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.”



Can any Gunner supporter define "financially stable" specifically?

You all keep using this argument, yet are unable to define what it means.

Please refrain from repeatedly stating this, as noone knows what it means.

Well, actually, we do. It's as soon as this building levy passes.

Edwin Ison

Strong Schools, Bherrle or Vote Yes,

Define "financially stable" as it pertains to the new campus construction.

If you cannot define "financially stable" simply, all your other talking points will fall on deaf ears.

"Financially stable" defined will allow voters to decide if this new levy request is an operations levy, or a new building levy disuised as an operations levy.

Again, without talking points or any gunner fluff, define what "financial stability" is and how "financial stability" will be reached.

Please only answer the question asked, keep it simple as I'm just a garbage man.

Strong Schools ...

Did you attend the last Board of Education Meeting? A lot of programs are being cut to save money. The athletic and arts programs will take a huge financial hit as well. I want my children and other people's children to get an amazing education. I feel our children are worth every penny it takes. I will not take my frustration with the board out on the students. They do not make the choices for the district.

Edwin Ison

Define "financially stable"!

If you cannot answer such a direct and simple question, I question your mission!

Vote Informed

Please submit your question to the BOE at They will answer your question completely and then post it to the public so others who have your same question can view it.


Various posters have said they've submitted questions with no reply. Stop giving this option.

Vote Informed

Please have patience for the BOE. Otherwise, please ask your questions at


Gunner and Board have stopped answering questions.

Further, PLEASE define SPECIFICALLY what financially stable means. Gunner's supporters keep using this term as it relates to when the new buildings will be built to try to convince voters this is not a building levy... but noone is able to explain what this means, specifcally.

I will give you a clue. It means as soon as this "operations" levy is passed, they will start construction on the new facilities.


Thank you for your answer, Strong Schools, but how long is it going to take them to "align the curriculum" with the new state standards and the common CORE? I know it continuously changes but nine years plus? Also, how can adjacent school districts figure it out and we can't? Are the tests different for Huron, Oak Harbor and Edison?

03-04 Effective (Buccieri)
04-05 Effective
05-06 Continuous Improvement
06-07 Continuous Improvement
07-08 Effective (Rechtenwald/Gunner)
08-09 Effective
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective


Also, why are we rated "Below" on the Value scale and all other schools have "Met" this criteria?


If you would like to meet with me and go through the nuts and bolts of the reports, I think I can help explain what is going on with value added and other data. I'll even buy your coffee.

Edwin Ison

Define "financial stability".

Strong Schools ...

The district is currently working on fixing the problem. No one wants our children to fail.We have had multi-age since 2000, we have had STEM since 2009 and Open Enrollment since 2009. W have been Excellent, Effective and Continuous Improvement in some of those years. The test questions are different every year,the standards change periodically and the state raises the bar at different testing intervals? I encourage you to take one of the practice tests provided by the ODE website? It


Student success or failure is determined at home, often before they set foot in kindergarten.


"Continuous Improvement" is worse than Effective!


Your right. Let's hire some more coaches. Let's get rid of everyone who has ideas that might be worth pursuing--that's not the way that we do things around here. The way that we do things is effective, but not excellent.

Strong Schools ...

Yes it is, and our district has improved since that rating.


"The school board promises not to proceed with any building or negotiate a new contract with the superintendent until after the November vote on school board members."

Simple solution to this complicated problem.


You know that is not going to happen.

Gunner meets with the architects daily....saw them together yesterday. It is full speed ahead people.

Vote Informed

Incorrect. It is not "full speed ahead" This levy is for school funds due to the lack of state funding, and the fact that the last time we passed a levy was in 2000. It isn't because of the stadium and it isn't because of the new building plans. Like I said yesterday, your post may or may not be true, and just because the building plans are on hold doesn't mean we can't plan ahead.


Your post is a lie.

This is a building levy.

Gunner removed millions of dollars from operations funds, essentially bankrupting his own district.

Vote Informed

False. The shortage of money came from lack of state funding and the fact that in the past 18 years, we've past only 1 levy.



Supt. Gunner did no such thing. The BOE voted to move the inside millage. After three public meetings were held on the issue, which, the board was under no obligation to hold by law. But they held them anyway. Did you attend any of them? It is completely within the BOE's authority to do so, it was the right move for the district long term, and the public is not allowed to vote it. One has to be on the board to vote on it.

We all understand you don't like the fact that the board can do this, but state law grants them the authority. They did nothing secretive, unethical, immorral, or illegal.


Has anybody done a public records check for the super's evaluations? We don't want to be the next Huron Fiasco.


I will change my "no" vote to a 'yes" vote if the school board adopts mrgadfly's proposal.

Now, is this about the kids or is it something else?

Strong Schools ...

Your family should change your vote! Supporty our family, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc. Stay focused on the students and vote yes!


One of the mouthpieces with the authority to speak for Gunnar needs to explain how the current Board of Education defines "Financial Stability". I will bet money that the levy getting passed would count as "Financial Stability" and the building continues. The "yes vote" people know this and are liars if they deny it. They are intentionally being vague as if that makes them any less dishonest. Has anyone noticed that no one denies that the supersuper has been meeting with the planners and has borrowed 3 million dollars to design the school? Why is this not being denied? This whole fiasco is contempt of democracy. Let's just have a few of you stand up and claim that the building has been put on hold.

Vote Informed

I claim that the building has been put on hold. The money that is being generated by the levy is going towards saving the 14 teaching positions and for the Pay to Play fees to be brought back down. Like I've said before, if you would ask the board at, they can define financial stability for you. Please have patience while waiting for their answer. We YES voters are not being vague and dishonest, we're stating the facts. Consider it what you want, but that's what we're doing. You can call us names all you want but we're fighting for our students and teachers. I'm voting yes because I support our students and teachers. Please put aside the hatred of the school board and think of the students when voting this August, and please stop spreading false information.


Question: Levy Money Use

If the levy passes in August, will any of that money be used for new facilities or building renovations?


No. This is a general operating levy for the day-to-day operations of the school district. This money will be used for salaries, benefits, supplies and materials to operate the school daily. The Board previously has set aside the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to be used for facility renovation or construction. The Board intends on using the “Inside Millage” funds to address school facility needs sometime in the future. At this time, any building project has been placed on hold until we can stabilize the day-to-day operations of the district.


Anyone can make up a BOE Q&A and post it on here. Here's my imaginary Q&A:


Question: If the levy passes in August, will the money be used to build a new Perkins Academy?

Answer: Absolutely. What have those silly Yes voters been telling you? That's been our intention all along. Sorry if they keep bothering you.

Vote Informed

I encourage you to stop spreading the false information. The funds from this levy will be used for day-to-day functioning of our school system. Your "imaginary" post is obviously not legitimate. Go to and see that mine is obviously real. I'm voting yes for the teachers and students. Voting no only punishes our children.