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.”

Comments

Finn Finn

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ..........

Finn Finn

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ................

bobshumway92

"Educated vote" another key phrase.

PyrkinsPyrate

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

fifteenthgreen

Where did you go, Pyrkins Pyrate? Best post yet!

bobshumway92

Hey, where did this comment go? It was an honest comment from a Perkins teacher who isn't afraid of Gunner like the rest of the union!

bobshumway92

The teachers union is backing Gunner while he is slashing their jobs. What kind of union is this? Gunner has to be laughing at this! He's got you eating right out of his hand!

Vote Informed

As a parent who regularly goes to these board meetings and seeing and speaking personally to the teachers, they are educated and know what kind of situation we're in. They're not eating out of his hand. They know that their jobs are at stake because of lack of state funding and how we haven't passed a levy since 2000.

bobshumway92

"Lack of state funding" & "We haven't passed a levy since 2000". Key phrases the blog committee were advised to use.

Vote Informed

Its not the key phrases, its the truth that we're spreading to the public. We're tired of seeing the negativity come from the blog posts. This levy has absolutely nothing to do with a new building as you seem to think.

fifteenthgreen

Tell that to the bank when the $3,000,000 loan comes due!

bobshumway92

Who was involved in this loan?

bobshumway92

"Negativity" another keyword.

Vote Informed

These aren't keywords. Please stop twisting the levy supporter's words. Even though you are stuck on the smaller issues, there is a big picture here. Tell the levy supporters exactly what you need to know and we will try to help you understand the situation. You can also directly contact the board at http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx.

citizen

You are lying again, VoteInformed. At the very least, misrepresenting the truth.

This is a building levy. Operations money is needed because Gunner and Board determined new buildings were more important than education of district's students.

Strong Schools ...

Gunner and the board keep the students best interest in mind when they make decisions. They have been open at board meetings with the public. From my understanding, the teachers union is willing to work with Gunner because of the good choices he has made for the district.

PyrkinsPyrate

Many people who do not understand basic accounting concepts are trying to explain open enrollment for the wizards on both sides. So as a teacher I will clearly explain how open enrollment does cost out at $9K per student yet does add to Perkins bottom line. It is all about fixed costs and fixed-variable costs. Imagine a class room with 21 students in it. Things such as the teacher's salary and pension, the share of having a 100k communications director or 3 million dollar stadium, all that is fixed, it isn't moving anywhere. Then you have some fixed variables, adding a few students will cost a bit more for heat, you will need more books and art supplies, but things like the custodian, the big screen TV, the basketball floor, all those expenses stay the same. Adding another student incrementally to the class of 21 may only cost a couple thousand dollars per year but they bring $5500 of State money with them. So if you divide the costs of the classroom, the original 21 kids with a cost of $195,000 the cost per student per year is some $9,285. So adding one unit of trash from across Perkins will run the total cost of operating the class from $195,000 to $197,000. Now $197,000 divided by 22 is $8,950. So yes, it costs out like it cost $9k to educate the open enrollment student but it just really only added the cost of a little heat, some TP, a bit of electricity and another frog to hack apart in the name of science. The question that the people who live in Perkins must ask themselves is whether or not it is worth the money to bring in these people from Sandusky who can't afford to live out there. The only people getting cheated are the Perkins kids who deserve to be there and by some random devil's arithmetic and the population pyramid should have been in a small class, and of course the teachers who imagined getting a small class of Perkins quality kids but end up getting 9 or 10 Sandusky kids to max out their class to the highest size. Ask any of these Gunnar loving teachers on here who think the guy is so great, ask them how they like getting maxed out with non-perkins kids. Ask any of them if their job is more satisfactory having their class packed full of open enrollees. I have been teaching since 1983 and every year in the teachers lounge we would chat/hope/predict about how many 3rd grade versus 4th grade classes there would be. If there were 55 to 62 kids coming up we would wonder if there would be two classes or three classes. We dreamed of having small classes, now the Perkins teachers can take it for granted they will have the maximum class size, made possible by the open enrollees from Sandusky. You can try to sugar coat it any way you want but every teacher knows I am telling the truth.

bobshumway92

Your union is selling you out.

nofufucat

whoops

nofufucat

Thank you for making it easier to understand what is REALLY going on in the school system. As one of the baby boomers whose classroom generally averaged anywhere from 40 to 50 students per classroom I feel your pain.....lol. My generation is the generation where we didn't have computers to spoonfeed us information, we had to actually go to a library to look up information and in the classroom consider ourselves lucky if we didn't have to share a textbook in the classrooms. Of course OUR generation is the one that dreamed the big dreams like man walking on the moon and having computers that could fit on a desk becoming reality. And all that was done, (can it be possibly true?) done without a computer. What I'm getting at is use some common sense that God gave us all and get back to the basics and forget the bells and whistles. We don't need more money for the schools just teachers that really care to know that they've guided children into the love of learning and using their own noggins to think a problem through.

Wald

Do you really think that they got a man to the moon "without a computer"?

Strong Schools ...

This levy will help keep awesome teachers and programs in place for our children!

VOTE YES IN AUGUST!

underthebridge

Thanks for your honesty and explanation PyrkinsPyrate.

Resident51

For those of you who say the new building is "on hold", can you explain to me why I saw Mr. Gunner with the architects today when I was at the high school?

Vote Informed

While this post may or may not be true, just because the building plans are on hold doesn't mean we can't plan ahead for when we become financially stable enough to build them. And before anyone twists my words, I will remind them that this levy is for school funds, not for the new building.

Resident51

Good answer Chris. Too bad we don't believe you.

Vote Informed

Thanks! Thats too bad though, because it's the truth. And I'd like to point out that my name isn't Chris.

DLK

Really tired of these reminders. We all know it's an operations levy. We also know it is to replace the operations money that was moved to permanent improvement so you can build your school.

Nice to know your "on hold" plans are not really on hold.

Vote Informed

The money shortage came from lack of state funding. If you have any further questions, I urge you to ask the board at http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx.

citizen

Incorrect and lying, again.

Decreased state funding is not a new concept that was recently sprung on the Board.

Moving millions of dollars from operations to permanent improvement for new buildings and facilities is why Perkins Schools is on the brink of financial disaster.

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