Battle plans drawn

District seeks support for 10-year, 6.73-mill levy.
Alissa Widman
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.

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