Open letter to the Perkins Community

Letter from Perkins schools superintendent Jim Gunner.
Oct 25, 2013

Perkins Community:

The Perkins School District levy is critical to providing ongoing quality education to the students of Perkins now and in the future.  This levy addresses both the day-to-day operational costs necessary to run the district as well as a solid plan to renovate and or build new facilities all at a modest cost.  Without the passage of this levy, additional reductions will make it more difficult for our students to have the education they need to be prepared for life in the 21st Century.

The Board and I recognize there is an active "No" voter campaign in the community.  But, what do they offer?  As I have listened to those who oppose the levy, they indicate three actions they would take:

1. Fire me as superintendent

2. Elect two new Board members to promote a change of direction

3. Move the "Inside Millage" back to general operations.

These actions fail to provide a long-term solution to the financial and facility problems the school district faces.  If the "No" voter campaign did their homework, they would discover their plan costs taxpayers significantly more, approximately 11.85 mils compared to the Board’s proposed 6.73 mils. Ask yourself as a taxpayer, do you want to pay almost twice as much to have a direct vote on the building of a new facility? Or do you want to trust Board members you elected who researched all available options over three years, involved four different community committees in the process and have proposed a long-term plan to solve both operations and facilities and keeps your school tax rate the lowest in Erie County?

This is what the “No” voters campaign will really cost you as Perkins taxpayers:

1.53 mils -   (6.73 – 5.2 = 1.53; Difference in Board's request from Inside Millage

1.78 mils  - (1.78 mils required to pay off the loan if “Inside Millage” is moved)

1.34 mils  - (1.34 mils to make up for tax collection starting in 2015 instead of 2014)

7.20 mils - (Bond Levy required to build the same cost building proposed by Board)

11.85 mils - needed to solve fiscal and facility problems as proposed by “No” voters

The "No" voter campaign indicates that we should just move the "Inside millage" back to general operations and then we could maybe pass a small 2 mil levy and everything would be all right.  This simply is untrue.  First, we cannot move the entire 5.2 mils of "Inside Millage" back to operations at the current time, unless we generate additional money to pay off the $3.5 million loan taken out by the Board.  Whether the "No" group agrees or not, the district has a $3.5 million loan that needs to be paid off over the next 4.5 years.  The annual payments of $770,000 are being paid from the "Inside Millage".  At least 1.78 mils of the "inside Millage" must be left in the Permanent Improvement fund for the next 4.5 years to pay off this debt. 

If a new Board of Education decides to move the “Inside Millage” back to the operations budget, this vote would take place no sooner than January 2014. Any “Inside Millage” moved back by this action would take effect with taxes collected in 2015, not 2014. In addition, if the November levy fails, the district would fail to receive an entire year's collection (Taxes collected during 2014) on the 6.73 mil levy, or another $2.9 million.  This $2.9 million dollar loss, by not passing a levy in November needs to be made up with either further reductions, or a larger future levy.  To raise an additional $2.9 million over five years would require an increase of 1.34 mils in any future levy.

But, let's not forget in this scenario, the "No" voters leave absolutely zero money for fixing our facilities. A traditional bond issue would require another vote of the community for at least a 7.2 mil initial bond rate to generate the same revenue the Board is suggesting by using the "inside millage".

So, really the "No" voters are asking the public to pass the equivalent of 11.85 mils to solve the operational and facility problems of the district. Is this the “Change” you want as a community? Is this the long-term planning you want for the district?

Secondly, the “No” voters would like to remove me as superintendent. And why do the “No” voters want to remove me?  Because I don' t live in the district, and a decision that required a vote, a 5-0 vote, by the members of the Board of Education who were elected to represent the voters, to move “Inside Millage” to fix facilities. These five elected members, after over three years of reviewing all fiscal options voted as your representatives to approve the proposed funding alternative of moving "Inside Millage" as a strategic move to fix facilities now and in the future. 

In the past five years, the district has had nine different Board of Education members.  All nine members, elected by the community, well respected diverse business and professional members of the community, have agreed that the current plan before the voters is the best plan to solve both operational and facility needs.  ALL of these Board members agree it is the least costly method for the taxpayers of Perkins.  Four different community committees as far back as Superintendents Buccierri and Rectenwald concluded the district facilities needed to be seriously addressed.  Three different independent construction firms have determined to repair our facilities is more costly than new buildings.  One of these firms ranked our high school as the school in the worst condition and in need of immediate replacement in the State of Ohio at the time.  The "No" voter campaign indicates we should form another community committee to examine the situation again.  After nine board members, eight years, four community committees, and three independent school construction firms have all concluded the same thing, what does another committee give us that we don't already know?

Don't be fooled by the "No" voters.  Consider some of the tactics used by the "No" voters during this campaign.

1. Smear the existing leadership of the district with half-truths, rumors, and innuendoes.

2. Spread half-truths through the "Blogs" where they refuse to identify who they are.

3. Threaten local business owners that display signs supporting the schools levy efforts.

4. Destroying and stealing pro-levy yard signs.

5. No real plan to solve the financial and facility issues facing the school and community.

Ultimately, it is up to the voters of Perkins to decide whom they will believe in this "War of Words".  The superintendent and Board have willing met with any individual or group to explain their position and have not changed their opinion in over three years on what is best for the school district and community.  Can the "No" voters explain how they are going to solve the complex financial problems of the school district?  I hope, as a voter in the Perkins community, you place the value of your children first and recognize that the duly elected Board of Education has done its best to solve very complex financial and facility problems at the best possible cost to you as taxpayers.

I hope you vote to support the Perkins Schools.

Jim Gunner, Superintendent




Funny, this whole blog was for Gunners letter and not one of you yes voters had mentioned how Gunner has helped the school or what a great person he was, you were so consumed with this levy and that website.


@ Erie Countain "And why was a $3 million dollar loan taken out (after voters had already turned down new building plans) "

The 3 million was to look at building new buildings compared to repairing the old ones. It is still cheaper over a 20 year period to build new than it would be to patch up the old.

And the voters turned down a 105 million dollar (of which 50 million was going to be given to us free) campus that would have had all the schools in one location, that would have saved on busing, greatly improved security, created a flexible learning environment, and that could provide a level of community and unity that can't be achieved when schools are split into multiple locations.

That is what voters voted no on. I expect my representatives on the school board to find the best financial option for any given situation, and it would have been irresponsible if they had blindly patched without investigating if it would be cheaper to build new.

Voters weren't asked, and shouldn't have a vote on whether a new building is constructed rather than an old one repaired. It's the expectation of the community that the BOE provide the best course of action. If PHS is going to require 30 million in repairs and upkeep over the next 10 years and it's only going to cost 26 million to erect a brand new building, they damn well better build the new building and save me 4 million in the long run.


But you haven't addressed whether it was a good decision to match-fund a stadium with $1.7 million in taxpayer funds while the learning environment is in such bad shape. These are the kinds of decisions that I have a hard time with. Even though I disagree with the matching proposal to begin with, the original limit that they were going to match was $1 million. The BOE exceeded that amount by $700,000. To me, that was a luxury expense that represents misplaced priorities to athletics at the expense of education.


Now you're interested in saving money? It would have cost $1.2 million to repair the old stadium and replace the track. The Boosters raised $1.7 million in donations, which was more than enough. Then Gunner and the BOE match that with another $1.7 million. They spent nearly $2 million of taxpayer money on something that was not needed. And yet you're getting all tough about saving money. You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. Let's all pray that FIndlay hires Gunner and gives an early Christmas gift to the residents of Perkins!


How did you plan to OPERATE that 105 million dollar campus, Subtle? From the "economically disadvantaged" citizens that live in the neighborhoods you previously spoke of.

105 million dollar school in California can't afford to open!

From Subtle: "Some communities are for working and for people who can't afford to choose where they live. Others, like Perkins are for people who worked hard so their families didn't have to live next to the factories and the economically disadvantaged."

Your a** needs to be run out of town with Gunners. Bherrle, if you know who this fool is, I strongly urge your campaign people to get them to zip it if you want to see any kind of passage in the near future.

Subtle - "I expect my representatives on the school board to find the best financial option?" Last I checked, one of them just jumped ship, as well!


First, you are comparing apples to oranges as you no voters like to do. The school in the article was brand new, as in had NO teachers, NO administrators, NO staff. They don't have the budget to hire people to fill those positions. Perkins already has all those positions filled. Perkins would have SAVED considerable money in operating costs over what we spend today.

None of the neighborhoods in Perkins are economically disadvantaged to my knowledge, and it would have cost less to operate the campus than it does to operate the 4 existing buildings. It would have cost less in transportation, less in utilities, and staff could have even been reduced. You don't need 4 separate music teachers when you have a campus with one central music area.

Since you clearly don't understand finances, let me take this a touch further for you. People of wealth in surrounding areas would have moved into Perkins and that undeveloped land you see in the form of farmer's fields, would have been bought up and developed into new homes. Those new homes would have started at no less than $200k and each would be providing more tax revenue back into the district. Those people in turn would be shopping at area businesses and getting service here in Perkins which would increase the overall economy of the community.

So yeah, tell me how a new building that costs 1/3 what the existing buildings do to heat, cool, secure, etc are going to cost us more money in the long run??


Again, why would they come here if the jobs don't exist. If I work in Cleveland, I'm going to send my kids to Bay, Rocky River, Westlake, Avon or Avon Lake. These schools are graded much higher and offer plenty more than the almighty Perkins. Leave the borders of the township and you might see that another world actually exists!

Wouldn't need four music teachrs? Tells me how much you know about classroom size. A total program involving over 400 students couldn't possibly be handled by one director. I'm just talking about Kustec. Not the general music classes offered to the younger grades.

The entire district couldn't possibly be under one roof. Did you see the designs or plan?

It doesn't matter. You no longer have a superintendent and soon we'll be searching for some real leadership even if he doesn't get the job at Findley.


Are you being intentionally dense on this? Let me put it this way: Perkins is to Sandusky as Avon Lake is to Cleveland. If you work anywhere in the area, you are probably going to try and live in Perkins because that is where all the stores are, all the restaurants, all the entertainment. It's also where all the crime isn't.

And in the post you were replying to I'm telling you the wealthy families from Huron, Milan, Port Clinton and from all over northern Ohio would have brought property in Perkins to send their children to that campus. A community is only worth as much as the school district it encompasses; that's why a 3000sq foot house in Sandusky is only 40k.


Holy crap you are a peach. What makes you think Perkins is all that? I went there and my kids go there and it is NOT all that. Build a new "campus" and the DOE grades remain the same. Give it up, Subtle. You've already shown your true racial, bigot, self centered personality. The yes campaign deserves people like you.

haha. Many wonderful communities don't even have a school. Do us all a favor and get off of here. Are you the same a** clown that was policing how people talk on here in reference to the internet, social media and the urban way? You are. Go back to taking your selfies and posting them on facebook!


I corrected you on calling this comment section a blog because it isn't, other than that I haven't ever policed anything. Point in fact, I've never come down on you for your delusional and typically intentionally misleading statements; because I realize trolls will be trolls and there isn't much I can do to stop you.

If we had built the new campus, it would have been the nicest facilities in the state. When your district has the nicest facilities in the state, intelligent people want to send their children there...yes, they'd have moved into the district from all over, and revitalized this community. That is however, a moot point since the campus didn't pass.

The DOE grades are fine, if you are so simple minded that you like playing into that game. They aren't the measure of success or the aptitude of a district, they are a measure of how well you can coach a small percentage of children who will never have the aptitude for post secondary child left behind and all. The true measure of the district is the 74% of Perkins students who go on to further their education as opposed to the < 74% that actually graduate high school in other districts.

I can't say I have much of an opinion about social media or Facebook other than they can be good marketing tools for some businesses, and I have no idea what the 'urban way' is unless you are referring to the 2009 book Urban's Way by Buddy Martin about Urban Meyer, a coach for the Florida Gators.

I don't believe I have ever heard of a nice community here in Ohio that doesn't have a school, but if you'd like to point one out, I'd very much like to hear about it...sounds fantastic!

I love how you go for personal attacks when you no longer have any arguments you can back up. By the way, if you dislike Perkins so much, maybe you should move... if you can afford a house here, you can afford a very nice one in Sandusky or Norwalk... then again, if you can't afford the minuscule school tax here, you would probably crap your pants seeing what they pay.


You're right. I'll vote yes. Thanks for following me!


Since the pro-levy voters refuse to answer my question, I will be posting more information as time permits.

For the benefit of the pro-levy voters, here are some videos posted by the Perkins Local SD.
The videos themselves would prompt many more questions. I could ask many more questions about the videos but I know that my questions will be ignored.

QUESTION: Why did the school leader allow the building to go without maintenance? Preventive maintenance would have prevented a small problem from becoming larger.

QUESTIONS: Who did the plumbing work on the sewer pipe? What is so hard about replacing cast iron sewer pipe? Cast iron sewer pipes have a lifespan of roughly 50 years or more before the corrode. Why didn't the school leaders replace the rest of the cast iron sewer pipe instead of putting in that PVC sewer pipe band aid?

QUESTION: Do the Perkins School Boosters still sell citrus fruits to raise funds?


Centauri- Have you heard anything about the $350,000 that the school lent the athletic boosters to cover a portion of their share of the stadium?


No, I haven't heard anything about a $350,000 loan to the boosters. Is there a public document that shows this?

My guess is that boosters do not sell citrus fruit anymore.

I see that the Sandusky Register took down this news story and comments from the "Top Comments" section. I wonder why?


It is public record, contact the treasurers office.


@ underthebridge First, I will admit that it could be an over simplification and a generalization to say that ALL the no voters don't have kids in the district. What I should have said was that I know several people (whose children graduated years ago coincidentally) who feel that tiny amount of tax that we currently pay to have one of the very best schools in the area is already too much, even though we basically make the PPS run with NO financial support from the community.

Second, in response to "Give me an explanation of how the district faired so poorly on their Science scores given the STEM program?"

The district's overall score was brought down by a handful of students (17.8%) in some specific risk groups that are counted multiple times for each failure. Currently 5th & 8th grade science are slightly below the 74% required and the only metrics below passing. 10th graders are at 85% in science and 11th graders are at 95.1%

Perkins graduates more students with honors than most schools in the area. Almost 80% of Perkins students take the ACT and their average scores are 22, meaning the the majority of Perkins graduates are well above the national average. Nationwide, 50% of all students taking the ACT score below a 21. None of these things are indicated in those report cards.

"The dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else. (In 1899, William T. Harris, the US commissioner of education, celebrated the fact that US schools had developed the “appearance of a machine,” one that teaches the student “to behave in an orderly manner, to stay in his own place, and not get in the way of others.”) We don’t openly profess those values nowadays, but our educational system—which routinely tests kids on their ability to recall information and demonstrate mastery of a narrow set of skills"

"The results speak for themselves: Hundreds of thousands of kids drop out of public high school every year. Of those who do graduate from high school, almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,” according to a 2013 report from the testing service ACT. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out of 148 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

Perkins IS developing those skills. The multiage program, the STEM program, the Laptop program, and the Dual Enrollment with Findlay College allows Perkins to produce some of the finest graduates in the area.

Unfortunately, there is going to be no resurgence of 'comfortable living for blue collar families', the union jobs just aren't there anymore. The bottom line is, unless your child goes to college, they are going to struggle for the rest of their lives. There will be no comfortable working class for our children, and the economic landscape will be much less tolerant of those without degrees than it has been in the past. So believe me when I say, we had better invest wholeheartedly in our schools because they're our children's only chance.

Quotes in this comment excerpted from:

"How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses"
Wired Magazine Online

and Wired Print Issue 21.11 'Reform School' November 2013 Article entitled "Free Thinkers" by JOSHUA DAVIS (p.156)


How long has the 17.8% dragged down the scores of the district. I'm honestly asking: Do you think this 17.8% represents the students from other districts that are economically disadvantaged and have enrolled in this district.

I should've clarified my statement too. I think the BOE and Gunner would be surprised that there are many parents of current students who do not support the levy nor the direction of the school system.

I'm impressed with the multi-age program and I'm impressed with the University of Findly dual enrollment program. I am not that impressed with the laptop program or the STEM program. Do students need access to technology? Absolutely. But I question the expenditure of funds of caddilac equipment and the rollover of equipment at least every 3 years. STEM? Meh!

If I were a teacher and as a parent, I'm very frustrated with the misplaced priorities. Stadium first and then classrooms later. As parents and citizens we should have a voice. I was at those meetings about the stadium and the characterization of the wishes of those in attendance was completely misconstrued the very next day. Even alumni football players were telling the BOE to wait.


Are you talking unions in general including teachers unions or are you just talking about factory worker unions??


She has no idea what she's talking about, Hawkeye. Drunk on the kool-aid and riding the Guuner train....hopefully to Findlay!


I was primarily talking about blue collar unions such as manufacturing and construction, particularly where a product is produced; however, I am against any employer keeping substandard, incompetent, or dishonest workers employed, whether they are factory workers, teachers, administrators, or heavy machine operators regardless of union affiliation.

I'm not saying that I don't like unions, or that they didn't serve a purpose especially in the time in our history when they were created to combat subhuman working conditions; however, I would like to see some reform. Great workers should be rewarded and promoted and incompetent workers should be reprimanded and fired regardless of union affiliation.

The bottom line is, those union jobs that used to provide a comfortable living will simply be too scarce for our children to rely upon unless something drastically changes.

If you are betting on your child's future, you better be thinking college, not the auto plant.


So what you are telling me acquiring a trade is no longer acceptable in our society?


I didn't say it was unacceptable to acquire a skilled trade, that is a different story altogether; however, our children who choose that path will need to be the absolute best in their field, and work very hard to make ends meet. It's pretty unlikely that any graduates after 2020 are going to be able to live comfortably without being the very best at what they do whether it's college or skilled trade.


QUESTION: Have you heard anything about the $350,000 that the school lent the athletic boosters to cover a portion of their share of the stadium?

Anybody can answer. Please do not evade the question. I view evasiveness as holding back on the truth.

"The total project is $1.7 Million dollars. They plan to raise $750,000; $200,000 has already been saved by the Athletic Boosters; $250,000 of in-kind donations; and borrow $500,000. The Boosters have done this in the past and paid off the loan 2 years early"

Please note: These minutes are not from the Perkins Local SD.

You can check the Perkins Local SD minutes archives here:


Ms. Crescimano has different figures


That is even worse than I had previously thought. This is why I don't have confidence in them.


15th Green,

In response your post "If the buildings are in that bad of shape and asbestos is rampant, why are we not fixing those problems first. Afterall, it is about the safety of the children, isn't it? What is your message? Asbestos? No Asbestos? We can live with it a while longer? We can fix it now? Build a stadium? Live with Asbestos? Free laptop? Asbestos in the classroom? Not sure what you are trying to tell the voters and taxpayers? The levy site doesn't talk about teaching in asbestos laced classrooms. Why are we not fixing this problem....yesterday!" - and other posts regarding facilities, and how money was spent, in which you seem to be twisting the words of supporters, twisting the issues around each other, embellishing the facts, and even contradicting yourself (as you yourself have stated numerous times that you think our facilities are "fine").

With regards to facilities, I don't believe that I or anyone is saying, or has said, that there is an "immediate" health risk. In fact the health departments inspection, that has been referenced in several comments, indicated there was no "immediate" risk. My two daughters are in the high school, and Meadowlawn, respectively. If I felt there were was an "immediate" risk, my daughters wouldn't be entering those buildings.

With regards to facilities, this is about more than just today however - 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now and beyond. Both in terms of facility condition, the issues that need addressed, and what is best financially, long term, in dealing with these issues. Our current facilities will not be free of "immediate" risks forever.

Why did the district make an investment in the stadium first? Because the stadium became the emergency first. After being put off for many years, the track had been closed for two years, the grass field surface itself had deteriorated and needed attention, and the bleachers had become unsafe. To the point that the districts insurance company was no longer willing to provide insurance. So the choice was operate without insurance, close the stadium, or address it. The minimum repairs needed were $1.2M, which did nothing to address the field surface. The Athletic Boosters did an awesome job of securing $1.7M in private donations, which were secured because the district was matching them in a partnership with the community and local business's.

The levy website,, includes a list of the most significant overall facility issues at the High School. How much longer do we wait? Do we wait for the next "emergency"? Do we wait until something becomes an "immediate" risk? The district is doing the best it can with the funds the provided by a community with a below average tax effort of .88, and a tax effort that is way below Sandusky's 1.8.

The choice is renovate, or build new. 3 independent studies have already shown that renovation is not wise. Costs would approach or exceed 85% of building new. Not to mention, other things could fail, beyond what we already know about, adding to the repair bill. It's the old car argument. Do you continue to sink money into that old car that has numerous other parts that can fail?

Either way, very little can be done without the community stepping up and approving a levy for the first time in 13 years. How much longer we "live with it" is up to the taxpayers. A school district that spends over $700 less per student than the state average is not fiscally irresponsible.