance the budget and save jobs!

Strong Schools ...

The district would still need to go back on the ballot even if they did move back the inside millage. The state has cut over two million dollars from our budget. The district has no ontrol over this and there will probably be more cuts made from the state.

Things are constantly changing because of the decisions at the state level.

Support our students and Vote Yes


Fine, move the millage back and prove it first.


Gunners talking points.

Thomas Paine

I went to the meeting to get informed. I hope others do as well and don't just post on here. I don't like Gunner or some of the Board members or some of the directions they have taken the school, but I left the meeting with a different opinion then what I came in with. BooBeeDoo the answer to your question about why you should pay for someone else's kids sports is because someone else did so your kids could play when they were in school, and someone paid for you when you were in school. Also I am not retired, why am I paying Social Security and Medicare- because I get value in the future. The numbers that stood out for me at the meeting- Perkins SD has the lowest millage of any school in Erie County, They are roughly 7 mills behind the next lowest school, A levy has not passed in 13 years. Costs have gone up- some because of Board decisions(I still have an issue with the millage move- but what is done is done), others not their fault. The county property tax values have gone down as well. State funding has been reduced. The school has been running at a deficit for roughly 7 years. In roughly 2 years the school will be in a fiscal emergency and the State will come in. Do I want to pay more taxes- no I don't, but after getting the numbers last night, and understanding some of the facts, I will vote yes. Not as a support of the administration- I will vote for new board members in November. My yes vote will be for the community. This vote is important, do we think about ourselves or do we think about the community as a whole and create future value. All I ask is people do research and be informed. School finance is not easy to understand and you might find the facts are different than your perception, like I did.


Don't drink the kool-aid, Buddy!


Very well said T. Paine. One can vote for the levy, and then vote against the board if they choose. Using the levy vote to pass judgement on the board doesn't hurt the board at all.

Finn Finn

Your wide-eyed innocent, "gee, I don't know everything yet, I'm educating myself" schtick is looking foolish. Clearly you are a levy supporter. Every one of your comments encourages levy passage. Your subtlety ain't that subtle.


Not trying to subtle Finn. In my very first post I stated I supported the levy. But I hope insulting me made you feel better. Funny how I was willing to put my name right out there. What is yours?

Finn Finn

Insult? You need to toughen up.



Finn Finn



Bherrie, levies are almost never reduced or removed, and this one is not necessary absent the unethical actions of this board. The one thing voters have to send a message is the power of the purse strings.

Strong Schools ...

Well said, Thomas Paine. Thank you for coming to get informed and taking responsibility. Thank you for your supporting our students!


Gunners talking points.

Thomas Paine

Mr Gadfly- if the school as an income problem, getting rid of the current board and supt doesn't solve the income issue. Its still exists. I too would love to see most of the board go along with the supt. But the next administration is going to need money to operate too. There isn't much more the schools can cut after this round before the state comes in. The numbers at last nights meeting prove that. I have to look past this boards PR problems and start by fixing the money issue- and then in November fixing the board and leadership issue. Who is going to actually step up and run for a board position? Who do you replace them with that is qualified? Lots of talk on this board and in the community but I don't see a line for names on the ballot.


Thanks for the info.



If you don't trust people handling the money do you hand them more? First things first. No levy can be passed until people trusted by the community are running the show. This levy has to fail to clean away the fog instituted by the present regimen.


Almost no school district in Ohio has an income problem. They all have a spending problem.

Look at historical per pupil spending numbers - they've all increased faster than inflation for decades.


Hey people in Facebook land....stop using social media to promote a levy when you don't live in the district and pay taxes. Don't tell me how to vote or how this is "for the kids".

I'm sorry you or someone you know work at the school with such financial mismanagement. This is not our fault. Talk to your boss about the mess you are in.

Be Positive-Vote Yes

DLK- How is this not for the kids??? Are you telling me that eliminating programs and positions in art, music, phys.ed, computer, gifted, and foreign language programs, as well as eliminating guidance counselors is not affecting children? I am devastated for these children that they will not have these programs to participate in and will not have the opportunity to receive a well rounded education without them. It saddens me to see people post comments about "scare tactics" when in reality the issue at hand may be extremely scary, but to tell you the truth people, they are REAL! The programs and positions are ALREADY GONE. It's up to you in August to bring them back!