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

believeit

Congratulations on finally passing your levy (not that I assume you voted for it). Your district and home value will benefit regardless. As far as "nefarious" actions, with the state funding as it is, lots of districts will do anything they can to improve, or at least survive, when funding is based on the system that it is (see plans for inside millage in Huron).

Edwin Ison

True, they will do "anything".

fifteenthgreen

Congratulations on your A Rating and "Met" value added. We're effective and "Below" value added........but hey, free laptops!!!

Strong Schools ...

Our district offers amazing technological opportunities. They don't put that on the state test. You have to look at the whole picture...not just a snapshot. Our students are very well educated and get different learning experiences unlike any tother school in our area. Did you take the test on the ODE site yet...oh please share your "snapshot" score when you do!

Edwin Ison

I cannot vote on this levy. My renters don't want to pay more rent to finance a new school building.

Vote Informed

If you cannot vote on this levy, then why are you commenting so negatively on something you have nothing to do with? Voting yes will only increase resale value of your rental property, so why are you encouraging so much negativity?

Edwin Ison

Just asking questions. I am not negative at all.

How this all transpires will create a playbook for all area schools to get creative with funding issues.

I have family in Perkins and the response to my questions do in fact have a direct impact on many votes.

Vote Informed

Okay, I appreciate that. I encourage your family to vote yes for many reasons. Not only will it save 14 teaching positions, but if they have kids in middle or high school, they can avoid thousands of dollars from the increased pay to play fees. Encourage them to do the math for their household. In my household, the choice for us was $25/mo or well over $1,000 in pay to play fees. If they disapprove of the BOE, then encourage them to vote them out in November, instead of taking their anger out on the teachers and students in this levy. Whether this levy fails or passes, Dr. Gunner will have a job. But if this levy fails, 14 teachers won't.

bobshumway92

Here is what it's all about people. The parents with kids in sports who don't want to pay Gunners made up fees. VOTE NO!

Strong Schools ...

My children are not even old enough to play sports and I support this levy 100%. We have not passed a levy for new money since 2000 and we have only passed one levy in the last 18 years. Some people have not been very supportive for a long time. We have gone through different board members and leadership changes. We have to stop the excuses and step up and take care of our children's education! Vote Yes in August!

fifteenthgreen

So the renters won't move to Sandusky because their rent got jacked up to make up the difference. Think!!!!

Vote Informed

The difference is only $25/mo for a house valued at $150k, and about $20/mo for a house valued at $100k, so their rent wouldn't be "jacked up" that much. Its not your decision and its not the landlord's decision, its the renter's decision. If their kids go to Perkins, and they have to pay thousands in pay to play fees like my household would, then hopefully they'll see which choice is clear.

character counts

Wow....After several days of not commenting, I have come back to read some of the current posts. I am pleased to see that there are so many new diverse posts that seem positive and optimistic. However, I'm not seeing the same for the negative voters. I am still seeing the same FIVE people that have posted on the last 12 perkins blogs, and guess what? Every post is the exact same. No new information, baiting people to argue, loosing focus of what the levy is really about....(our students and community), still negative, no solutions, wasting time. Keep the positive coming, VOTE YES, support our students, and our community. Take your voice to the November pole, and elect new leadership! Proud Pirate!!!!!

fifteenthgreen

Missed you, character counts!

character counts

oh...go figure! Fifteenthgreen made it up past your bedtime again. Leave it to you to be up at 12:22 a.m. with no life other than posting on the sandusky register blog.

fifteenthgreen

haha. You're awesome. Glad you're back. :)

believeit

Fifteenth now just fishing. Unfortunately, every inane comment just reduces what credibility he had.

fifteenthgreen

Credibility is in the rankings, ratings, and value-added. Oh, and the checkbook. Ours is all empty! Well, except for our new school savings.

Edwin Ison

So.... "Financial stability" is impossible to define, yet "financial stability" is essential to the plans to build a new campus.

How many levy issues in addition to the current 10 year levy will be needed to reach the mystical "financial stability" threshold?

A conundrum :)

Vote Informed

Again, with something you cannot vote on, you sure are generating a lot of negativity. I'm not completely sure on what the BOE defines as financial stability, and I will not put any information out that I am not 100% positive is correct. If I were you, I would encourage people to vote yes on this levy, because at some point, you will sell your rental property, and no one wants to buy in a bad school district. VOTE YES!

Strong Schools ...

We have the lowest tax rate in Erie county. When the levy passes, we will still be 7 mills under the state average. There are other schools in our county passing levies with a higher millage and tax rate. Step up Perkins and keep your pride! Vote Yes!

character counts

same old comment... Edwin: What is your solution? What do you think is best for this community? What do you think is best for the students? Are you going to elect new leadership? Are you going to run for the board? And more importantly...Will your brain cells allow you to branch out and talk about anything else?

fifteenthgreen

Yawn.

Vote Informed

Don't undermine the intelligence of our students. My kids' GPA has never gone below a 3.5 and mostly stayed in the 3.8-4.0+ range. If you're dissatisfied with your child's education in particular, then enroll them into this magical land of Edison, where apparently no one struggles. Every child learns at their own pace.

fifteenthgreen

Still can't believe our district is Below value added, effective school district. Makes me sick. Please explain.

believeit

Not sick enough for ridiculous comments. Save us the attempt at humor for the sake of negativity.

fifteenthgreen

Perkins Local Schools Facts - Rating: B Effective State Rank: 391 Value-Added: Below

Strong Schools ...

I think we have given the information and tried to explain. You need to do the research, try to understand what it says, apply it to our children, and absorb the information. I am proud of the education this district provides and it will only keep getting stronger. We don't have 500 open enrollment students come to our district for nothing. Also, there are still students on a waiting list trying to get into Perkins.

Edwin Ison

Solution.

Move back the millage.

Denounce the plans to build a new campus the community majority does not want.

Use the money that cannot be moved back to address the maintenance of the current facilities.

Ask for a much smaller levy for operations.

Stop, from this point on, ignoring the people who pay the bills.

Vote Informed

Moving the milage would not solve all of our problems and we would still be in debt and continue making cuts until we were taken over by the state and everyone's property value would have dropped significantly. Everyone pays bills. I own my house and manage the bills. Voting YES is the clear choice for my family and I.

Edwin Ison

How is asking simple direct questions "generating a lot of negativity"?

I was under the impression questions are encouraged to become INFORMED!

Edwin Ison

Any question I ask is just clarification of talking points you guys (gunner)
have put out there.
Why use terms that cannot be defined?
Because voters don't want a new building complex and the powers that be will do or say anything to make it happen regardless.
Actually my questions should be embraced by levy supporters... simple, succinct answers would do wonders to change perceptions.

character counts

They are.... but any comment that anyone would give you is subjective to their own opinion. Why don't you go to a board meeting and ask Dr. Gunner himself. Why would you sit on the Sandusky Register Blog and ask community members what their opinion of financially stable is? You are only baiting people to comment and answer your question to the best of their ability, so that you can in turn tell them how wrong they are....there isn't a solution coming through your comment. YOU ARE BAITING PEOPLE TO ANSWER A SUBJECTIVE QUESTION...THEREFORE, NO ONE WILL ANSWER YOU.

Edwin Ison

So "financial stability" is subjective?

Meaning gunner and the board can assign any definition they want, at any time.

Thanks, that is at least an answer. :)

character counts

Do you comprehend? YOUR QUESTION IS SUBJECTIVE. It is subjective because you are asking people that are not in charge of that position. It wouldn't be subjective if you directed your question to the right person.

fifteenthgreen

Point taken!

character counts

Your like twelve, and not fun to talk to! You offer no new information, your not funny, and I wouldn't waste my last minute talking to you!

character counts

Whoa...you just agreed with me! Good for you! Best buds!

character counts

hows that to answer your question?

Edwin Ison

A very poor answer, I sense frustration from a lack of ability to communicate properly.

character counts

Is my last name Gunner? Am I in charge of a school district? No....Nor is anyone else on this blog.....Ask him...attend a meeting...VOTE YES!

Vote Informed

Call the BOE and/or ask them on http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx and patiently wait for an answer. Not everyone can answer the questions that're meant for the BOE. I also encourage you to attend the next meeting and ask Dr. Gunner face-to-face, all of your questions and form an opinion based on those answers.

character counts

How is it a poor answer? I believe you mean to say that it was a poor question to begin with. What answer would you like from community members that are not running a school as to what financial stability is? Your telling me they should have the answer for that?

Vote Informed

I agree that it is hard for us community members to answer the definition of "financial stability." I applaud you for trying to answer a question only the BOE can. I'm doing my best to get in contact with the BOE and I will continue trying, as they're obviously very busy. Keep the positivity up and keep encouraging others to have an open mind and think of the students and teachers when voting in August.

Edwin Ison

Financial stability as related to school finance in Ohio is indefinable.

There, I answered it for you.

So, if this levy is not about a new building, how many addition levy requests will be needed to build and then maintain the new campus?

Sound expensive!

Good luck :)

Vote Informed

Again, with the "financial stability" question I direct you to http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx or please call the BOE. I'm not on the board, and these questions aren't meant for me. Please attend the next meeting and form your opinion after you've directly asked Dr. Gunner all of your questions.

Edwin Ison

The questions have been asked.
Is the plan so poorly thought out that we need to wait patiently why the powers that be try to figure out why they painted themselves into this corner in the first place?
Since this forum has been assigned much of the blame for gunners problems, maybe the great gunner should personally address the issues here in a live forum.
Or is such work below him?
This seems the perfect place to clear everything up, since so much is beyond even the most ardent supporters.

believeit

Gunner has opened himself up at every board meeting, community meeting, and personal invitation. You can also get specific questions on the Perkins District Website. Late night blogging is up to crazies like us!

Vote Informed

Dr. Gunner has set up an online Q&A (http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx) for all questions that we cannot answer. If you choose to use this tool, then fantastic! You can also call the Board office. Dr. Gunner has nothing but good intensions for Perkins Schools.

Strong Schools ...

I think people forget that the board members are over Gunner. People blame Gunner for everything but the board has to vote on the decisions and put them into effect. I feel it is a good idea to have the board make a decision collectively before they put out any information. Sometimes they take longer than I would like but I understand all of them have different professions and it takes time for them to meet.

Edwin Ison

Edwin is out.... the levy campaign can continue on with the same tired talking points and ignore the importance of the process.

The whole thing is comical.

Recruits on a forum try to diffuse things, yet cannot pick up the phone and get guidance to answer a question to define "financial stability".

Vote Informed

Financial stability isn't something the yes voters can define. It's not something the no voters can define. It's not something anyone can define, except for the BOE, and I encourage you to get in contact with them with any ongoing questions.

character counts

Yea that's the answer right there. He should get on a blog where everyone is anonymous, so that people can bash him without anyone knowing who they are. Why don't you attend a meeting, walk up to him face to face, introduce yourself, ask your question, and then return to the blog and inform everyone on what he said.

pavedparadise

For the cost of a cup of coffee......

Wages have not kept up with inflation.

Average wages in 1980 per worker was $12,850.89/yr

In 1980, a new car was as cheap as $1,800
A new house (not slummy) was as cheap as $30,000
Health Insurance was less than $1,000/yr for a family

So if you bought a new house, the mortgage would be $308/month (assume a 12% interest rate) = 3,703/yr
Car would cost you $42/month and $513/yr (15% interest rate).
Health Insurance was $1,000/yr

So $5,216 a year were going towards your needs.

You had $7,633.13 left over. so about 59%.

Today the average is about $40,000 a year in wages.

New car, 18,000, new house, 150,000, health insurance 14,000/year
Car at 7% interest rate and house at 5% interest rate, is 356/month and 805/month respectively.

Total annual costs, 27,939.85

12,060.15 is left over, but as a percentage of wages, only 30% leftover.

Strong Schools ...

It wil cost a person with a $150,000 home $25.76 a month. Support the Students in August!

Edwin Ison

If the levy campaign cannot define "financial stability", how can anyone "vote informed"?

I know the levy campaign has a presence here, why do they not answer the simple question?

The levy campaign has a golden opportunity to clear up the confusion with a simple definition.

"Financial stability" is the silver bullet.

Why not plainly lay out a plan for the construction of a new campus?

Edwin Ison

The new campus plan hinges on an indefinable term so as to avoid present and future accountability.

Bherrle

Please explain that further Edwin Ison. How much accountability are you looking for, beyond voting on board members? Beyond them voting on issues in public every month? Beyond them holding extra public meetings on key issues (such as the three held before the millage move), or the two 25 member committees that recommended tearing down and building new. How do you define "financial stability"?

I'm getting away from the facts with this statement, and this is soley my opinion. I do not speak for Dr. Gunner, or the board, at all. The more research I do, the more exposure I get to the issues, the history, and to the indivisuals making these decisions, the more I am of the opinion that they are doing the right things, for the good of the students, taxpayers, and district. And they are doing so in a very open way. Nothing is being hidden. I just don't understand the level of distrust that exists in this community. It's very easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback, and criticize individual items. The stadium, laptops, etc. It is very easy to say they have priorities wrong. If anyone thinks they can do better, then I urge you to run for the board, or vote someone in who you think will do better. But, I caution you, if what you want from a board member is someone you can "control" (which is a term I have read in some old blogs by at least one individual on the current blogs), then you are setting yourself up to always be dissappointed. Elect the officials, and let them do their job.

I have met face to face with Dr. Gunner, and have spoken face to face with two board members already. In time, I will speak to all of them. I welcome a face to face meeting with anyone who is opposed to the board, Dr. Gunner, the levy, etc. I want to hear, face to face, your reasons. I will not try to convince you of anything. I may disagree with you, I may state the reasons I feel the way I do, but I won't argue with you. Please, anyone who is on the no side of this issue, I will meet with you on your terms, when and where is up to you. This invite is open to anyone.

citizen

"I just don't understand the level of distrust that exists in this community."

You seem like a reasonable individual, but come on, you are not that naive or delusional, are you?

There is distrust because after multiple, very public votes, voters overwhelmingly rejected building brand new, grand builings and facilities. Gunner and Board did not listen to the taxpayers, and determined new buildings and facilities were more important than providing an education to the students.

Gunner and Board determined spending $1M+ annually on personal Apple laptops for every student in 6-12 was more important than 14 teachers.

Gunner and Board are stating building plans are "on hold" until they are "financially stable." Gunner and Board cannot define financially stable and just took out a $3M+ loan to design and plan the new buildings and facilities.

Gunner tells voters that if this levy does not pass he will have to "dismantle the district" and Perkins community will "no longer have their school district." What? Revenue is projected to increase in FY 13 and then stabilize for FY 14-17. Plus he has millions he moved to permanent improvement/builidngs funds. But, he will have to "dismantle the district?"

Should I go on?

Edwin Ison

I have been under the assumption that elected officials were charged with carrying out the wishes of their constituents, not their personal wishes.

Do you see? The community voting majority does not wish to finance a new building yet the school board ignores this fact. Your post above actually emphasizes this point.

Bherrle

3,900 of 9,600 registered voters actually voted in May, 41% turnout. Approx 65% of the 41% = 27% of registered voters voted against.

I'd like to see a much larger turnout before I agree that the majority of the public voted against "funding new buildings with a levy." I understand that the majority of those who voted don't want to fund new buildings via a levy.

My belief is that elected officials are charged with doing what they determine to be best for their constituents, which may or may not always agree with what some constituents want on a particular issue. If they so choose, those constituents have the democratic right to vote them out.

In particular, school board members, should be looking out for what is best for the students, the community, and the taxpayers.

We have a philosophical difference on how the system should work, and that's Ok. I believe Democracy to mean government of the people (from the population being represented), by the people (elected officials), and for the people (what is in thier best interests current and well into the future, not that everyone will agree with each decision an elected rep makes.)

Edwin Ison

You could use that same argument to say the current board might not be a true representation of the community and their agenda.

donutshopguy

Bingo. You win the prize.

True Blue

The Perkins elite showed all of us where their priorities were with the multi million dollar football/track field. They were so sure the voters would vote for their new "Campus." It's never been about education, until Gunner threaten to lay off teachers. Now the parents have been threaten they will have to pay more for their kids sports, so Gunner has made it about SPORTS. That's to get those parents out to vote, so he can build his "Campus." Definition of financial stability should mean: Firming and securing your finances. Staying within your means. Saving for rainy days when
funds are cut by the state. This elite crowd won't stop until they get these levies passed. They will build the campus and they'll come back every year for more money.

Bherrle

True Blue,

The necessary stadium and track repairs were going to cost an estimated $1.1M. The district ended up spending $1.7M on an entirely new, modern stadium and track facility, that was matched by donations of $1.7M secured by the Athletic Boosters. So the district chose to spend $1.7M on a $3.4M dollar project, instead of spending $1.1M on a $1.1M project. A pretty good long-term financial decision in my book.

Your comments about Dr. Gunner, motives, education and sports are all opinion. Ones I disagree with. Education is about more than what happens in the classroom.

My wife and I earn less than $100,000 combined. We live in a home valued under $150,000. We are not a part of this "elite" crowd that you speak of. And we do not begrudge those who are more fortunate than us.

Wald

To repair and upgrade the stadium would have been $1.1 million. Why not use $1.1 in donations to upgrade/repair, saving donators $600,000 and the taxpayers $1.7 (stolen from the operating funds) instead of building new, especially when on the verge of "dismantling" the district? Because Gunner and the BOE have prime rib tastes and don't understand we're on a McDonalds budget. This is a perfect example of why they are not to be trusted. Please vote no.

Bherrle

I don't know all the facts on the stadium, but I believe the donations were only there if the district was willing to match dollars. Don't quote me on that, but I'll try to find out.

citizen

VoteInformed-

Here are my questions, AGAIN.

1. Define "financial stability"

2. How is Perkins projecting a $1 million+ INCREASE in revenue for this fiscal year, yet Gunner is stating multiple times he will have to "dismantle the district" and that the Perkins community "will no longer have a school district" if this levy does not pass?

3. Why did Gunner take out a $3,000,000 loan to design and plan new facilities if taxpayers voted it down multiple times overwhelmingly, Perkins is on the brink of financial ruin and the buildings are "on hold"?

PLEASE, PLEASE answer theres.

1. If you cannot define financial stability, please refrain from using the idea that the buildings are on hold until the district realizes financial stability. How can you argue something, VoteInformed, that you have no idea what it is?

2. Contrary to your first response, there is an increase in revenue for FY13. Please look at the 5 year Forecast on the Treasurer's website. Revenue jumps to $22.9M in FY13 (revenue was $21.7M in FY 2012) and then averages out to appx $21.2M over FY14-17.

Again, how is this revenue forecasting causing Gunner to publicly state he will be forced to "dismantle the district" or Perkins community "will no longer have their district" when revenue is essentially stabilized for the next 5 years. Further, you stated "we will still be in debt" if this levy does not pass. Do you not know what debt it. Please take a look at Perkins' audited financial statements. Their assets exceed their liabilites by $12.4M. That is the exact opposite of debt.

3. Your response was "Dr. Gunner took out this loan before we were put into this situation." Gunner took out this loan in April, I believe, of this year. What "put you in this situation" in the past 2 months? Yes, I recognize state funding is decreasing. Is this new information to Gunner or Board? Did they not know this back in April? Decreased state funding has been anticipated for 2+ years! So again, what SPECIFICALLY in the past 2 months has put Perkins "in the (alleged) situation they are in"? Did Gunner have that short of a vision that he did not anticipate the state cuts that others had expected for 2+years?

True Blue

Bherrle - Excuse me, I don't begrudge those who have more than me. Some who have more don't think about the ones who have less. Many in this township can't afford any more taxes.
Yes, my statements about Gunner are opinions, but I truly believe this is his agenda. Past actions have shown he can't be trusted.
You seem to be in the know about everything. Maybe you can answer Citizen's questions.

fifteenthgreen

Past actions show that a new building is on his agenda.

Bherrle

In response to your comment: "Past actions show that a new building is on his agenda"

In my opinion a new building should be on "the" agenda But it is not his agenda. It is the agenda of the 2 - 25 person strategic planning committees, the three independent studies, the board, and Dr. Gunner. As well as anyone who supported the 2010 levy, as well as the May 2013 levy, which include but are not limited too many parents with children in the district or will have children in the district in the future.

underthebridge

Does anyone know how individuals came to be on the Strategic Planning Committee? If it were open to anyone who would wish to participate then that would suggest its neutrality. If the members were hand picked that would suggest something different.

donutshopguy

Bherrle,

All your supporters are trumped by the 65% of the voting public who defeated the levy.

Bherrle

True Blue,

Didn't mean to imply that you begrudge them. I'm simply stating that my family doesn't. And I do understand that there are those out there that simply can't afford it, or that it will be very difficult to afford. I would propose some sort of "waiver" from the tax increase for those individuals, keeping in mind that 1. It would be difficult to police such a waiver 2. It would shift the tax burden to those who earn above a certain income. My idea would also set a limit to the value of a home can you own and qualify for the waiver. Example (just for arguement sakes, not a firm number) someone owning a $200,000 or above home would not qualify for the waiver, no matter their income. I'm not saying this is feasible, just an idea I have.

I don't know everything, far from it. I'm simply stating facts as I get comfortable with them, and my opinion. I believe the only agenda Dr. Gunner has is serving the students, district, and taxpayers to the best of his ability, with the combination of those three groups best interests in mind.

donutshopguy

Vote informed, Bherrle and Strong School,

You three seem to be the biggest supporter of the "Yes" vote on this and other blogs.

A day ago mrgadfly put out a proposal to help close the divide between "yes" and "no" voters. In a nutshell the proposal was for the school board to promise their would be no building started prior to the November election of school board members and no new employment contract with Mr. Gunner would be signed prior to that election.

What are your feelings on this proposal?

Bherrle

My personal opinion, again, in no way speaking for anyone other than myself:

My understanding is that Dr. Gunner has approx 18 months left on his current contract. I don't know when negotiations would typically start on a new contract, but I would have no problem with waiting until after the November election on a new contract for him. That one is a non-issue to me. Two assumptions being made there. He wishes to continue as Supt. after this current contract, and that the board will want him back, will offer him a new contract.

Building - it is my belief that at this point, nothing would happen until after November at this point, so again, really a non-issue, I wouldn't have a problem with that at this point.

However - I will state clearly my opinion, and my agreement with the BOE, Dr. Gunner, the two 25 member strategic planning committees, and the three independent studies that were done. Either new buildings are needed, or significant renovation is needed. Signifcant renovation would cost upwards if not more than 3/4 of the cost of the proposed new facilities, therefore, my opinion is new buildings are needed. The tour of the facilities I took this morning strengthened that belief.

donutshopguy

Bherrle,

I appreciate your opinion. The school board and Mr. Gunner have been ask about waiting until after the election before proceeding building. Both have ignored answering those questions.

I believe you can get this levy passed without any problem if the board would agree to not build until after the election and not offer the superintendent a new or renewed contract until after the election.

Just my opinion.

fifteenthgreen

Good point, Bherrle and I'm glad that you toured the facilities. Always look rough at the end of the school year. Maintenance/custodial do a great job throughout the summer. Please remember, though that in addition to passing this levy to build the schools, continual operations levies will be needed to be passed in addition to this 10 year building levy to support said structure. I've witnessed communities build new school campuses and now they can't get the additional support to fund the daily operations. Again, it brings us full circle that this is a state funding issue.

Also, keep in mind that KBI stands a really good chance of closing in early 2015. If that happens, we're all in trouble!

Bherrle

15th,

One of the things that I want to dig into and haven't had time yet is the specifics of the new 7-12 building plans. I can't say I totally agree with the specific plan because I haven't seen it yet. I hope to get into that in the coming week. One thing that I would like to see, would expect to see, would be a building that takes less $ to maintain, and less to operate in utitlites, etc, than Briar and the HS currently do combined. Certainly, I'm of the opinion that it should be no higher, but I would expect a decrease, but again, my opinion is not an expert one. I'd like to see the projections on annual costs vs. current and I'll request that.

On KBI, I agree with you. I have a friend whose family we attend church with who works for KBI. He is the primary income earner in the family. He and I have talked about that issue.

RMyer

The financial and facility issues facing the district won't change. It doesn't matter even if all the anti-levy commenters or pro-levy supporters were elected to the board. The district has revenue and facility issues. New board members, same problems. New superintendent, same problems. Cherry picking numbers without looking at the entire context in order to confuse people-the problems are still with us. There are only several options available for consideration:

(1) do nothing and the price tag for operations and facilities continues to rise and facility repairs or construction will get more costly to deal with (2010/4.98 mills . . . May 2013/ 5.5 mills . . . August/6.73 mills. . . ?).

(2) move the inside millage back, pass an operating levy, pass traditional bond levy for repairs or replacement of one building; this will require at least two separate levies to pass and will put a higher tax burden on the residents. After the bond levy for one building expires in 30 years, ask for another one to take care of Meadowlawn which will be approaching 80+ years, then ask for another bond levy after that to take care of Furry which will be 110+ years, and after that pass another bond levy to deal with Briar . . .

(3) do nothing and hope the state comes to the rescue. . . no further comment needed

(4) Move the inside millage back, pass an operating levy, and then try to figure out what to do about the facilities

(5) Develop a comprehensive plan to deal with facilities and educational needs of students and residents going forward that will not require passing additional bond levies and which puts a limited term levy (ten years) on the ballot, and which is at the lowest cost to the taxpayer going forward

After reviewing all options presented over the past few years would indicate that option 5 is the best plan: that would be what we are voting for in August.

VOTENO

The union is selling out the teachers.

donutshopguy

RMyer,

Your #5 would also mean that the taxpaying public would lose the right to have a check and balance on whoever is on the school board in regards to buildings. Am I correct in my assessment?

RMyer

Just got back. Will respond a bit later because I do have some thoughts on your query. I find it somewhat ironic that we debate about "inside" millage (also, known as "unvoted" millage) that is guaranteed to districts by state law (hence the name "inside" millage as in "inside the law").

bobshumway92

If Gunner would resign and the board would draw up a contract stating no new buildings will be built, any levy you throw out there would pass.

donutshopguy

bob,

Mr. Gunner doesn't have to resign. The board just can't hamstring the community with an extended contract prior to the vote for a possible new school board.

Please note, I said possible. If the community decides this board is sufficient with a positive vote for them, well that's the ball game for us who believe a change would be helpful.

I just want the taxpaying public to have the final approval on this building and the direction of the school. If the present board is reelected than in my eyes the community has decided the millage switch was a proper decision.

underthebridge

donutshopguy 2013!!! Does anyone know who in the community is considering running this fall?

Strong Schools ...

I have heard of two people that are very interested in putting their names on the ballot.

Strong Schools ...

I have heard of two people that are very interested in putting their names on the ballot.

Bherrle

The only thing I have heard, and it is pure speculation, is that the teacher who was let go a few years back for sleeping in the classroom was at the election board office sometime in the last few weeks. No info on what the visit was for.

eriemom

If interested in that case, look up "Smith v Perkins". If you follow the progress in public records you will learn that her case went to federal court. Part of the districts claim was upheld, but the part that dealt with ADEA was reversed and remanded. Look up EEOC guidelines for employers who have employees with diabetes as a disability. I wonder how much it has cost us for the district to come up with pretext to fire her.
http://law.justia.com/cases/fede...

My mother had diabetes. When she seemed to be sleeping or groggy it was really a signal that her blood sugar was off. Everyone knew it. We signaled her by telling her to check her blood sugar. It really only seemed to happen when she was ill or stressed out.

Bherrle

I had also heard her case was in Federal Court, but knew no details. Did not know she had diabetes. That is certainly a factor.

I had a grandmother who was diabetic, and I am pre-diabetic, so I know the effect blood sugar levels can have when its too high or low.

Thanks for the info Eriemom.

Centauri

http://www.northwestohio.com/new...
Posted: 04.10.2013 at 10:51 PM

"Under the plan, the community could lose a lot more. In addition to those 18 teachers, school leaders say 15 non teaching employees such as secretaries and administration staff will lose their jobs, and changes to busing could axe 6 to 8 drivers."

"But, that's not all. School activity fees for sports and clubs go could up by 25 to 65 dollars, and field trips would be history."

"The solution, 2 levies the school board approved to put on the May ballot. One is a 5 year renewal 2 mill permanent improvement levy. The other is a 10 year 4.98 mill emergency operating levy."

"If passed by voters, one and maybe two teaching positions could be saved, and hikes in activity fees wouldn't happen."

How is it that the emergency levy jumps from 4.98 mills (MAY) to 6.73 mills in a short time? That is a large increase. Where will the extra money go?

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...

"Q: Will the school board cancel plans to build a new school if the levy fails?

As of now, the school board has no intentions of canceling plans to build a new school because the facilities issues will not go away if the May levy fails.

Q: Why is the school being built without voter approval?

The school board will not move forward with plans to built a new building for junior high and high school students if voters do not approve the May levy because funds will not be available to do so."

RMyer

The reason levy amounts go up each time when districts continue to go back to the polls is due to the timing of property tax collections. There are other factors for the increase as well. I have stated previously that, in my opinion, we will look in the rear view mirror at the Nov. 2010 and May 4.98 mills and regret that we didn't pass the ten year levy one those times. . I hope that we don't have to look at the ten year levy in August and wish we had passed it while we are facing a higher amount in the future. A lot of financial, educational, and people "damage" will result in the meantime.

The district treasurer would provide you with a more detailed explanation about how a district and auditor work together to arrive at the levy amount. Have you asked her your question? That would get the information you are looking for and would avoid the possibility of misinformation being posted on here.

Part 2: There are two issues that you seem to look at as one. Our duly elected BOE has plans to build a new school that will house grades 7-12. They are not canceling the plans to do that. I am glad that there is a plan in place; there should be; it needs to be done and is part of the strategic plan for the long term needs of the district (businesses also have strategic plans). I agree that new is better than renovate at this point because the independent reviews (experts in school building analysis) have advised that cost of renovation is at the point where it is better to replace than to renovate.

So, the plans are in the works. But, according to the quote you posted, the plans to proceed are on hold until the financial issue is solved. We have a plan; proceeding with the plan is currently on hold.

We elected the board members to make the best decisions given the various options on a wide range of issues related to educational and facility needs. I have posted before that I believe, after looking at the numbers and options presented the past few years, the board has chosen the least costly option for us taxpayers. A traditional 30 year bond levy vote of 7-8 mills plus a ten year operational levy now at 5 mills (would still need this next year even if inside millage is moved back) = 12.7 - 13.7 mills that we would be looking at (and my number is probably on the conservative side). On top of that, as other buildings need to be addressed, other additional bond levy amounts would have to be passed. There is a lot of merit to the long range district facility plans (grades 7-12 in one building, for example) that would alleviate some important issues our district residents and students face and which offer potential for expense reductions in the future that would save us tax dollars.

Again, I urge you to ask these questions of the administration or board members if you are truly interested in getting answers. Then, post the replies.

Perhaps I am misguided in my analysis. If I am, I am more than willing to reevaluate my position, but I would like to have the facts in front of me in order to make my informed decision.

Centauri

"First section-a correction needs to be made to the article. The May levy was a ten year 5.5 mill levy."

Where are you getting your numbers from? Did the Erie County (Ohio) Board Of Elections post false information? People in Perkins Township voted out a very honest township trustee and township fiscal officer in past elections. Will the voters make a wise decision in voting for the school levy? Maybe you are getting the police levy mixed up with the school levy.

MAY 7, 2013
PERKINS LSD TAX LEVY - EMERGENCY
(ADDITIONAL, 4.98 MILLS, 10 YEARS)
FOR THE TAX LEVY 1,409 35.63
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY 2,546 64.37

NOVEMBER 2, 2010
PERKINS LSD - 4.98mills, 5years (additional)
Emergency Requirements
FOR THE TAX LEVY 2,627 42.04
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY 3,622 57.96

NOVEMBER 6, 2012
TAX LEVY-PERKINS TWP FIRE (REP/INC,0.5 MILLS,5 YRS)
FOR THE TAX LEVY 3,735 55.79
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY 2,960 44.21

MAY 7, 2013
PERKINS TOWNSHIP TAX LEVY - POLICE PROTECTION
(ADDITIONAL, 5.5 MILLS, 5 YEARS)
FOR THE TAX LEVY 2,394 65.91
AGAINST THE TAX LEVY 1,238 34.09

I noticed the fire protection levy was a small fraction of the the police protection money. Will money from the police levy be moved to other township funds?

http://www.electionsonthe.net/oh...

Will somebody please post all of the levy elections since the year 2000 for the Perkins School District? My time is limited.
I want to compare the truth to misinformation being posted here.

RMyer

I appear to have been mistaken with the levy amount for which I apologize. I really don't like making mistakes (when going through the BOE election results, I must have picked up the township levy amount).

Anyway, that doesn't change what factors have to be considered when determining levy amounts going forward. For example, reductions going forward, property valuations may change between levy requests, additional changes from the state and so on. All of those factors come into play, so each time a levy amount is decided the current situation and future projections come into play.

donutshopguy

RMyer,

Why would the school board and superintendent not jump at the concept of postponing any building or extension of the superintendent's contract until after the November election if it help pass this levy?

Just think about it for a minute or so.

RMyer

A loaded question to be sure as it brings up some philosophical issues about the role of our elected officials and presents several scenarios for why someone would want to delay or block currently elected representatives from doing the job they were elected to do.

1) Is this something we want to make common practice? If there is a decision being made by any local gov't body at any time that some don't agree with, should we demand that any decision being made be "postponed" until the next election? Seems like that is a recipe for a largely ineffective government. I don't agree with all decisions that our locally elected leaders (township, school board, etc) have decided over the years, so I exercise my right to vote when elections come around. I would not be a supporter of "wait until the next election" for issues I disagree with. Some might say, "But, this is a big issue." Granted, it is, and we elected our current board to deal with it. In the future, who will determine which "big" issues get delayed until the next election?

2) If the motivation to wait until the election is to hope that candidates who are focused on one issue only are elected, I personally would find that disturbing as those who run for office should be focused on the whole.

3) The numbers aren't going to change nor is the facility issue going to change no matter who is in office. If the desire is to go the traditional bond levy route on top of operational levies, our elected officials will be asking us to pay considerably more in taxes than the current or past couple of levies have asked. I hope it is not the intention of folks to desire that we pay more taxes in the future to prove a point.

4) If the intention is to elect folks who will ignore the facility issue, I have an issue with that because they are not elected to ignore issues; they are elected to deal with them. On all issues, putting in the time to research the options, deliberating thoughtfully, making the best decision for residents, students and staff are what I expect of the board members (and other elected officials as well). That is what their job entails.

5) When I analyze who I am voting for, I try to sort out any particular agenda and try to figure out who is running for the "right reasons". I will may not agree with him or her at some point after an election, but that's the nature of our system.

6) The levy plan will pass on its own merits (i.e lowest cost option to taxpayers which will satisfy facility and educational and support staff needs).

I would be happy to discuss more of my thoughts over a cup of coffee-I'll buy.

Edwin Ison

In four months the millage increased 1.75 mills.

That's 5.25 mills per year extrapolated. Just to tread water.

Or maybe the huge increase is to allow the building complex to proceed.

The levy is about buildings, cloaked in sports/fee increases and teacher cuts.

Extortion.

RMyer

FYI-See my post above about contacting the treasurer about how millage requests are arrived at between the district and auditor. I would also be happy to discuss in more detail with you over a cup of coffee.

Centauri

"FYI-See my post above about contacting the treasurer about how millage requests are arrived at between the district and auditor."

See my above comment about the election results.

RMyer

I replied after your election result posts.

donutshopguy

Your willing to give up 14 jobs of your friends and institute horrendous fees for a 3 month wait? Wow!

For as hot as it is today I'll go for a Coke. Name the time and place.

RMyer

No, not willing to see anyone lose a job - teacher or other occupation. I want this levy to pass so that students can get their teachers back and fees can be reduced to parents (of which I am one).

Casa Real on Rt. 250-3:00. Diet or regular soft drink?

donutshopguy

diet

Centauri

"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."

If this is an "emergency" school levy, how can it exceed 5 years? I believe the maximum is 5 years in Ohio for an emergency school levy.

eriemom

(B) The board of education of a city, local, or exempted village school district may adopt a resolution proposing the levy of a tax in excess of the ten-mill limitation for the purpose of paying the current operating expenses of the district. If the resolution is approved as provided in division (D) of this section, the tax may be levied at such a rate each tax year that the total taxes charged and payable from the levy equals the adjusted charge-off increase for the tax year or equals a lesser amount as prescribed under division (C) of this section. The tax may be levied for a continuing period of time or for a specific number of years, but not fewer than five years, as provided in the resolution. The tax may not be placed on the tax list for a tax year beginning before the first day of January following adoption of the resolution. A board of education may not adopt a resolution under this section proposing to levy a tax under this section concurrently with any other tax levied by the board under this section.(ORC 5705.211)

Not less than five years and levy is for the purpose of operation (not improvement).

Centauri

Thank you for the information. Ohio has some very complex laws that even the Ohio Supreme Court can't figure it out.

How do other Ohio counties state the law for an emergency school levy?

Allen County, Ohio
http://www.allencountyohio.com/a...
"The maximum number of years an emergency levy can be levied is five years."

http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/inde...
"Emergency levy---An emergency levy is a property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum of five years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Due to the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy needing to stay constant, the millage rate increases."

http://www.westcler.k12.oh.us/do...
"Emergency levy — A property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum of five years)"

http://www.bucyrusschools.org/ab...
"Emergency Levy – property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum five years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Because the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy must stay constant, the millage rate increases or decreases as property values change. Emergency levies can be renewed for the dollar amount originally requested."

Some parts of Ohio state 5 years maximum and others state 10 years. Which is it?

http://treasurer.cuyahogacounty....
"Emergency Levy - This type of levy is submitted to the voters as a dollar amount. For example, "The emergency levy will raise $1,000,000 per year." An emergency levy can only be voted in for a period of time from one to five years, and expires after the time has elapsed unless renewed by a vote of the public." (THIS is interesting reading.)

eriemom

The statute may have changed over time.

eriemom

For history buffs:

http://www.youtube.com/user/Perk...

Dr. James P. Gunner's 2007 Ed.D Dissertation
http://etd.ohiolink.edu/view.cgi...

underthebridge

eriemom - Did you read the dissertation? What are your thoughts?

eriemom

I'm thinking that this is the reason that Dr. Gunner was hired. How about you. What do you think?

underthebridge

I think that is the reason he was hired as well. One of the questions that surrounds these kinds 1 to 1 laptop initiatives is "Does engagement equal academic achievement?"

Centauri

http://www.ascd.org/publications...
"Nearly a decade ago, when school systems began forking over millions of dollars to purchase laptop computers for every student, these programs (often called one-to-one or ubiquitous computing initiatives) were heralded as having the potential to close persistent technology gaps.

Today, however, some school systems that ushered in one-to-one laptop programs amid great fanfare have begun to scrap them because of budget cuts (Lemagie, 2010); mushrooming maintenance costs (Vascellaro, 2006); and concerns about how students are using the computers (Hu, 2007)".

eriemom

"Rather than being a cure-all or silver bullet, one-to-one laptop programs may simply amplify what's already occurring—for better or worse—in classrooms, schools, and districts. Jim Collins (2001) arrived at a similar conclusion about technology in the business world."(ascd)

There have been several commentators asking about district state Report Card data. We really need to bring in some new blood-lines.

underthebridge

So true about amplifying what is already occuring.

fredinperkins

With the inside millage move, how much did that take us below the 20 mil minimum?

Will it cost the taxpayer additional money to bring it back to the 20 mil floor?

Will this be added on to the 10 year 6.73 "emergency" levy.

I have come to an informed decision regarding the levy, yet I have not seen these questions answered on a previous post.

Bherrle

I am pretty sure Perkins was at 25.2 "outside" mills before the move. The 5.2 mill move to inside puts Perkins right at the 20 outside mill floor. The board did not want any automatic increase to kick in to get to the 20 mill floor.

donutshopguy

RMyer,

Thanks for the diet coke. Appreciate your time and input on the Perkins levy issues. We both are looking at improving the educational resources of our community. We just are traveling different paths.

RMyer

You're welcome. You can buy next time. I enjoyed the face to face conversation versus only commenting online.

VOTENO

Get a room.

underthebridge

+1

believeit

Another inane comment to make anything you post less relevant.

fredinperkins

ORC 5705.211 (D) ...An additional tax for (School District)for the purpose of paying current operating expenses ... at a rate to offset any reduction in basic state funding caused by APPRECIATION in real estate values.

I am sure my property value DECREASED in the past few years

Centauri

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/0...
"Seeing No Progress, Some Schools Drop Laptops"

underthebridge

I just wonder if $ for $, it is worth it. The big promoters (and if you check out Gunner's dissertation a few posts back) say it makes students more engaged. The lingering question is whether engagement = achievement.

Centauri

Why do schools often pick outsiders to become superintendents of schools in Ohio? I am open for debates as time permits me. I have done some research into the Perkins Local School District in Ohio.

eriemom

I am of the opinion that an insider would have been a better choice for the superintendent position after the divisiveness of the strike to bring the community together.

That being said, I think that all school districts benefit from hiring teachers from outside of the community because outsiders bring in fresh ideas. A closed community can easily become hostile to outsiders and react negatively to change. Learning IS a change, so in a closed educational environment little progress will be made.

believeit

A valid point although every district has its own particulars. Speaking in general terms, many would probably argue that hiring within only perpetuates the "old boys network". Or as we have seen locally, hiring from within does not necessarily ensure a divisiveness-free community (ie. Huron).

eriemom

Which is why I stipulated that teachers can make change from within. It is our teachers that have direct contact with my children. It is our teachers that I work with to help guide my child's learning. That is why I send my kids to school.

eriemom

@ Centauri: What have you learned while researching?

Centauri

"I am of the opinion that an insider would have been a better choice for the superintendent position"

Good comment.

eriemom

Thank you, but keep in mind that I was referring to the period since 2007. We, as a district and community, needed time to heal.

believeit

True, but Denny Rectanwald did a wonderful job as interim superintendent during those times.

eriemom

Yes, but not nearly long enough.

believeit

It was Mr. Rectanwald's choice to leave, not the board's, but the point is that depending on circumstances, an outsider is sometimes the appropriate and best choice.

eriemom

Key to your point is "depending on the circumstances," and we were not ready to move in the direction that this superintendent led. Dr. Gunner's inability to communicate effectively with our economically diverse population, along with the boards lack of diversity, have created an atmosphere of distrust.

I believe that a trusted "insider" may have been a better choice. Hindsight. Looking forward, which insider would Perkins trust and follow today?

dbstr

I was wondering if any of you might know how the schools that are losing Physical Education teachers are planning on teaching P.E.? Seeing how it is required for every school to teach P.E. I am wondering if they plan on making regular classroom teachers teach P.E. to the kids and if those teachers will be required to take the PRAXIS exam. http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/pub... The link goes to a page with the Ohio State Physical Education requirements. So, our children will not be losing P.E. class, they are losing the appointed P.E. teacher.

eriemom

"Elementary classroom teachers (generalists) may teach K-8 physical education classes." From your link. General education(Elem. Ed. 1-8)teachers have passed the PRAXIS (at least 2 tests).

Bherrle

Don't know if anyone is still looking at this blog, but I received numbers on the Laptop program yesterday from Lisa Crescimano - CFO/Treasurer of Perkins, which support the information I received from 2 others, that Perkins spends less than $300,000 per year on the laptop program. Below are her comments:

We signed a laptop lease with Apple on February 9, 2012 for $1,479,280. In this lease there was $200,000 in computer expenses for the elementary buildings which left a net lease amount for the one-to-one laptop initiative at approximately $1,279,000.

• We received $363,000 for the trade in of the old laptops,leaving about $916,000 for the actual net cost of the new laptop lease.

• We intend on keeping the laptops for 4 years instead of 3.

• If I calculate $916,000 by 4 years, the annual hardware cost is $229,000.

Regarding textbooks, expenses were as follows:
FY2013 = 104,640
FY2012 = 73,960
FY2011 = 216,964
FY2010 = 176,341
FY2009 = 175,294
FY2008 = 403,791.55

eriemom

Well, according to what you learned, the district is paying less for technology out of the Improvement Fund. Before we moved to the Apple 1:1, the budget was at $250,000 according to Dr. Gunner. At $229,000 per year we are spending less. I'm sure that start up costs for infrastructure was costly, but now we are just maintaining.

What you didn't include in the Apple project was human resource costs. I believe the district pays a technology administrator and at least two techs. Although some of this cost could be paid for with other resources. I'm not sure how they are paid.

Textbook cost FY2008 were very high. I wonder why. These costs do seem to be lower with the use of technology, if that is the cause.

eriemom

I wonder what the Board meet at 7:30 am on Wednesday, 6/26/13 was about. It was posted to the school website sometime after the meeting was held. The website does not state whether it was public, special or executive.

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