Perkins Schools rehires eight positions

Teachers to fill eight part-time spots.
Alissa Widman Neese
Sep 12, 2013


Perkins Schools restored Wednesday about half the teaching positions eliminated from the middle and elementary schools this summer.
At a brief meeting, board members recalled eight teachers to part-time jobs, the equivalent of paying four full-time staff members. Most will teach special classes for elementary school students, such as art, physical education, computer and music.

In June, board members eliminated nine full-time teachers from the middle and elementary schools, mostly for special classes, but earlier this week superintendent Jim Gunner said a few key reasons made the rehires possible and necessary:

• Perkins Schools received $600,000 in state funding this year, up $200,000 from the $400,000 initially anticipated.

• District officials didn’t want to shorten the school day by completely eliminating some special classes.

• Teachers union contract details prohibited district officials from eliminating a teacher’s planning period to teach special classes, which was considered as part of the initial cost-saving plan.

• Increased enrollment in kindergarten and fifth grade.

“There is still a reduction in programming and this isn’t a full restoration,” Gunner said at Wednesday’s meeting.

Also at the meeting, board members accepted the resignation of technology director Patrick Kania, who left the district this past month for a job as Norwalk High School assistant principal. The district will not replace him this year.

About 50 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, including about 30 students attending for a class assignment. No one spoke during the public participation portion of the meeting.

Despite the short, quiet meeting, public scrutiny of the district abounds throughout Perkins Township. Particular concerns address the district’s upcoming November levy vote and recently inflated pay-toparticipate fees for middle and high school students, a result of the August levy’s failure.

A parent contacted the Register on Wednesday, stating several parents are concerned about pay-toparticipate fees varying for different high school sports, although all students were initially told they’d be required to pay $730 per activity.

As of Wednesday, five total anonymous donors provided Perkins Schools with funds to offset pay-to-participate fees for some sports and individual athletes, according to receipts the Register obtained from treasurer Lisa Crescimano.

Three previously reported donations total $1,685, with $220 toward band, $770 toward cross country and $695 toward girls tennis. Two new donations are $2,190 toward the football program and $2,042 toward the girls tennis program, which would lower the overall pay-to-participate cost for some athletes.

Board president Matt Koisor and board member Brian Printy did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.



Yay! No need for a levy in November!



Not sure how you figure that. It is still needed.


The financial situation at Perkins changes like the wind! What a crock of BS!! The entire school board at PHS needs to go! Gunner first! This whole thing is a "Comedy of Errors", but it's NOT funny! The Perkins voters are tired of the lies, threats, and manipulations, student pay to play (BTW, strong rumor that THOR SPORTS has already donated most of those fees, but the BOE will never let you know that) and total disregard of the voters by this administration! I will not vote for a levy again UNTIL Gunner is sent packing! You people REALLY want to pass a levy? Start a "fire Gunner NOW" campaign and you just might get the community behind you . Aren't you levy supporters getting TIRED of looking stupid? Surely you're more intelligent than this!


Dito, and Gunner can take rhe AD with him. Overpaid for what he brings to the table.



If a change in anticipated state funding vs. actual state funding is how you define "changes like the wind", then that is true for every school district, not just Perkins.

17 total positions (not just the teaching positions Alissa mentions in the article) were cut, plus an 18th (Tech Director) resigned. 8 part-time positions were brought back. The district is going to continue to do what it can to provide the best education to it's students that it can, given available funding. I hope you would agree that 8 part time positions could be paid for by the additional $200,000 in state funds.

As far as strong rumors about donations, rumors don't pay bills. You automatically accuse the BOE of not divulging information that you can't even prove actually exists? As of last week, I can tell you that the school is not aware of any actual donation from Thor.

The quid pro quo of "Fire Gunner" to pass a levy is just not credible. In your own words, "just might pass a levy." That is far from any certainty. For the August levy, we were told "define financial stability, and promise not to make any decisions on the future of facilities until after the November Board Member elections." Well, those two things were done, and then the "Vote No Movement" largely ignored it. I don't believe firing Gunner is the answer in the first place, and I don't believe it would change many votes even if he was fired.

If you choose to belittle our position by questioning our intelligence, then that is your choice.


Here we go as predicted. Big surprise!


Didn't you predict that they would all be brought back, or that none of them would be fired? 17 Positions were cut, plus the tech director resigned. 8 half time positions were brought back, for the reasons stated as things evolved. Less than half the cuts came back, and those that did were for legitimate reasons.


"recently inflated"? You mean increased? #haterzgoinhate


This comes as no surprise, we NO voters said this would happen when the scare tactics didn't work. Bullying the majority to try and get what a small few want, that's all. Will still be NO in Nov.


No, you said they would all be hired back, to be accurate. 18 total positions were lost, 8 part times were brought back. You also did not predict additional state funding.


We all said they would be hired back. Definitely no need for a November levy.

NO in NOvember!


No, you said they would all be hired back, to be accurate. 18 total positions were lost, 8 part times were brought back. You also did not predict additional state funding.


Exactly as predicted. Plus it's sad how some kids can play for free thanks to donations while others have to pay. Donations should go into a pot to benefit ALL the kids and reduce ALL the fees. Of course, Perkins is known for favoritism, and here it is again. NO in November.


No, you said they would all be hired back, to be accurate. 18 total positions were lost, 8 part times were brought back. You also did not predict additional state funding.

As far as donations, it is ironic that no one is allowed to tell a levy opposer how to spend their money, but you can tell some one how to spend donated money.


There's feces under the school and the kid's health is in danger.

If the levy doesn't pass all "special" teachers will be eliminated.

You have to ask yourself are these statements lies, scare tactics or incompetence?

Maybe someone should ask the superintendent and the school board.

With the Communication Director being moved to a principal position who is the new spin doctor? Also, with the Technology Director leaving for a position at a different school, who will oversee the one to one computer program?



Cast iron sewage pipes don't last forever, and only so much patch work or replacement can be done before the district will be forced to bring the entire system up to current code.

There was a specific list of positions that would be cut if the levy did not pass. That list included a number of specials teachers. I believe the statement you are referring to was related to a specific building, not the entire district. Again, 18 positions in total got reduced, and 8 part time positions were brought back for the legitimate reasons stated.

No, you do not "have" to ask yourself that. That's a choice you and others are making. I, and many others, chose to look at it as the district is trying to do anything it can to provide the best education it can to our students, with the funding available.

The Communication Director position was eliminated with the August cuts, that position no longer exists.

Dr. Gunner is now directly overseeing the technology program, at least for this year, with the assistance of a high school science teacher whose schedule was re-arranged to allow him the time to spend part of his day on the program. This change (because the Tech Director left) also directly resulted in one of the 8 part-time positions being recalled.

It seems that a segment of our community, and those outside our community who consistently comment negatively, want to judge everything as if it were in a vacuum, static, unchanging. That is not how things work.


"You have to ask yourself are these statements lies, scare tactics or incompetence?"

^^^^I'd choose "all the above"!

Kobayashi Maru

Was Tracy Hiss rehired? Who were the eight Widman? It's public knowledge, so pease tell us who they were!


That was in the actual newspaper. Most of them were hired back half day.

Kobayashi Maru

Thanks, but I don't get the actual paper, so that's why I asked. Could someone list it?


Tracey Hiss was not recalled. They cannot do anything with her situation until the legal matter is resolved.


See, the levy is not needed, you just have to make do, as all taxpayers have .....We can't have everything we want in our homes, so we have a budget we have to stick with, about time the schools do the same...
Also, the most successful schools in the world do not have state of the art new schools or the latest technology (no laptops)and sports mean nothing, they are for fun only. Education is the key and the focus. Teachers are there because they want to be and not just for the paycheck...We, in the U.S. could learn from these very educated nations!!


You are so wrong about the most successful schools in the world do not have the latest technology. Which nations are you speaking of?


Losing a lot of supporters because those supporters are now the ones paying for their children to participate, with everything else being reinstated. Very unhealthy environment for the students, parents and community! Need to get our roots back and our school. I am a supporter but if this continues and something drastic does not happen before November it will be difficult to support. From what I'm hearing this is the case for a lot of community members who once supported!



Your support is very much appreciated, and I would encourage you to continue be aware of all the issues/facts, and share those with others.

This is far from "everything else being reinstated." 18 total positions were lost (not just the teaching positions that Alissa mentions in the article), and 8 part-time positions were brought back. In fact, with the call backs, the district is still down 24 positions in the past two years. The article is accurate regarding the reasons.

The district spent $141 less per student in fiscal 2012 than it did fiscal 2011. It spent $700 per student less than the state average. It spent approx. $1.67M less overall than similar sized districts in Ohio. Despite the public perception, our district is being fiscally responsible.

The district will continue to do what it can, given available funding, to provide the best education it can. That is not a static situation, it is an ever changing one.

Good 2 B Me

Odd how suddenly there is "Found" money that no one knew about. Perhaps someone is not reporting their numbers correctly within the BOE? Another lie to us. Same old same old. VOTE NO!


Good 2 B Me,

There were no lies, and it is not sudden. This info was made public last month. Final state funding is not known by July 1st when the balanced has to be submitted to the state. The state finalizes its funding later sometime after July 1st, which is too late for a levy amount to be changed.

This was a $200,000 change in an overall budget of $23M, which is less than a 1% overall change. And it is money the district is trying to use to provide the best education to our students that it can. Not something I think we should be criticizing them for.



Tool Box

And again the people vote NO and call Gunner's bluff and win again! When will Gunner and the BOE quit telling us lies? Call their bluff again and VOTE NO in November!