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

fifteenthgreen

Getting worse compared to who? Edison, Huron, St.Marys, Margaretta, Sandusky, Port Clinton.....................

Centauri

What really goes on during the Perkins School District's public meetings? Any videos?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s...

Sometimes a little humor helps.

44870 South

Hahaha! At this late hour not being able to sleep, I needed that laugh!

44870 South

"The board does not know..." Well, isn't that convenient. They seemed to know when they took out the hefty loan for blue prints!

None of this makes any sense. I don't know what to think anymore...

Vote Informed

The board doesn't know when we will be stable enough to build the new facilites, correct. It's not convenient, its what it is. They took out the "hefty loan" for the blue prints and planned on building the new school (to the best of my knowledge) until we were put into the situation of lack of state funding. I know some of it doesn't make sense right now, but I urge you to attend the next BOE meeting and maybe it will make a little more sense.

Centauri

"They took out the "hefty loan" for the blue prints and planned on building the new school until we were put into the situation of lack of state funding."

Very interesting comment.

citizen

When EXACTLY was Perkins "put into the situation of lack of state funding?"

Gunner took out the $3,000,000 loan in April, I believe. There was that big of a drastic change in 2 months that was not expected?

Come on, use some common sense.

I've already done the math. It's an 8% decrease in revenue. (Although Perkins audited financial statement are projecting an increase in revenue for this fiscal year. I don't what to believe.... although I do know either what, it makes Gunner look like the deceitful "leader" he is).

Strong Schools ...

Open Enrollment, grants, and partnerships have helped keep us off the ballot for the past five years. The state has made major financial cuts to our school district and this causes the communities to step in and pay for what we have. Please support the students!

fifteenthgreen

So what you're saying is that if they pass this thing, they have no idea when they'll be stable enough. So one day we'll just magically become stable. BS

Vote Informed

This is a school operations levy, not a building levy. Think of the students and the 14 teachers that could lose their jobs if this levy fails. Put aside your hatred for Dr. Gunner and put the more important thing ahead of it. Our children's education.

fifteenthgreen

Now it's about the fourteen teachers, again. I thought it was about the health and safety of the kids. That was March. Sorry. Oh, I know. Be patient. They'll figure it out eventually. Anyone ever think that these people just aren't capable to handle this mess.

Vote Informed

It's always been about the students AND teachers. Voting no will only punish them. Vote yes or no, Dr. Gunner still has a job. If you're dissatisfied with him, vote the BOE out on the November ballot. Otherwise, you're just hurting the students and teachers.

Edwin Ison

So this levy is for operations..... then its passage will not permit a new building, right.

Does that mean an additional levy or levy's will be needed to reach the mythical "financial stability"?

Strong Schools ...

It is a process and takes time. This levy is to support the operational costs of the district. Our day-to-day costs. Vote Yes!

Edwin Ison

The "situation" came about from moving funds and having the people that pay the bills say enough!

Vote Informed

Again, I ask that you think of the students and teachers when voting this August.

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.

believeit

It seems apparent that you are from the Edison School District (and a very good district in its own right). Why are you are on this blog other than an attempt to increase your open enrollment?

fifteenthgreen

Rated better than ours. Go Chargers!

believeit

Again, another Perkins resident happy with a troubled system rather than trying to improve the situation. Sad.

fifteenthgreen

Again, another Perkins resident disgusted with a failing district with horrible leadership, B and effective rankings.

believeit

For someone with a username associated with golf, your idea of "sub par" is the joke. Should you read and understand the ratings, you would know that Perkins missed an excellent rating as a district by just a couple of rating points. When broken down, the high school has actually been excellent for as long as the current rating system has been used. The fact is that you are obsessed with a complex and often criticized rating system rather than how people view the district (desire for open enrollment doesn't occur by people reading ratings, but rather word of mouth testimonials). Again, ALL districts in the area have open enrollment, but only Perkins has a 500 student waiting list.

fifteenthgreen

Open enrollment occurs when students get kicked out of better rated and disciplined school districts and they have to settle on Perkins.

Vote Informed

Or they are dissatisfied with their current district and wish to seek a better education at Perkins Local Schools. My children know of many high scoring open enrolled students. Open enrollment isn't a bad thing, no matter how you look at it, and I'm sad to see that you've viewed it in a way that degrades all open enrolled students by saying they've been kicked out of their current school, when the majority hasn't.

believeit

You apparently have no idea of what open enrollment is about. No district is required to accept students from other districts, and discipline problems are certainly a deciding factor for acceptance. Nobody is "settling" on Perkins. I still don't understand why so negative about where you live. Its like a Cleveland native rooting for the Tribe to lose.

fifteenthgreen

ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz................

Strong Schools ...

Thank you for your comment believeit. I appreciate your thoughts. We will still have to repeat ourselves because some people have a hard time understanding and comprehending this information. Support our Students in August!

Edwin Ison

I own property in Perkins school district and live in Edison school district.

And.... these nefarious actions have a way of reappearing in neighboring districts if successful.

Vote Informed

If you vote no on this levy, then your property in Perkins will lose value.

fifteenthgreen

Oh, the renters! Hey, how come someone at the committee meeting failed to mention the renters and their landlords? Get Gunner on the phone!

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