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

VOTENO

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Strong Schools ...

Get a new line...will ya!

Wald

If you want your programs back, tell your BOE to move the PI money that was stolen back into the operating funds . Simple as that.

Bherrle

How was the money stolen? Are charges being filed?

UgtaBkdnMe

Good question, Bherrle.

Wald

It was money taken without the consent of the voters to be used for a new building. It's like if you gave me money to buy you groceries and pay your bills and I took that money and gave myself a vacation to Hawaii. Call it want you want, but it is what it is.

Dudley Do-Right

Agree with you Wald ... call it what you want, but it is what it is .... As a taxpayer in Huron, I don't appreciate that Fred Fox had an affair during working hours. I don't care about an affair, that is between he and his wife ... but not on taxpayer's time and money. I don't like that Fred Fox took vacation days in Arizona on taxpayer's money. He went to Arizona for a conference which relates to his job ... not really since the conference was designed for districts intrenched in the Effective Schools initiative and Huron is not ..... but went several days early and the Huron taxpayer paid for those days. He didn't take vacation days, the taxpayer paid for the hotel and rental car, and his wife went with him. Oh I know he paid back the rental car charges, after he got caught, and he paid for the plane ticket. This is like your example ... you bought groceries, didn't pay the bills, and went to California instead of Hawaii.

UgtaBkdnMe

Come on, Dudley. Can't you wrap your head around it? It's two completely different situations (please note sarcasm). Wald and Nemesis will be glad to explain it to you.

Tsu Dho Nimh

Dudley...I could not agree more with your post. As I read through the hundreds of posts, I remember Wald's comments on the Huron articles. Have to admit, I do find his comments here entertaining to say the least. He will not agree that Mr. Fox stole money, but can easily see where Mr. Gunner did. In my opinion, what Mr. Gunner did would not sit well with me but from what I am reading, the board approved it and it did not violate any laws. Looks as if he violated the trust of the taxpayers.

Strong Schools ...

Stolen??? Everything was public record at the board meetings. It's not the boards fault if only six people show up. Wald, did you attend the board meetings? Or, do you just listen to the misleading negative bloggers? Also, I would stop using the word "stolen". You are making yourself look bad.

Tsu Dho Nimh

LIKE!

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Perkins0602

Blogging is also considered social media. Yes votes and No votes are both using social media.

DLK

Simple question all you supporters can answer for me....what has Perkins done all these years with their PI money? Why haven't they adequately maintained their facilities with this PI money?

Strong Schools ...

The PI money is spent on day-to-day repairs on all of the buildings. Also, it is spent on school buses, vans, trucks, lawn mowers, parking lots, etc. Our buildings are in horrible shape. I encourage you to get a tour of the buildings and you would be shocked at some of the findings. The janitors do a great job fixing the problems, but it is only for the short term. The problems get worse and more expensive as time goes on wihout a permanent fix. The district does not have the funds for a permanent fix.

Thomas Paine

DLK- I am a finance guy- I went to the meeting to get the numbers- did the research on how the numbers got there. There is NOTHING this board can do differently at this point. They royally screwed up with the millage move IMO. But 13 years of reduced income and increasing costs...its not difficult to figure out why the district is where it is. I am saying yes to the Levy and no to the majority of the board.

DLK

Any finance guy would tell you not to throw more money at the problem. This is mismanagement of our tax dollars and they will be held accountable.

Any finance guy could see if they move PI money back to operating, they would have a balanced budget and be able to operate as they always have.

Common Sense

DLK,
No new levies since 2000 due to the vast amount of money generated through open enrollment. Go to the board meeting and explain your views to fully understand the picture. Otherwise, it looks like you are the one who drank the Kool-Aid.

Common Sense

DLK,
No new levies since 2000 due to the vast amount of money generated through open enrollment. Go to the board meeting and explain your views to fully understand the picture. Otherwise, it looks like you are the one who drank the Kool-Aid.

Strong Schools ...

DLK-The state has cut over 2 million dollars and they are still making cuts. We would be back on the ballot regardless! Moving the inside millage back is not the solution and it will not make our problems go away.

We have not passed a levy for new money in 13 years and we are trying to pay the bills on what we brought in 13 years ago. You do the math!

Support the students and vote yes!

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Be Positive-Vote Yes

I like the point that Mr. Paine brings up here and it is my hope the rest of the general public will take away the same message- VOTE YES to the Levy in support of the students in August, and if you wish to vote no to our board members for any poor decisions you think they may have made, vote so in November.

bobshumway92

Gunners talking points.

Nemesis

Then reverse the millage move and, at the very least, they'll drastically reduce the size of levy needed.

Thomas Paine

This is a sink or swim levy- EVERYONE has a right to be angry including those voting yes.

Thomas Paine

They have also royally screwed up PR and public goodwill.

Thomas Paine

To me this is a two part vote- the first part is getting the funding in place. The 2nd part is getting the proper board members to effectively lead the district. Some people disagree and think it should be the other way around. I just don't see how you are going to get people to run for the position when you tell them everyone is going to hate them and you have no money to effectively run the district.

fifteenthgreen

Will it really make a difference who is on the board? Need some strong, business minded individuals willing to stand up and if necessary, come to the voters/public for support against their own board.

Thomas Paine

Moving PI back isn't that simple with the state guidelines and regulations. It would help for about a year maybe two...then that money will be gone too.

Nemesis

and then there would be more support for a smaller levy. They moved it easily enough, they can move it back.

Move the millage back, admit that they overstepped their subordination to the voters, apologize, promise to never do it again, and then put up a smaller levy. It would pass with ease - nothing warms the hearts of voters like politicians with the humility to admit they were wrong.

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