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

Strong Schools ...

Wrong again!

The state has cut over 2 million from the district's budget and there could be more cuts coming. The state has to have the numbers completed by July 1. We would still be on the ballot even if we moved the inside millage back because of the state funding.

This is not a building levy...it is a levy to operationally run the district day-to-day!

Vote Yes!

citizen

That is a lie.

I will assume you are correct in stating that Ohio has cut funding by $2 million annually. Perkins Schools has annual revenue of appx. $26.5 million. Reducing that by $2 million is about an 8% revenue decrease.

These state cuts have been anticipated for some time.

Something is wrong with your leadership if a somewhat expected, planned 8% decrease in revenue is causing your organization to be on the brink of financial disaster and having to "dismantle" itself or no longer be in existence as Supt. Gunner has claimed and threatened many, many times. (on video here on the Register website).

Again, Strong Schools, the 8% cut in state funding is NOT what is causing this alleged fiscal emergency. It is Gunner moving millions and millions of dollars from operating funds to permanent improvement/building funds that is causing this alleged emergency. It is a lack of fiscal discipline such as paying over $1.1M annually so each student can have their very own Apple laptop or paying an unneeded, ineffective communications director $100k+ per year that is causing this alleged fiscal emergency. It is taking out a $3,000,000 loan to design and plan new buildings that voters have overwhelmingly rejected that is causing this alleged fiscal emergency.

Wald

"financially stable enough to build them". Like when the levy passes. You said it.

PyrkinsPyrate

Bob, I have only had non-stop problems with the union dating back to 1987. There was this other teacher in my building who knew very clearly when she was supposed to bring her class down for lunch but always came early or stayed late and really cut into my classes lunch time. I called her some names and she called me some names and said some pretty hurtful things about my mother who has just had a double mascectomy. As she probably had a good 80 pounds on me I thought it was ok to take off my shoe to hit her. I beat her up pretty good and we fought again in the parking lot after school and she even tried to hit me with a beer bottle. The union took her side because I kicked her behind so bad. They were not objective.

Resident51

This is getting good. I'm getting popcorn.

Nemesis

Wow! and people are supposed to vote more money to pay such people? I know hundreds of 17 year olds who got through high school without falling off the evolution ladder like that.

Strong Schools ...

WHAT???

The New World Czar

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

eriemom

Would you prefer liar, dumb, or self-serving? How would you describe somebody who manipulates data to describe something, such as open enrollment, in a way that is not true.
(Edit 6:32. Now this makes absolutely no sense because the above comment was removed.)

Now the teacher's discussion about open enrollment is valid. His/her observations are likely true. I guess I will need to take that into consideration--money and higher taxes v. smaller classroom size.

Rosa

The people who want the levy and believe in it can pay the extra for this new school. Now, there you go!!!

Centauri

http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do...

PERKINS LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT
ERIE COUNTY, OHIO

BASIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
(AUDITED)

FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED
JUNE 30, 2012

eriemom

Thank you Centauri. I have not finished digesting the financial statement that you linked.

Here is one fact that stands out:
fiscal year 2012, the permanent improvement fund’s fund balance decreased $1,233,055 from a balance of $268,479 to a
deficit of $964,576.
This deficit results from accrued liabilities related to contracts for the District’s stadium construction project.

There was no money to move from the improvement fund to the operations fund.

EZOB

The best thing that could possibly happen is for Perkins Schools close. This whole township has become one big mess with the Board (past and present) Sherrie and now Gunner. This whole group belongs in Washington D.C. They do not understand basic math. If it's so important to you just pay double and leave the rest of us alone.

oldpirate

Wow Pyrate you sound like a class citizen. Bobby are you locked in a closet somewhere. You tell the same old misguided story over and over and over and ..................................

Centauri

As a result of construction in progress related to the District’s stadium construction project at June 30,
2012, the District had the following outstanding contractual commitments at fiscal year-end:

See page 51 for financial numbers.
http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do...

eriemom

You caught that too. See below comment to understand public feeling.

I need to keep reading. Are you finished yet. I looks like you got a head start. What else have you learned?

Edit: This related to stadium construction.
NOTE 19 - CONTRACTUAL COMMITMENTS
As a result of construction in progress related to the District’s stadium construction project at June 30, 2012, the District had the following outstanding contractual.....
See page 54 of audit

Strong Schools ...

The stadium was a safety issue for many years. The track needed to be completely replaced. Our students could not use it for two years and had to practice at Margaretta and run all track meets away. The seating had safety concerns with the possibility of individuals falling through, especially children. In fact, we had three individuals fall through in one year. Fortunately, no one was injured seriously in these accidents. The boards needed frequent replacement and some had broken under foot of spectators. The stadium renovation project was a joint venture between the BOE and a renovation committee formed by the athletic boosters. The renovation committee worked very hard to secure over $1.7 million in donations and in-kind work to add to the rebuilding of the field, the track, and the stadium.

Wald

Should've used the community donations for necessary repairs and saved the $1.7 million for school operations. Oops...Gunner wanted a new stadium and stole $1.7 million from the taxpayers to build it. Just like he wants to use this levy to replace the money he stole to build a new school.

YepThatsMe

"Move inside millage back, problem solved". A fine exemple of key words being thrown around by no voters. Read up on it....

eriemom

@yepthatsme: Read the financial report audit that centuari linked. There was no money in the improvement fund as of June 30, 2012 according to the Julian & Grube, Inc. report.

How bout that

The first thing that I'd like to say is what difficult choices we face in funding our schools. The state of Ohio has abdicated its responsibility to fund our schools in a fair and equitable way. Gov. Kasich and the rest of the clowns in Columbus have made it more so. With that said the moving of monies from operating fund to a permanent improvement fund so soon after a building levy was defeated just doesn't look good. It makes you question their motives. Yes, I know that the Board would still need additional funds to operate the schools if that money had not been moved, but that move did nothing to enhance the Board's credibility. How many jobs would have been eliminated? How many programs would've had to be cut? How much would be required in fees if that money had been left where it was originally? Dr. Gunner and the Board made the decision to use the faculty,staff,and students as pawns in this situation .

fifteenthgreen

APPLE COMPUTER LEASE - STUDENT LAPTOP PROGRAM

C. Capital Lease Obligation - Apple Equipment: During fiscal years 2009, 2011 and 2012, the District entered into capitalized leases for computers and equipment. All leases meet the criteria of a capital
lease as defined by FASB Statement No. 13, “Accounting for Leases” which defines a capital lease generally as one which transfers benefits and risks of ownership to the lessee. Capital lease payments have been reclassified and are reflected as debt service expenditures in the basic financial statements. These expenditures are reflected as program/function expenditures on a budgetary basis.

A total of $4,117,154 of computer equipment has been acquired under the capital leases. Of this total, $3,746,273 has not been capitalized as the computer equipment does not meet the District’s capitalization threshold. The remaining computer equipment, $370,881, has been capitalized as a capital asset equal to the present value of the future minimum lease payments at the time of acquisition. Accumulated depreciation on the capitalized computer equipment as of June 30, 2012, was $28,435, leaving a current book value of $342,446.
Principal payments in the 2012 fiscal year totaled $1,185,745. This amount is reported as debt service payments in the debt service fund (a non major governmental fund). The following is a schedule of future minimum lease payments required under the capital leases and
the present value of the minimum lease payments as of June 30, 2012:

Fiscal Year Ending June 30, Amount
2013 $ 597,344
2014 $ 597,345
Total minimum lease payments 1,194,689
Less: amount representing interest (29,012)
Present value of minimum lease payments $ 1,165,677

Strong Schools ...

Perkins is a school district that is above the rest when it comes to technology. They are preparing our children for 21st century jobs. Children do not learn from chalkboards anymore. It is time to look to the future and think long term. I am proud of the opportunities my children get due to the technology program.

You are going to get what you pay for! Do you want a strong community or a weak one?

VOTE YES IN AUGUST!

fifteenthgreen

Below the rest when is it comes to Rating and Value. B Rating and Value: Below. It's a shame that the district has gotten to this point. I can remember Academic Challenge and how it was always Perkins vs. Edison. Now, we just plain suck!

fifteenthgreen

INTERFUND TRANSACTION

B. Interfund transfers for the year ended June 30, 2012, consisted of the following, as reported on the fund
financial statements:
Amount
Transfers from the general fund to:
Nonmajor governmental funds $ 3,014

Transfers from the permanent improvement fund to:
Nonmajor governmental funds 1,426,308

Total $ 1,429,322

NOTE 5 - INTERFUND TRANSACTIONS - (Continued)
The transfer from the permanent improvement fund to the debt service fund (a nonmajor governmental fund) is to fund the principal and interest payments on the House Bill 264 obligation and the capital
lease.

Transfers are used to (1) move revenues from the fund that statute or budget requires to collect them to the fund that statute or budget requires to expend them, (2) use unrestricted revenues collected in the general fund to finance various programs accounted for in other funds in accordance with budgetary authorizations and (3) restrict revenues for debt service through transfers from the funds collecting the
receipts to the debt service fund (a nonmajor governmental fund) as debt service payments become due.

fifteenthgreen

B. Deficit Fund Balances
Fund balances at June 30, 2012 included the following individual fund deficits:
Major fund Deficit
Permanent improvement $ 964,576

PyrkinsPyrate

I wanted to comment on one other thing. A few of the brainwashed mouthpieces of Ole Gunny keep on claiming that there has been no funding increases since 1845 and Perkins residents pay the lowest taxes of anyone in the world but Senegal. And it is just over and over and over, maybe they will run back to Ole Gunny and show him that they completed their assignment and posted the same disinformation their assigned number of times and he will give them a star sticker that he bought at the Toledo Teacher supply store, not the local one. But so what if the Perkin's mills are low. It's all quite relative to what the valuation of the homes are and how stringent they are on assessing your taxes. But low taxes is just part of the scene we have go on in Perkins. It is a trade off. Ruta and Hoty pay for our schools and we go along with living in congestion. Do you know how many times I was late to class this May and June with all the Tourarists using my Burger King where I get my Coffee? The point is, is that it is all part of the dynamic and where we live and what we endure. I have a 7 year old step grandson. Do you think I like having 250 look like the min bus terminal in Rome with all the Eastern European girls in their hotpants? It is a trade off. It is our grand bargain and part of living in this area. And until now Perkins good a mediocre education for dirt cheap until Ole Gunny come along with his grandoise Vacationland Vocationland Versaille that he wants to build after the voters twice told him that we did not want to be on the hook for it.

Bherrle

Burger King Coffee? Blah! Mickey D's coffee is barely drinkable. Just give me some basic Folgers or Maxwell House from home.

Sorry - just felt the need for a little coffee humor.

Strong Schools ...

WHAT???

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