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.”



"We've only just begun". That's your problem. You should have been stopping Gunner a few years ago from creating this mess. Vote no!

Vote Informed

This mess was not caused exclusively by Dr. Gunner, who has nothing but good intensions for our school district. It was mainly caused by the lack of state funding. If you do not approve of the board then I encourage you to vote them out. Please don't punish our students and teachers for the common hatred that arises from uninformed voters just looking to put the blame on Dr. Gunner. VOTE YES!


OK RMyer, since you is my plan for Perkins Schools' economic stability. Listen carefully because it is a complicated one.

Don't build.


Have you looked at the projections from the various options? Your solution solves neither the short nor long term financial picture.

The New World Czar

Another uncomplicated solution would be decertifying the PEA and hiring of non-union teachers. Who do you think really is behind this levy? More tax $$$ => More OEA and NEA lobbying money. "For the kids"...HA!

Strong Schools ...

Both unions have given to help our schools financially:

Teachers Union agreed to a two year pay freeze to save $528, 000
Teachers Union saved the district $465,000 in insurance

Non Teachers took a four year pay freeze which saved the district over $647, 000.
Non Teachers saved the district $457,000 in insurance.

Both unions are aware of the situation and are trying to help as much as they can. Get your facts!



Not helping with that "Effective" rating, though. Get your facts!



In response to your comment: "Not helping with that "Effective" rating, though. Get your facts!"

Below are all of the facts, not just the one that you seem to be focused on:

Here is a brief explanation of the Value-Added Measure.

Here is a brief overview of how Perkins has faired on the ODE District Report cards from the previous ODE link.


08-09 Effectiive
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective


08-09 Effective
09-10 Excellent w/Distinction
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective


08-09 Excellent
09-10 Effective
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective


08-09 Excellent
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Excellent
11-12 Excellent

District (with additional years)

03-04 Effective (Buccieri)
04-05 Effective
05-06 Continuous Improvement
06-07 Continuous Improvement
07-08 Effective (Rechtenwald/Gunner)
08-09 Effective
09-10 Excellent
10-11 Effective
11-12 Effective

Perkins seemed to decline significantly with the administration of Buccieri, the strike, etc. Things that have changed over the years include, among other things, the Curriculum Directors.


Ohio gives public schools and districts one of six ratings. The state does not award schools letter grades, but the official ratings can be roughly translated as follows:

Excellent With Distinction = A+
Excellent = A
Effective = B
Continuous Improvement = C
Academic Watch = D
Academic Emergency = F

Those grades are based on:

The percentage of students passing state tests;
How well students score on state tests;
For elementary and middle schools, a calculation showing how much progress students made in a particular school year;
Attendance rates;
High school graduation rates; and
Whether or not the school or district meets federal standards. (Those federal standards are called Adequate Yearly Progress and include reading and math test passing rates and test participation, attendance and graduation rates.)


DLK +1


We need Perkins & Sandusky to merge, what a great school system that would be!!! My address is Sandusky, not Perkins, Ohio. And for those Perkins residents who think they are so much superior to Sandusky, wake up and live in the real world!! Sandusky has so much more to offer and your children need to learn at a young age to effectively interact with all people. And also if you have a gifted child, enroll them in the new gifted program at Jackson school, Sandusky Schools. Kudos to Sandusky for offering this to the children and families of this area. My children are grown now, one graduating from Sandusky and one from Perkins, and I can honestly say that they both had great educations, so if we merge, think what a super power school we would have!!! Perkins Avenue should not be like a line drawn in the sand!!!! Let's do what is right for all the children. And really Perkins, it is way past time for uniforms!!! The way some of the jr. high and high school kids dress is awful.....

44870 South

I agree Rosa, I think he time has come....the problem is the adults and their selfish pride, who are equally as stuck in in their traditions. I too feel this would be a good thing....ONE large, diverse school district with tons of potential and opportunities...FRMC Field can be the soccer field.


This is another thing that bothers me. "You are a Sandusky resident, not Perkins".... Okay then. Why are you on this blog? Not meant to be a rude question. But why is it that you are a Sandusky resident and worried about Perkins? You don't have to be. It is none of anyones business beside3s the Perkins Tax Payers and Students.


Pride, Tradition, just Effective! Grade B

Pirate Mom

Go here for voter registration form that you can print and send in:
Go here for absentee ballot that you can print and hand deliver or mail in:
You can check the website for any questions you may have:


Thanks Pirate Mom...


Wasn't that long ago the teachers were crying for public support against the board and Superintendent while on Strike!

Vote Informed

Dr. Gunner wasn't the superintendent when the teacher strike took place, and most of the board has changed since then. The strike took place 8 years ago. And I must say that you are very wrong with saying so much negativity about our teaches. It's such a shame. Our teachers are talented, intelligent, and hardworking individuals. I have 3 kids in the system, and two have graduated. I've never heard anything like you've just said and I have to say that I'm quite astonished about how little you know about our teachers and how much negativity you have to say about them.

Strong Schools ...

That was a different situation with different leadership. Get some real facts!

Support Our Students!


In response to your post: "Wasn't that long ago the teachers were crying for public support against the board and Superintendent while on Strike!"

It was 8 years, two Superintendents, and numerous board member elections ago.


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


Same teachers!

Vote Informed

I'm in full support for the levy, the teachers, the students, and the board. I find it hard to believe that the no voters would not only spread incorrect facts, but criticize the teachers. If you have kids in the school system, and this levy fails, they will be affected. If they're in band, they'll loose the best band director that Perkins has ever had. We YES voters will not stand for the bullying from the no voters! Don't criticize the teachers and don't punish the students because you're mad at the board. VOTE YES for the students and teachers!

Finn Finn

You have the audacity to say you "will not stand for the bulling from the no voters!" Clearly, you have no clue what you look like to other people. Your sophomoric cheerleading isn't swaying anyone.

Vote Informed

We are simply informing residents of Perkins of what will happen if this levy fails. Think of all the students and teachers! Students will not be able to play their favorite sports because most families cannot afford to pay $730/ sport. By voting no, we as a community are punishing the students and making it harder for them to get the quality education that we did when we were kids. I intend for my kids to be able to play sports and be in National Honors Society, and all other activities they choose to be in this year. I am voting YES for the students! The teachers! And the community! Don't let the hatred of the board decide your vote. Think of the families that will be impacted.

Finn Finn

ZZZzzz . . .

Vote Informed

Yes, leadership. If you don't like the current leadership its your job to vote them out. Complaining does absolutely nothing but generate hatred and negativity. I encourage you to think about the situation and decide what's more important. The hatred of the school board, or the quality education for our students? I will be voting YES because I believe in our hardworking teachers and students and I will not let them be punished! VOTE YES!


Unfortunately.....fifteen less!




Has anyone considered what Obamacare is going to do for people and their paychecks on Jan 1, 2014. For those voting yes or no this also has to be taken into consideration since most health care will be going up for people across the board. Will the teachers union take this into effect and adjust how much they pay themselves or will the schools portion of the health insurance go up? And why did the schools excellent rating change to effective and exactly what does that mean for college bound students?

Just some questions to open up a different discussion than voting yes or no. That seems to be pretty apparent to everyone involved how difference groups are voting.