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.”


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.


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 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 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 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.


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 ( 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.


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.


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.


"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.