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.”



You are the one spreading lies and false information.

You keep using a "financial stability" argument yet have no idea what that means. Who makes an argument but doesn't know what they are arguing? I guess supporters of Gunner.

The funds from this levy will replace operating funds that were moved by Gunner's choice to building and permanent improvement funds. Placing new, grand facilities over the education of the district's students.

Vote Informed

The funds will go to maintaining the day-to-day functions of our school district. If you want Dr. Gunner's exact words of what financially stable, is then ask him at, and patiently wait for an answer. We are spreading the truth! VOTE YES!

Strong Schools ...

We can only tell you what has been reported to us at the board meetings. The board and Gunner have said this is not a building levy but a levy to help the district operate day-to-day. I am totally willing to pay whatever I need to to make sure my children are receiving a quality education.


Ok "Vote Informed", do you honestly believe that while claiming that this August Levy pays salaries, benefits and supplies, will that allow the inside millage that it replaced to remain in a separate fund for the new school. To you, "Vote Informed" is it dishonest to claim that the new levy money goes for operations while a very similar amount of money has been moved into permanent improvement in the same year? Would you be comfortable if the levy passes and the Board immediately begins to construct the school that the voters clearly refuted twice? Are you good with that? Would Jesus or George Washington be able to say that this levy is not going to permit the building of a new school?

Vote Informed

Like I've said previously, the shortage of money came from lack of state funding and the fact that we haven't passed a levy since 2000. Moving the inside milage means there will still be additional cuts of approximately 1.5 million. Soon we will be forced into being a state minimum school district. Call us liars, but we're stating the facts. The board will not commence building the new facilities until we are fiscally stable. The money that taxpayers will pay when this levy passes will be used for salaries, benefits, and supplies. Don't punish the students because you hate the board and have no trust in them. Take that anger out on the November ballot when you're choosing new officials to be on the board. VOTE YES for the students!


Ok, one more time. I'll try and write it in crayon for you:

Your employer and thousands of family members tell you they are going to be reducing your pay. They have been telling you for years, but you being you, weren't paying attention or just didn't care. The signs were there with the looming budget cuts, critical economic conditions, etc...

Anyway, you take your paycheck like always, deposit it in your general account to pay your bills and out of nowhere, you decide to put it into a savings account instead of leaving it in your general account. Why? Because you think you might be able to get a better interest rate on any future purchases down the road with that money in your savings account.

Now, since you've deposited all of your check into your savings account, you have no money left to pay your bills.

But that's OK. You'll just call on a few thousand family members or so to help you out. Problem is, they tell you NO. Twice.

So what do you do? You go out and make large purchases like stadiums, laptops, etc... In addition, you take out a very large loan for just a design on a home that your significant other said that you cannot afford. You do it anyway. All while your general account is empty.

So now what do you do? You change your story and call all of your thousands of relatives and ask them for even more money than the first time.

But since you're so stubborn, have a huge ego and really want that big, nice house that you can't afford, you're still willing to risk it all and that of your thousands of family members to get what you want. Why? Because you feel entitled.

Oh, I know. You say it is in the best interest of your family, their health, etc., but most people use that excuse when they get into financial trouble. And like most black sheep in the family, you will continue to call until you get what you want and if you nag just enough, your hope is that they may finally just cave in just to shut you up.

All while you still have your original paycheck in your savings account waiting to buy that big house that you can't afford.

Vote Informed

What a great story! Just a reminder... The big house is on hold until we're financially stable and this levy is for school funds.


That's what all the fiscally irresponsible say.

Strong Schools ...

Well you are right on one thing. The school district has not passed a levy for new money in 18 years and they need new money to help operate our schools. What they did with the inside millage was not illegal. They announced and voted on the inside millage at public board meeting. Why didn't you speak up then? Did you go to the meetings? Some school boards can up the millage without a vote and the public has to deal with their choices (Florida and other states use this method). Our board was trying to be responsible and provide a safe and healthy learning environment. It is embarrassing to know that our high school structure is one of the worst in the entire state. We need to keep our pride and vote for the students!


School structure is worse than whos? Margaretta, Sandusky, PC, Huron, St. Marys, Edison, Vermilion, Danbury, PNB, Oak Harbor, Clyde..............


15th - I have been in all those schools in the last two years, accept PNB and Vermilion, and YES - are schools are horrible! They need to be updated! However, this levy isn't about Perkin's buildings. This levy is an operating levy...I think it's funny how you guys can't understand that after it has been explained so many times. Do what I did, research all these facts for yourself. Learn the real issues. Don't believe all the media, because they can't seem to get this right, and certainly don't listen to general people out there who just don't want "new taxes." Obviously, no one wants new taxes...but this is about keeping a school district stable and preparing it for the future. A future that will one day not have a Gunner or these board members running it. Perhaps it may be you or me on the board running it! Either way, don't you want to see it remain a great school district? I do! And honestly, I know you do too! Vote yes, get the levy through. Then lets rally and get new leadership in there for our school board!


That would be "our" issues, not "are" issues.


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


Just Imagine. If Gunnar and the Board can pull off this bait and switch and outright fraud can you imagine what else they might try to pull if we do not stop them. Defend Democracy and Voters dignity, Vote No!!!!

Vote Informed

Vote YES for the students! Take out the hatred of the board and vote them out in November, but don't punish the students! VOTE YES!

Edwin Ison

Strong Schools, Vote informed, 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.


I need a few questions answer by Gunner's supporters.

1. Perkins Schools is projecting an increase of $1-1.4 million in revenues in FY 13. How is it that Gunner and Board are alleging Perkins Schools are on the brink of financial disaster, have to "dismantle themselves" adn "no longer have a district" if this levy fails. Revenue is projected to increase $1-1.4 million without a tax increase?

The only logical solution is because they have no money to operate the schools because Gunner and Board moved millions of dollars from operating to new facilities!

2. Define specifically what financial stability is. Gunner supporters keep trying to use this argument by stating the board has said they will not proceed with construction until the district is "financially stable." Again, define specifically what that means.

The only logical choice is as soon as this tax increase passes. Therefore, this is a building levy. Replacing operating funds moved against multiple taxpayer vote to building funds.

Again, Gunner supporters- 2 very straight-forward, simple questions that get to the heart of Gunner and Board's lies and deception.


Have you asked these questions of the board directly, on the website, or of Supt. Gunner directly?


I have. No reply.

Strong Schools ...

I have submitted your questions on the website and I will also check for your responses. Please stay focused on the students and vote yes!

The state average contribution is approximately 43% of total revenue received by a local school district. Perkins receives less than 33% of its revenue to operate our school district from the state. School districts in the state are receiving less funding from the state, forcing schools to seek money locally to make up for the decreasing percentage form the state.

True Blue

GET RID OF KASICK IN 2014!! He's part of the problem with state funding. Maybe you can ask Kasick to pay for your kids sports! Vote no!!

Edwin Ison

Question: Define "financial stability".

Answer: Sounds of crickets chirping.

44870 South, considering this is an "emergency operating levy", and it can only be used for operations, not new construction, if the levy passes and they were to break ground anywhere in the near future to build a brand new school, can we the taxpayers then bring a class-action law suit against the Perkins Board of Education and Superintendent for misuse of funds??? I'm just wondering.


I'd suggest you consult an attorney on that. My opinion is no, but I'm not a lawyer.


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"?


We are waiting....

44870 South

I am still waiting for an answer to my own question...once again...if the board uses any of the day to day operating funds for which they are pleading for, then nothing NEW should be built, correct?? I can see doing a little renovating inside the schools to add more classrooms, etc. But absolutely no NEW SCHOOLS! Which is ashame, considering how they deliberately angled the stadium archways to be a perfect "future" aesthetically pleasing backdrop to the new taj mahal they are planning for in the near future. But, back to my question...if ground were to be broken...can we sue???


I'm not an attorney, so I'd suggest consulting with one. In my opinion, no, you could not sue.

44870 South

I just want to make sure my YES vote (If that's what it is),is going for exactly what they say it is being used...for operations, not new buildings, that we don't need nor can afford right now. I am all about maintaining the teachers' jobs, allowing kids to be able to take part in clubs and sport for free (OH wait...that's the district across the street), well at least for cheaper, and get a good education (OH wait, you can get that across the street too, and free sports?? hmmmm.) Well back to my point - That's it. I want to know for sure that no new campus is gonna be built that I"m gonna have to foot the bill for over the next 10 years....can we have Gunner like take an oath on the 50 yard line of FRMC Field under the warm red glow of the neon Kasper Pressbox sign, put his hand on his heart and recite these words: "Dearest Taxpayers, I am sorry that I mislead you and then told you that you were all a bunch of misguided morons that can't add. I promise to use the extra $50 per month (on average) dollars that we are going to take from you and spend it on only what we NEED, NO NEW SCHOOL in an effort to pad my resume. I also promise, that I will move here by the time school starts in August, and also start contributing to the tax base in Perkins Township".

Is this plausible???

44870 South

I know I am being sarcastic there at the end...But my intention is a sincere one...what happens if the money is not used for what it was promised to be used for...or things get "moved" again down the road, and either people have forgotten and lost interest, become complacent, or simply don't want to expend the energy to try to read through all the rhetoric. My question is a sincere one...I just don't trust them.

Strong Schools ...

I can understand you frustration but please don't punish our children for other people's decisions.