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.”



I had also heard her case was in Federal Court, but knew no details. Did not know she had diabetes. That is certainly a factor.

I had a grandmother who was diabetic, and I am pre-diabetic, so I know the effect blood sugar levels can have when its too high or low.

Thanks for the info Eriemom.

Posted: 04.10.2013 at 10:51 PM

"Under the plan, the community could lose a lot more. In addition to those 18 teachers, school leaders say 15 non teaching employees such as secretaries and administration staff will lose their jobs, and changes to busing could axe 6 to 8 drivers."

"But, that's not all. School activity fees for sports and clubs go could up by 25 to 65 dollars, and field trips would be history."

"The solution, 2 levies the school board approved to put on the May ballot. One is a 5 year renewal 2 mill permanent improvement levy. The other is a 10 year 4.98 mill emergency operating levy."

"If passed by voters, one and maybe two teaching positions could be saved, and hikes in activity fees wouldn't happen."

How is it that the emergency levy jumps from 4.98 mills (MAY) to 6.73 mills in a short time? That is a large increase. Where will the extra money go?

"Q: Will the school board cancel plans to build a new school if the levy fails?

As of now, the school board has no intentions of canceling plans to build a new school because the facilities issues will not go away if the May levy fails.

Q: Why is the school being built without voter approval?

The school board will not move forward with plans to built a new building for junior high and high school students if voters do not approve the May levy because funds will not be available to do so."


The reason levy amounts go up each time when districts continue to go back to the polls is due to the timing of property tax collections. There are other factors for the increase as well. I have stated previously that, in my opinion, we will look in the rear view mirror at the Nov. 2010 and May 4.98 mills and regret that we didn't pass the ten year levy one those times. . I hope that we don't have to look at the ten year levy in August and wish we had passed it while we are facing a higher amount in the future. A lot of financial, educational, and people "damage" will result in the meantime.

The district treasurer would provide you with a more detailed explanation about how a district and auditor work together to arrive at the levy amount. Have you asked her your question? That would get the information you are looking for and would avoid the possibility of misinformation being posted on here.

Part 2: There are two issues that you seem to look at as one. Our duly elected BOE has plans to build a new school that will house grades 7-12. They are not canceling the plans to do that. I am glad that there is a plan in place; there should be; it needs to be done and is part of the strategic plan for the long term needs of the district (businesses also have strategic plans). I agree that new is better than renovate at this point because the independent reviews (experts in school building analysis) have advised that cost of renovation is at the point where it is better to replace than to renovate.

So, the plans are in the works. But, according to the quote you posted, the plans to proceed are on hold until the financial issue is solved. We have a plan; proceeding with the plan is currently on hold.

We elected the board members to make the best decisions given the various options on a wide range of issues related to educational and facility needs. I have posted before that I believe, after looking at the numbers and options presented the past few years, the board has chosen the least costly option for us taxpayers. A traditional 30 year bond levy vote of 7-8 mills plus a ten year operational levy now at 5 mills (would still need this next year even if inside millage is moved back) = 12.7 - 13.7 mills that we would be looking at (and my number is probably on the conservative side). On top of that, as other buildings need to be addressed, other additional bond levy amounts would have to be passed. There is a lot of merit to the long range district facility plans (grades 7-12 in one building, for example) that would alleviate some important issues our district residents and students face and which offer potential for expense reductions in the future that would save us tax dollars.

Again, I urge you to ask these questions of the administration or board members if you are truly interested in getting answers. Then, post the replies.

Perhaps I am misguided in my analysis. If I am, I am more than willing to reevaluate my position, but I would like to have the facts in front of me in order to make my informed decision.


"First section-a correction needs to be made to the article. The May levy was a ten year 5.5 mill levy."

Where are you getting your numbers from? Did the Erie County (Ohio) Board Of Elections post false information? People in Perkins Township voted out a very honest township trustee and township fiscal officer in past elections. Will the voters make a wise decision in voting for the school levy? Maybe you are getting the police levy mixed up with the school levy.

MAY 7, 2013
FOR THE TAX LEVY 1,409 35.63

NOVEMBER 2, 2010
PERKINS LSD - 4.98mills, 5years (additional)
Emergency Requirements
FOR THE TAX LEVY 2,627 42.04

NOVEMBER 6, 2012
FOR THE TAX LEVY 3,735 55.79

MAY 7, 2013
FOR THE TAX LEVY 2,394 65.91

I noticed the fire protection levy was a small fraction of the the police protection money. Will money from the police levy be moved to other township funds?

Will somebody please post all of the levy elections since the year 2000 for the Perkins School District? My time is limited.
I want to compare the truth to misinformation being posted here.


I appear to have been mistaken with the levy amount for which I apologize. I really don't like making mistakes (when going through the BOE election results, I must have picked up the township levy amount).

Anyway, that doesn't change what factors have to be considered when determining levy amounts going forward. For example, reductions going forward, property valuations may change between levy requests, additional changes from the state and so on. All of those factors come into play, so each time a levy amount is decided the current situation and future projections come into play.



Why would the school board and superintendent not jump at the concept of postponing any building or extension of the superintendent's contract until after the November election if it help pass this levy?

Just think about it for a minute or so.


A loaded question to be sure as it brings up some philosophical issues about the role of our elected officials and presents several scenarios for why someone would want to delay or block currently elected representatives from doing the job they were elected to do.

1) Is this something we want to make common practice? If there is a decision being made by any local gov't body at any time that some don't agree with, should we demand that any decision being made be "postponed" until the next election? Seems like that is a recipe for a largely ineffective government. I don't agree with all decisions that our locally elected leaders (township, school board, etc) have decided over the years, so I exercise my right to vote when elections come around. I would not be a supporter of "wait until the next election" for issues I disagree with. Some might say, "But, this is a big issue." Granted, it is, and we elected our current board to deal with it. In the future, who will determine which "big" issues get delayed until the next election?

2) If the motivation to wait until the election is to hope that candidates who are focused on one issue only are elected, I personally would find that disturbing as those who run for office should be focused on the whole.

3) The numbers aren't going to change nor is the facility issue going to change no matter who is in office. If the desire is to go the traditional bond levy route on top of operational levies, our elected officials will be asking us to pay considerably more in taxes than the current or past couple of levies have asked. I hope it is not the intention of folks to desire that we pay more taxes in the future to prove a point.

4) If the intention is to elect folks who will ignore the facility issue, I have an issue with that because they are not elected to ignore issues; they are elected to deal with them. On all issues, putting in the time to research the options, deliberating thoughtfully, making the best decision for residents, students and staff are what I expect of the board members (and other elected officials as well). That is what their job entails.

5) When I analyze who I am voting for, I try to sort out any particular agenda and try to figure out who is running for the "right reasons". I will may not agree with him or her at some point after an election, but that's the nature of our system.

6) The levy plan will pass on its own merits (i.e lowest cost option to taxpayers which will satisfy facility and educational and support staff needs).

I would be happy to discuss more of my thoughts over a cup of coffee-I'll buy.

Edwin Ison

In four months the millage increased 1.75 mills.

That's 5.25 mills per year extrapolated. Just to tread water.

Or maybe the huge increase is to allow the building complex to proceed.

The levy is about buildings, cloaked in sports/fee increases and teacher cuts.



FYI-See my post above about contacting the treasurer about how millage requests are arrived at between the district and auditor. I would also be happy to discuss in more detail with you over a cup of coffee.


"FYI-See my post above about contacting the treasurer about how millage requests are arrived at between the district and auditor."

See my above comment about the election results.


I replied after your election result posts.


Your willing to give up 14 jobs of your friends and institute horrendous fees for a 3 month wait? Wow!

For as hot as it is today I'll go for a Coke. Name the time and place.


No, not willing to see anyone lose a job - teacher or other occupation. I want this levy to pass so that students can get their teachers back and fees can be reduced to parents (of which I am one).

Casa Real on Rt. 250-3:00. Diet or regular soft drink?




"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."

If this is an "emergency" school levy, how can it exceed 5 years? I believe the maximum is 5 years in Ohio for an emergency school levy.


(B) The board of education of a city, local, or exempted village school district may adopt a resolution proposing the levy of a tax in excess of the ten-mill limitation for the purpose of paying the current operating expenses of the district. If the resolution is approved as provided in division (D) of this section, the tax may be levied at such a rate each tax year that the total taxes charged and payable from the levy equals the adjusted charge-off increase for the tax year or equals a lesser amount as prescribed under division (C) of this section. The tax may be levied for a continuing period of time or for a specific number of years, but not fewer than five years, as provided in the resolution. The tax may not be placed on the tax list for a tax year beginning before the first day of January following adoption of the resolution. A board of education may not adopt a resolution under this section proposing to levy a tax under this section concurrently with any other tax levied by the board under this section.(ORC 5705.211)

Not less than five years and levy is for the purpose of operation (not improvement).


Thank you for the information. Ohio has some very complex laws that even the Ohio Supreme Court can't figure it out.

How do other Ohio counties state the law for an emergency school levy?

Allen County, Ohio
"The maximum number of years an emergency levy can be levied is five years."
"Emergency levy---An emergency levy is a property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum of five years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Due to the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy needing to stay constant, the millage rate increases."
"Emergency levy — A property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum of five years)"
"Emergency Levy – property tax that serves as a limited operating levy (maximum five years) proposed for a specific dollar amount. Because the dollar amount of taxes charged by the levy must stay constant, the millage rate increases or decreases as property values change. Emergency levies can be renewed for the dollar amount originally requested."

Some parts of Ohio state 5 years maximum and others state 10 years. Which is it?

"Emergency Levy - This type of levy is submitted to the voters as a dollar amount. For example, "The emergency levy will raise $1,000,000 per year." An emergency levy can only be voted in for a period of time from one to five years, and expires after the time has elapsed unless renewed by a vote of the public." (THIS is interesting reading.)


The statute may have changed over time.


For history buffs:

Dr. James P. Gunner's 2007 Ed.D Dissertation


eriemom - Did you read the dissertation? What are your thoughts?


I'm thinking that this is the reason that Dr. Gunner was hired. How about you. What do you think?


I think that is the reason he was hired as well. One of the questions that surrounds these kinds 1 to 1 laptop initiatives is "Does engagement equal academic achievement?"

"Nearly a decade ago, when school systems began forking over millions of dollars to purchase laptop computers for every student, these programs (often called one-to-one or ubiquitous computing initiatives) were heralded as having the potential to close persistent technology gaps.

Today, however, some school systems that ushered in one-to-one laptop programs amid great fanfare have begun to scrap them because of budget cuts (Lemagie, 2010); mushrooming maintenance costs (Vascellaro, 2006); and concerns about how students are using the computers (Hu, 2007)".


"Rather than being a cure-all or silver bullet, one-to-one laptop programs may simply amplify what's already occurring—for better or worse—in classrooms, schools, and districts. Jim Collins (2001) arrived at a similar conclusion about technology in the business world."(ascd)

There have been several commentators asking about district state Report Card data. We really need to bring in some new blood-lines.


So true about amplifying what is already occuring.


With the inside millage move, how much did that take us below the 20 mil minimum?

Will it cost the taxpayer additional money to bring it back to the 20 mil floor?

Will this be added on to the 10 year 6.73 "emergency" levy.

I have come to an informed decision regarding the levy, yet I have not seen these questions answered on a previous post.


I am pretty sure Perkins was at 25.2 "outside" mills before the move. The 5.2 mill move to inside puts Perkins right at the 20 outside mill floor. The board did not want any automatic increase to kick in to get to the 20 mill floor.



Thanks for the diet coke. Appreciate your time and input on the Perkins levy issues. We both are looking at improving the educational resources of our community. We just are traveling different paths.


You're welcome. You can buy next time. I enjoyed the face to face conversation versus only commenting online.


Get a room.