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.

Click here to get related news coverage, videos and photos. 

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.”



Agree, Bherrle. It's all getting old as I'm pretty confident everyone on here cares. Just wish we were all "fighting" on the same side for an administration and policy that we all believe in and trust. Wishful thinking, huh? Appreciate your hard work, though regardless of what you may think. It's all about the information and you've done a good job getting your message and the facts across. I think if we could all go back in time, many things would have been said and done differently by all parties. Until then, I guess we just carry on....or go back to our lives!!!!


I agree, it would be nice if the community weren't so divided, hopefully that can be acheived again some day.



DLK ticked me off earlier today, and now I see that you posted the same insenstive comments on Tuesday regarding absentee voting, directed at our college students, to one of our current college students, when you posted:

"What is dishonest or wrong about returning the favor for those currently going through the system? Well, you do not live, work, or pay taxes in Perkins Township."

So, Citizen and DLK (because you have never repsonded to me), our college students don't live, work, or pay taxes in Perkins Township? None of them come home during semester breaks? None of them come for summer break? None of work during summer break? Although they have a constitutionally protected right to vote, you say it is unethical for them to vote? You feel they shouldn't have the right to vote because they are away at college educating themselves, bettering themselves?

You must also feel it is unethical for our servicemen and women serving outside the country to vote absentee?

Sorry guys, you are way off base on this one, and I hope that every one of our college students gets to read this.


Wow, getting ticked off now? Maybe someone drank too much Maxwell House coffee.

I think you are misunderstanding what Citizen and DLK are saying. You're trying every dirty avenue to get a yes vote, clearly going after the voting population that doesn't have a vested interest in property taxes going up since it won't affect them.

Are you (the levy committee) not hosting a breakfast for the residents at the OVH just to get their yes votes?


Pancakes and Old Milwaukee. I'm in.


Is the levy committee really hosting a breakfast at OVH to get yes votes? If so, that's a new low.


In the past, they would bus them to the polls.


And there it is. No, I clearly understand. You feel that only tax paying property owners should vote. So, it's only those who can afford to own property that get to vote now? You want to discriminate against anyone who doesn't own property, not just college students. No better.

How do you know that it won't affect them? It's a 10 year levy. Any chance that in ten years they just might buy property in the district? Or rent an apartment or home, and pay those taxes in the rent they pay the landlord?

You think it is dirty, that's your opinion, and I disagree. Notice, I am defending their right vote. I would encourage all college students to vote, but to vote informed. Don't vote yes, or no, because that's what a parent or someone else wants you to do. But in the end, they have the right to vote. And so does anyone else who doesn't "own" property.

I don't have knowledge of the OVH breakfast, but if there is one, I would defend it's intent as being to inform those residents, not buy thier vote.

Lastly - I drink Folgers.


Oh boy.

If my original statement implied that it was unethical to vote where your permanent residence is, then I apologize. That was not my intent.

I believe it is a "cheap tactic" by Gunner and Board to rally up all of the college students and recent college grads who do not live, work or pay taxes in Perkins Township to vote "Yes" for this levy, simply because their "permanent residence is here."

I do not know the residency requirements to vote, but I do know that you can also register to vote where you attend college. I know many liberal groups tried to use this tactic during the 2008 election to get students whose permanent residence was in KY, IN, TN or other predictably red states to register in OH.

My comment was more directed at the individual and the way his thinking came across to me. He said something such as the least I can do is vote yes... as if the only consequence is which button you press in the ballot booth and somehow, somebody else will pay all these increased taxes. Well, actually, for him that is the case. My response was the least he could do, if he really felt that passionately about it, was making a financial contribution to his alma mater that is ALLEGEDLY on the verge of financial breakdown.


I understand your point there Citizen. I am not in favor of anyone voting simply because someone else tells them to vote, yes, or no, or without understanding the consequences, without being informed. We took that persons statement different ways.

I agree, I do not like the tactics liberals employ to get people to vote in general, but at the end of day, I will defend a persons right to vote. I feel they are doing the public and themselves a disservice if they vote uninformed though, we agree there.


Why would a liberal want a student to vote from a "red state" in Ohio? Wouldn't that student generally vote the same in Ohio as they would when at home in a national election?


We have all seen the extent people will go to achieve a yes vote nationally, in Ohio, and locally. One of the lowest in my opinion has all been "It's for the Children". My slogan lately is "It's all about the Taxpayers". Please quit begging like a dog for a treat. No is No today, No next week, and No next year. The more times I have to vote No the madder I have become. My No vote is only good for three months and a Yes vote can be good for years. DISCRIMINATION at the highest level and we just lay back and take let it continue.

Strong Schools ...

This levy for the children and we are proud to stand up for our children. We want the best education for them. This levy will will give the district money for day-to-day operations and keep our current programs in place. We do not want our children to lose their specials, sports, arts, etc. All of these programs provide opportunities, both academically and financially. We have only passed one levy in the past 18 years for new money. The last levy that was passed was 13 years ago. We have to step up and take care of education.

Vote Yes...for the children!

Finn Finn

Yawnnnnnnnnnnnn . . . -,-

Vote Informed

We are proud to be YES voters for the students!

Finn Finn

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz .............

True Blue

The "YES" committee is trying everything to get votes. On Aug. 6th they'll be at all the precincts checking to see who didn't vote. They harass the ones who haven't voted to get them to the polls. Maybe the "NO" voters should do the same thing. This is legal to do. In the past the slogan was "pass the levy for the kids' education." Now it's pass the levy so I don't have to pay for my kids sports. Anyone with any brains knows a new building will not give a child a better education either. Another thing, Perkins is the only levy in August. This will cost them $12,000.00 or more. I guess it is well worth it if the levy passes and we all can pay for their kids' sports. Has Mr. Gunner taken any cuts in his pay or benefits? Probably not. Cuts are only for the teachers and the kids.

Strong Schools ...

All administration has made changes to help the financial situation. The saved the district $126,000 in insurance and their salary concessions have totaled over $75,000.

This is not a building levy. This levy is to cover the day-to-day operations of the district. But, research does show that students who are exposed to the latest technology and classrooms that will support the 21st century skills, perform better in the classroom and are better prepared for the real world upon graduation.

Vote Yes and Support the Students!


Perkins is the only school in the area with a Value rating of: Below Every other school Met this criteria.

Perkins State Rank: 391 Huron: 124 Edison: 247

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%


"This is not a building levy."

That is false. Misleading at best, lying at worst.


So all of the other schools in the surrounding area, rated higher than us in the state by the way, are providing an education that won't prepare their students for the future? They're in older facilities than us, as well. We get a B rating. Why? Makes me sick.

Strong Schools ...

You need to get over this "B" rating. We are not the only district who was rated effective. There are other schools within the tri-county area that were rated effective or lower. Go to the ODE website and check out the results. You need to take some responsibility and research it yourself.

There are many indicators that go into rating a school district (some of which are not academic). Do not judge until you do the research and and figure out the facts. You blog on pure emotion but do not try to educate the public!

Finn Finn

Yawnnnnnnnnnnnn . . . -,-


Strong Schools seems like he wants more and more of our money but wants us to lower our standards while raising our taxes. Strong Schools needs to mention-just once- that while the levy is called an operational levy it is for operational money since after the voters rejected a building levy twice the board took a similar amount of money out of operations to put towards a new building. That is a simple fact. If the politicos had not taken the money out of operations to build a new building we would not be broke now.

Strong Schools ...

Even if they moved the inside millage back we would still be on the ballot due to state budget cuts.

This district believes in the students and gives them the best education possible. I know the teachers strive and work very hard for their students. We have had amazing experiences with the teachers of this district. They do assess the performance of their students and work to make the curriculum better.

Perkins has been rated either Effective or Excellent by the State Report card over the past five years. Most districts in Erie County have been rated in one of the two same categories for the same time period. Typically, Huron is rated as the highest performing district in Erie County with Sandusky rated as the lowest. Perkins ratings on the local report card place the district in the upper third of districts in the State of Ohio. Besides the state report card, there are many of pieces of data that illustrate Perkins has a strong educational system. For example, the number of Perkins graduates who go on to college and complete degrees, our students ACT average test scores, scholarship money received, etc…

Vote YES!

Finn Finn

Yawnnnnnnnnnnnn . . . -,-


Good morning everyone. Had a little discussion last night with my friends (includes Donut). We try to analysis what is being said by the school board and superintendent and what they really mean.

We have sent two questions through the school website for answers from the school board and superintendent. At this time, we have received no replies. So is this website a real open discussion about issues with this levy or is it just a propaganda piece. When you control what questions are ask and what answers are given it's pretty obvious.

These questions were presented to the superintendent and school board.

Will the building be started before the vote on the school board or will it be postponed until after the election?

Why are you promoting the vote by recent graduates but your millage switch eliminates the public vote on school buildings?

The answers to these questions will offer great insight into the agenda of those in charge.


I have asked a number of questions on that site as well.... No answer.


I am a levy supporter and have about six questions unanswered, so it is not just you guys.


So Bherrle with your answer we now know this is really just a propaganda piece. Don't have to send anymore inquiries there.