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

VOTENO

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Vote Informed

A new building won't be build until we are fiscally stable. Although it would be great to have a new building, this levy is strictly for school funds. VOTE YES!

VOTENO

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Vote Informed

I cannot make this any easier to understand. This levy is for school funds. None of the money from this levy will go to the new building. Please visit http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx and you will see this to be true. Stop spreading false information. VOTE YES!

VOTENO

.

Vote Informed

Question: Levy Money Use

If the levy passes in August, will any of that money be used for new facilities or building renovations?

Answer:

No. This is a general operating levy for the day-to-day operations of the school district. This money will be used for salaries, benefits, supplies and materials to operate the school daily. The Board previously has set aside the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to be used for facility renovation or construction. The Board intends on using the “Inside Millage” funds to address school facility needs sometime in the future. At this time, any building project has been placed on hold until we can stabilize the day-to-day operations of the district.

I have the facts. VOTE YES!

VOTENO

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Vote Informed

We're the minority? You'll see, vote no. You'll see. They're not the lies, you are.

Vote4Perkins

I agree "Vote Informed," people are just writing with emotions and not with facts.

Vote Yes!

Strong Schools ...

Stay strong positive voters! Vote yes and support our students!

fifteenthgreen

Wasn't that long ago the teachers were crying for public support against the board and Superintendent while on Strike! Can't win either with these juveniles that can't even get the job done. Most got a job because they're either alumni or their parents taught in the system when the district was excellent with distinction. Will forever have their hand out. Pride, Tradition, Simply Efficient!

eriemom

" Most got a job because they're either alumni or their parents taught in the system when the district was excellent with distinction."

Who hires staff? When will we hire/retain core subject teachers based on objective data rather than subjective opinion?

Vote4Perkins

That was a different Board, different Superintendent, and a different Time.

so.....

I wish this sight had "like" buttons

Save R Students

This levy is for school funds, not a new building. I am with Vote Informed. VOTE YES!

VOTENO

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Vote Informed

You no voters are putting false information out there! The need for this money came from lack of state money! We recieve $500,000 less state aid today than we did in 2002. This levy is for day-to-day funds! VOTE YES!

bobshumway92

You yes voters are spreading false information. Move the inside millage back and get the money back for the stadium that we didn't need. Gunner has a group of scared people believing him. VOTE NO!

Vote4Perkins

Not to mention the 2 Million dollars in cuts from the state for next year

Wald

What's to say Gunner won't steal money from the "school funds" to build his new building? He's done it before, right? There is no trust in anything he says. Vote no!

Vote Informed

"Who's to say?" Gunner himself said that he wouldn't use any of that money for the new building! I copied this from the levy Q&A website (http://perkins.k12.oh.us/Levy.aspx)

Question: Levy Money Use

If the levy passes in August, will any of that money be used for new facilities or building renovations?

Answer:

No. This is a general operating levy for the day-to-day operations of the school district. This money will be used for salaries, benefits, supplies and materials to operate the school daily. The Board previously has set aside the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to be used for facility renovation or construction. The Board intends on using the “Inside Millage” funds to address school facility needs sometime in the future. At this time, any building project has been placed on hold until we can stabilize the day-to-day operations of the district.

If you have any further questions ask the board at the link I provided. If you don't like the leadership, then vote them out! Don't punish our students and teachers because you don't approve of the board. VOTE YES!

bobshumway92

Like Vote NO said before. As soon as a levy passes they will be breaking ground on the new school. Move the millage back!

Vote Informed

We're not scared Bob. And we're not scared of you no voters either! We have the facts, and you have the opinions!

Question: Levy Money Use

If the levy passes in August, will any of that money be used for new facilities or building renovations?

Answer:

No. This is a general operating levy for the day-to-day operations of the school district. This money will be used for salaries, benefits, supplies and materials to operate the school daily. The Board previously has set aside the 5.2 mils of “Inside Millage” to be used for facility renovation or construction. The Board intends on using the “Inside Millage” funds to address school facility needs sometime in the future. At this time, any building project has been placed on hold until we can stabilize the day-to-day operations of the district.

Vote YES!

DLK

It's almost funny that supporters believe this levy is not for a new school.

Technically you are right. But don't you get it's to replace the operating money they moved to PI so they can build a school?

Yet you supporters - mostly parents and staff - want to blame us for voting no, for teachers losing job and for programs being cut. We support Perkins Schools. We don't support this plan.

bobshumway92

+1.

Vote Informed

The money shortage came from lack of state funding. If you think its funny that we believe Dr. Gunner, then you'll laugh real hard when you try to sell your house when property values plummet if this levy fails. (which it won't) VOTE YES!

bobshumway92

I don't plan on selling my house so I hope the value plummets. That means less tax money i pay that would be wasted by Gunner.

citizen

First sentence is either a lie or you are buying the propaganda.

RMyer

DLK-Please present your plan that will accomplish the goals of stabilizing operations and solving the facility issue, and which will not cost us taxpayers more than what is being asked for now or into the near future (2-5 years out)? Please provide some realistic numbers/projections. If you don't like the current plan for stabilizing operations and addressing the facility issues, then you should be prepared to offer a better one. During the past few years, there have been several options put forward. After reviewing the numbers, the current plan is the best option presented that accomplishes short and long term goals and is at the lowest cost to taxpayers. Should anyone commenting on here wish to review the numbers, please let me know or contact the board office.

What concerns me is that we will look back at the 4.98 emergency levy in 2010 and wish it had passed. We are now up to 6.73 mills, and I hope that we won't look back and hope we had passed this one. Passing this emergency levy (which expires and has to be renewed in ten years) now will accomplish short and long term goals. Waiting, delaying, etc. will only cause the amount of the levy to increase.

Strong Schools ...

The last levy we passed was in 2000. We have not passed a levy for new operational money for 13 years. It is time to take care of our schools and students. Only one levy has been passed in 18 years and that was the levy in 2000. Vote Yes!

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