Battle plans drawn

District seeks support for 10-year, 6.73-mill levy.
Alissa Widman Neese
Jun 18, 2013

Jason Bennett stood before a crowd Monday night to offer a simple but clear rallying cry.

As a contentious levy debate effectively divides the Perkins Schools community, Bennett urged a group of passionate levy supporters to consider it a unifying matter.

“The only way we’re moving forward is as a team, a community and as a cohesive school system,” Bennett said. “Put any personal interests aside and do this for our students and our school district.”

About 125 people gathered in the Perkins High School cafeteria for the kickoff meeting of Citizens for Perkins Schools, the district’s newly formed levy committee.

The group includes parents, teachers, school officials and township residents, all volunteers aiming to promote the district’s upcoming August levy.

The supporter turnout was at least 10 times that of the past levy campaign’s turnout, district communications director Chris Gasteier said.

“I won’t pass judgments as to why, because we’re just happy to see them here,” Gasteier said.

Perkins Schools is proposing a 10-year, 6.73-mill emergency operating levy on the August ballot, nearly 2 mills larger than a May proposal which voters overwhelmingly rejected. The levy would fund day-to-day operations for the district, including employee salaries and benefits.

Although the county auditor hasn’t yet certified its official amount, superintendent Jim Gunner has said the levy will cost the owner of a $150,000 home an additional $310 in taxes per year.

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This past week, board members approved about $2 million in district-wide reductions, including eliminating 15 staff members and hiking pay-to-participate fees to as much as $730 per sport for high school athletes. If voters approve the August levy, the cuts could be reversed and fees will return to normal.

Brandy Bennett, Citizens for Perkins Schools committee chair, organized Monday’s crowd into focused subcommittees with Jason, her husband. In the next couple months, subcommittee leaders will oversee various levy campaign efforts, including distributing signs, collecting funds, visiting residents door-to-door and dispersing information online and in-person.

“Everyone here is very passionate and ready to commit to getting this levy passed,” she said.

The group knows convincing a majority of township residents to vote in favor of the levy won’t be an easy task. Voters haven’t approved an emergency operating levy for the district since 2000, its only levy for new operating money in the past 18 years.

Still, the Bennetts are determined to do all they can to promote the cause. They moved to the area so their two children — now students at Perkins High School and Meadowlawn Intermediate School — could attend Perkins Schools. They don’t want to see the district’s stellar reputation marred by costly cuts, they said.

“There are still questions that need answered and still misinformation which we need to address,” Jason said. “We’re dedicated to doing it as a team. We’re all pulling in the same direction.”




Strong Schools ...

This levy is not about a building. This levy is about making sure our district can operate. We want to make sure our current programs can stay in place and the district can financially be stable. The district can't move ahead with the building process.

Vote Yes and Support our Students!




How does voting "no" support our students? Think about that...makes no sense! Vote yes to support the levy and the students! Vote no for the board members when they come up for a vote to make a change. But lets keep our schools strong!


An operating levy has not passed in 13 years. As everyone knows, the cost of everything has gone up. The schools have lost funding from the state, while the cost of everything has gone up. It is not unreasonable to ask the residents for a levy to support our schools and our community. Moving the millage back would not prevent the need for the levy. It's hard to watch good teachers lose their jobs because of lack of funding. Our students deserve the best, and hopefully the residents will realize that helping the schools will improve our community and the young people that we are educating.

JMGTHATSME1 have to be smarter than this. "they have not passed an operating levy in 13 years"...THEY HAVE NOT NEEDED TOO! Think of how many new homes have been built since 2000...That housing boom lasted til 2007. HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of new homes have been built since then. Thus, MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF ADDITIONAL TAX DOLLARS! Don't trust them with more!


Perkins Local Schools loses it's "excellence with distinction" rating and has been downgraded to "effective". Why? How and when did this happen?



In response to your post: "Perkins Local Schools loses it's "excellence with distinction" rating and has been downgraded to "effective". Why? How and when did this happen?"

You will see below that only one of Perkins buildings in the recent past earned that level, for one year, Meadowlawn in 09-10. The high school has been at excellent the last four years. The district as a whole has improved since Dr. Gunner has taken over, as you can see below. The district as a whole was never rated "excellence with distinction."

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

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


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


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


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


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.

15th - If you are going to post, please post factual information, as anything else is mis-leading.


You simply re-posted underthebridge's blog from the other Register article. What were the schools ratings prior the the Buccieri mess which honestly was worse than this mess. Also, sounds to me like you're settling for less with these effective ratings.

Ohio gives public schools and districts one of six ratings. The state does not award schools letter grades, but the official ratings can be roughly translated as follows:

Excellent With Distinction = A+
Excellent = A
Effective = B
Continuous Improvement = C
Academic Watch = D
Academic Emergency = F

Those grades are based on:

The percentage of students passing state tests;
How well students score on state tests;
For elementary and middle schools, a calculation showing how much progress students made in a particular school year;
Attendance rates;
High school graduation rates; and
Whether or not the school or district meets federal standards. (Those federal standards are called Adequate Yearly Progress and include reading and math test passing rates and test participation, attendance and graduation rates.)


District OH Rank Rating 11-12 10-11 Per.Ind Value Low Inc.
Edison Local Erie 247 A A 100.8 Met 33%
Huron City Erie 124 A A 103.7 Met 30%
Margaretta Erie 412 B A 97.6 Met 37%
Perkins Local Erie 391 B B 98 Below 33%
Vermilion Local Erie 371 A B 98.4 Met 41%
Port Clinton Ottawa 430 B B 97.2 Met 47%
Put-In-Bay Ottawa 21 A A 108.7 Met n/a
Danbury Local Ottawa 241 A A 101 Met 45%
Oak Harbor Ottawa 240 A+ A 101 Above 34%
Norwalk City Huron 332 B A 99.3 Met 49%
Sandusky City Erie 585 C C 86.5 Met 78%



Yes I did repost it, because it is fact. Your opinion and negative comments keep changing, but the facts don't. I don't know what the schools ratings were prior to the Buccieri mess. Rating Supt. Gunner on that is not relevant, in my opinion. He had to help clean up the Buccieri mess, which I would argue that it takes longer to build something back up than it takes to tear it down.

Prior to Buccieri, there was also no open enrollment. Comparing the pre open enrollment ERA to the post OE ERA is not an apples to apples comparison.


All those people are probably parents with kIds in sports who want the levy to pass so they don't have to pay the ridiculous fees Gunner is jamming down our throats. Oh, and teachers and staff of course.

Pirate Mom

We were there in large numbers! We will pass this levy! Register to vote! Vote absentee starting July 2 or vote in person by August 6. We homeowners thank you!

Strong Schools ...

Not all people are parents or teachers. There are people in this community who care about having a strong community. We need to take care of what we have and make it better. When this levy passes, Perkins will still be operating 7 mills lower than the state average.


Bob - I beg you, please keep saying things like this. It is your opinion, and you should share it. It also helps to energize the yes voters who do not have children, and do not have any employment ties to the school.


The community has only passed one levy in 18 years...I think its time for new money...

Support our Students, Vote Yes August 6

Perkins Resident

Unfortunately, this levy is going to pass. I say unfortunate because we will be right back here in no time with Gunner and the Board having their hands out demanding more money to operate their new building. Just look at the other districts that recently built new schools. I'm voting no because I can see through all the nonsense being put out by these people. Mark my words. We will be right back here in three years from now.


"Unfortunately, this levy is going to pass". I don't think so. After talking to community members this weekend, they're angrier than ever. I know of at least a few front doors these committee members better not knock on!

Strong Schools ...

After talking to community members this weekend, they are motivated as ever to get this levy to pass!

Vote Yes on August 6!


Perkins Local Schools loses it's "excellent with distinction" rating and has been downgraded to "effective". Why? How and when did this happen?


Not true, Perkins will be good for at least 5 years.


Perkins Resident - I voted no in May because I felt the way you did. However, I did my own research and realized that this schools need this levy. I thought all the "pro-levy" was nonsense the first time, but I have learned that the anti-levy people were providing me with the nonsense...especially the news media. I also was very negative towards Gunnar and the board...however, though most of these board members will not receive my vote when they come up again in an election - the levy will receive my vote because it's just simply the right thing to do.




I see the schools are promoting the levy on their signs. I may be wrong but I believe they may have opened a door they didn't want. If I am correct the school as a publicly funded entity must give equal space for those who oppose to put their message on the sign too.

Pirate Mom

Keep Perkins strong! Register and vote! Vote yes!


Yomamma you're correct. The district cannot pay for signs, but they may allow others to place them on school property, PROVIDED they allow both sides equal access. If you make an anti-levy sign, they are legally obligated to let you place it there.

God Of Thunder

Us voters have said no to a new school 'campus' several times now. What does Gunner do???? He moves millage around and creates his own fund for 'new buildings' and now they have no money where they need it.

You can cry and whine all you want, but until this nit-wit it fired and leaves our school district and replaced with someone we can trust, and his little puppets either get voted out or resign, I will not support another penny out of my pockets.

Gunner, who I remind you has never moved into this tax paying district, has done nothing but deceive us and could care less about the higher taxes.


Pirate Mom

Support our students and vote YES on August 6! One small levy passed in 18 years, lowest millage in Erie County? IT IS TIME!


Support our democratic rights and vote no! A levy was just passed in May! We don't need new buildings!

Strong Schools ...

I understand you are upset with the board and some of the decisions. They truly do have the best interest of the students in mind when they make a decision. If you are that upset then do not vote for them when their names are on the ballot. But, do not take it out on the students!

Vote Yes!