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.”


Vote Informed

Roz1110- I encourage you to use the levy page (, and you will get a full and complete answer to all of your questions directly from the board.


My opinion - Obamacare needs to be rescinded. I don't see it actually getting to the point of going into effect, especially with Obama's public approval numbers dropping fast. That issue is an important one, but not one I link into my thoughts about the levy.


Welcome to the discussion Roz1110.


Yeah and you all know who I am since I don't hide when I have something to say.


@Roz: I know who you are. Welcome to the discussion. To answer your questions...

Contracts have been negotiated and all staff pay a percentage of the cost. What ever that cost may be.

I believe that district or building state ranking has no affect on individual student college admission. Colleges pay attention to SAT and/or ACT scores.

In my humble opinion we spend way to much time and money on tests. I also believe that our district makes staffing decisions based on coaching ability and community affiliation.


Gunner and the Board's plan has been playing out just as they want. Gunner and Board have somehow successfully managed (on this Board anyway) to turn the conversation of a building levy into one talking about teachers jobs, sports fees, programs, and the impending financial doom of Perkins Schools.

Sad, really, that some people fall for this.

Look at the facts. Look at history. This is a building levy. As soon as this levy passes, construction will being on the new high school and junior high school buildings. Jim Gunner has already taken out a $3,000,000 to design and plan these buildings. Obviously, this is a building levy with threats of cutting sports, teachers, band, programs, mesothelioma thrown in to make sure the tax increase is passed so Gunner can build his new school.

Vote Informed

Citizen, this is not a new building levy. Gunner has stated to the public that no advancements will be made on facilities until the district is financially stable. Please don't release false information to the public. The of money shortage came from lack of state funding. Did you know Perkins Schools is the lowest tax paying district in Erie County? Also, with 500+ more students than 5 years ago, the district operates with less staff. If this levy fails, your property value will decrease, 14 amazing teachers will loose their jobs, and families will not be able to afford to play sports or be in any extra curricular activities. Those activities include NHS, Aim For Excellence, and Student Council, programs colleges look for the most. By voting no because of the rumors and lies that are being created only punishes the students and teachers. Voting no doesn't affect Dr. Gunner at all, except for the fact that he will have to continue making cuts. His job won't be lost. The "no votes" aren't proving a point, they're just hurting the students.

Finn Finn

Sweetheart, get a job. You're boring everyone.

Vote Informed

I am voting YES for the students and the teachers! I cannot afford to pay thousands of dollars in Pay to Play fees, but I know my family can cut back on something to pay $25/month. Think of the students.

Finn Finn

ZZZzzzzzz . . .

Save R Students

Finn Finn-Vote Informed is telling the truth. My household cannot afford these fees. I want my kids to have the best education possible. I don't want 14 of the most talented teachers at Perkins to loose their jobs because of how this community hates the school board. The clear decision is to vote yes!

Finn Finn

Do you think I care if Vote Informed's kids play sports or not? Do you think Vote Informed cares how another $30/mo. in new taxes is going to effect my family? Do you think the teachers stay up at night worrying if I will lose MY job due to cut backs? I assure you, they don't.

Vote Informed

Finn Finn- We're also on a tight budget in my household. This will affect us as well, but I would much rather pay $25 a month rather than thousands in fees just for my kids to participate in regular activities. The tax increase is $25/mo for a house valued at $150,000. I have my decision made and I will be voting YES for the students and teachers! You can make fun of my decision as much as you want.

Finn Finn

ZZZZZzzzzz. . .


Loose? Did you learn that from Perkins?


If anyone has even cared to notice. Not one of the Support bloggers has been rude to the no voters. But in my view, it seems that most of the "No" voters are rude to everyone else. I'm just point this out.


"Citizen, this is not a new building levy. Gunner has stated to the public that no advancements will be made on facilities until the district is financially stable. Please don't release false information to the public. The of money shortage came from lack of state funding"

Again, just totally false or misleading comments from you, VoteInformed.

I will ask, yet again, what SPECIFICALLY does "financially stable" mean? I will tell you what it means to Gunner and the Board- as soon as this "operations" levy is passed.

Reduced state funding had been projected or known for several years. That is not the reason Perkins Schools are allegedly on the brink of financial disaster. It is because Gunner and the Board decided to move millions of dollars from operations funds into building/permanent improvement funds against multiple, overwhelming taxpayer voters.

Your quote above is misleading and informed at best, and flat-out lies at worst.

Finn Finn

Let's see how long it takes Vote Informed to give us another cheer. Rah-Rah


Compare for yourself: Grade: B Value: BELOW State Rank: 391

District OH Rank 11-12 10-11 Per.Ind Value Low Inc.
Edison Local Erie 247 A A 100.8 Met 33%
Huron City Erie 124 A A 103.7 Met 30%
Margaretta Erie 412 B A 97.6 Met 37%
Perkins Local Erie 391 B B 98 Below 33%
Vermilion Local Erie 371 A B 98.4 Met 41%
Port Clinton Ottawa 430 B B 97.2 Met 47%
Put-In-Bay Ottawa 21 A A 108.7 Met n/a
Danbury Local Ottawa 241 A A 101 Met 45%
Oak Harbor Ottawa 240 A+ A 101 Above 34%
Norwalk City Huron 332 B A 99.3 Met 49%
Sandusky City Erie 585 C C 86.5 Met 78%

Save R Students

Voting yes for this levy will save 14 beloved teachers jobs, I won't have to pay thousands of dollars in fees for my kids to play sports, and my house value won't decrease.


Vote no to the Perkins building levy this August. The levy might say its for operational funds, but Gunner moved operational funds before and spent $1.7 million on a new stadium. Think of the programs and teachers that money could now save! Gunner took taxpayer money before! He'll do it again! Spread the word to vote no! I am!


We now have the same Gunner supporters under multiple user names, I assume, in an effort to boost perception that there is support for this levy.

VoteInformed and Save R Students is the same person! Both spelled "lose" "loose" and both are concerned Perkins will "loose" "14 of the most talented teachers"


......or they both went through the English program there. Grade B is acceptable!!!

Save R Students

Just because we want teachers to keep their jobs, doesn't mean we are the same person! With 500+ more students than 5 years ago, the district is operating with less staff. If you take more teachers away, the education at Perkins will go down and they will have more students that fail rather than pass.


The B grade could be acceptable for a district/building with a very diverse population. Just like a B grade could be acceptable for a class with high expectations. Think about the difference between maybe a general math class and a calculus course. As a parent I would weigh the two differently.

Finn Finn

I see what you're saying. Keen observation!

Save R Students

VOTE YES! The cost per month for the average homeowner will only increase by $25.76 for a $150,000 home value. I would rather pay $25.76 a month more than $730 a sport.

Finn Finn

ZZZZzzzz . . .


I observed the same thing early last spring. Two no voters consistently misspelled no one to noone.

Save R Students

The last levy that was passed was 13 years ago in May, 2000. Vote Yes! We are in need of a levy to pass.