Board shifts part of inside millage

In the end, they must submit to the masses.
Alissa Widman
Nov 14, 2013
In an unexpected move Wednesday, Perkins school board members reversed course on plans to pursue new buildings, and they instead adhered to the majority will of Perkins Township taxpayers.
 
Board members voted 4-1 to return a portion of moved millage — 3.2 mills of 5.2 total mills — back to the district’s operating fund. Newly re-elected board member Terry Chapman voted against the measure.
 
The vote backtracked on a 2011 decision to move the operating funds, called “inside millage,” into the district’s permanent improvement fund, a separate account intended for building projects. The move quickly depleted the district’s operating fund, which is used for salaries and other day-to-day operations.    Voters rejected three tax levy proposals this year to restore the operating fund, most recently on Nov. 5. Many “no” voters said the millage move prompted them to reject the tax levies.

On Wednesday, board members contended the decision to move the millage back was a “political move,” and not the most “fiscally responsible” decision. They discussed the tough choice with almost 100 community members for about two hours.

“This will cost you more money in the long run, but we’re elected by the people to represent the people, and this is what they want,” board president Matt Kosior said. “What you’re asking us to do is a very difficult decision.”

The 3.2 mills was a “comfortable amount” to move, leaving some funds available to repay a district loan to conduct a new building study, Kosior said.

Moving the millage back will return about $1.4 million to the district’s general operating fund each year, superintendent Jim Gunner said. The district will receive about half that amount in the current school year, with the first payment collected in February.

To pursue future building projects and maintain operating funds, voters will still likely need to approve several tax levies or bond issues.

“This is not a long-term solution,” Kosior said.

Board members haven’t determined what they will do with the new operating funds this spring, but it’s possible they could restore some recently cut faculty members or reduce the district’s costly pay-to-participate fees.

Prior to Wednesday’s move, Perkins Schools faced a dire financial dilemma, with only an estimated $23,500 in reserve cash left at the end of the current school year, according to a five-year financial forecast. Its budget is about $21 million a year.

Voters rejected a 10-year, 6.73-mill levy proposal last week, with 61 percent voting against it, according to unofficial election results.

The millage move and the series of failed levy attempts effectively divided the Perkins Schools community, pitting levy supporters and opposers against each other in heated debates.

During Wednesday’s meeting, however, about a dozen individuals on both sides of the issue discussed their views, with most agreeing on at least one thing: the enlightening conversation was long overdue.

“This is the best meeting and back-and-forth dialogue we’ve had in the two years I’ve been on the board,” board member Brad Mitchel said.

Board members cleared up some misunderstandings Wednesday, such as the notion taxpayers voted to create the “inside millage” funds, when the state actually established them in the 1930s for districts to use as they pleased.

Community members Bob Weichel and J Franklin, who voted against the Nov. 5 levy, said Wednesday’s move and conversation was the best way to restore taxpayer trust in the district moving forward.

“Until we stop fighting and labeling each other, nothing good is going to happen,” Weichel said. “This will restore our trust in you. It’s a step in the right direction.”

The millage move was not initially listed on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. Board members amended the agenda following a two-hour closed-door meeting to discuss personnel. A closed-door meeting also followed the regular meeting, with no action taking place afterward.

Comments

observer

Finally the board realizes the people aren't gonna just lay down and be patsies to their every whim. Threats and ridiculous pay to play fees don't go over well with the residents.I do see the Gunner bot, Terry Chapman, was the lone "no" vote to moving the funds back. He refuses to accept that maybe, just maybe, the people don't agree with his decisions. After all, he's Terry Chapman. How can we "little people" not bow to his superior knowledge? Some people will never learn.

qmodye

my roomate's ex-wife makes $66/hour on the computer. She has been fired for nine months but last month her pay check was $19799 just working on the computer for a few hours. Continue Reading http://x.co/2pwze

Good 2 B Me

RE: Observer

The worst part is that somehow Chapman got another 4 years! We still have to deal with him.

As many predicted, suddenly the BOE has a viable solution. There will more than likely be no Pay-to-play fees and they will retain the employees that they threatened to cut.

Let's see if that is what heppens!

Good 2 B Me

Time to get fiscally responsible and start running this thing like a business!

Bherrle

.

goodtime1212

This will NOT restore our trust, it is a start. Not until they scrap there idea of a new school, come to the tax payers and show other options they have looked at with real cost estimates. We will still be a NO vote. As soon as we vote yes the money will go right to the new school.

oldpirate

How many businesses make decisions that will end up costing more money? This was just a feel good choice. So hope you feel as good when you end up digging much deeper into your pocket. It's all mathematical at this point.

Good 2 B Me

It needs to be run efficiently. A well run business can be run that way. It is time to streamline the way that things are being done. Stop throwing money at nothing and start using it wisely.

Yes, it can be done.

As for digging deeper, if the project is well planned out and can be shown to be beneficial, I would vote yes and support it. The lies and deceit are why I voted NO. Prove to me that you understand what Perkins Schools needs and I am all over it!

Thomas Paine

This is not being fiscally responsible. A school cannot be run like a business. If it were being run like a business, there would be a bussing fee, pay to play would be the norm and you could expect to pay for text books and wireless internet fees as well as still pay taxes. If that is what you want, we should drop taxes and just go to the college model. Imagine paying 16+ years of college fees. Please stop comparing school funding to a business it is the equivalent of comparing spinach to pizza. In the end it will cost everyone no matter what their opinion is more money. Short term it gives the district another year to pass a levy. That's it. All the previous problems still exist. Voters forced the board to kick the can down the road. Yes, politically it is the correct move and I actually applaud the board for doing it especially considering that more than likely Gunner is on his way out as well. Maybe a levy will pass now? I doubt it. We will see. Its a bad financial move that I can see costing each and every homeowner an additional $300-500 a year in the future. In the end this will also hurt the districts ability to find a qualified applicant for a soon to be vacant superintendent job. I understand Chapman's dissent because he is a business man (which seems to be what no voters want the school to run like), a banker, and he clearly understands what this move will cost everyone in the future. At this point you can call me whatever names you want. All I ask is you take them all back when you start paying a LOT more in school taxes 3-4 years down the road and realize in 2008 we the voters made a horrible mistake. My guess is most here will blame whatever administration exists then for not managing money properly when in reality it is we the people who have royally screwed things up with how we have voted. Sorry if this upsets anyone but its the truth. Look around at the people we have voted into nearly every position in the last 2 decades on every level, local, state, federal and tell me that we have elected leaders. We have continually elected people who say what we want to hear instead of people the give us the bleak reality of where we are headed and how we can dig ourselves out.

middleclassworker

the truth!! The BOE and Gunner invested $3.5 M of taxpayer money for a project tax payer's do not want....A new campus.

Would we have this conversation if we didn't have a banker on the BOE who works for the same bank the money was borrowed from? Would we have any of these threats if the BOE and Gunner didn't attempt to lead us by deception? If you think I am wrong lets refer back to the Health Dept and Fire Dept statements after concern citizens contacted them over allegations that Gunner presented to the Sandusky Register in an attempt to bully votes!!

That is not leadership I will support.

Thomas Paine

The banker who works for the same bank as the loan is a non issue. Has been documented as a non issue. Its an absurd comment when all the data documenting it is public record and proves there is no issue. Would you rather they borrow money from a non local bank? I for one am happy (not for the loan itself) but the fact they used a local entity for it and kept local people employed.

middleclassworker

Do you think his job will be effected if he school system is unable to make the payments and claims bankruptcy?

My point is, the BOE should have never agreed to a loan the tax payer's didn't desire! Banker's need people and businesses to borrow money. I have no doubt he indirectly motivated and benefited from the transaction. It promotes continued employment the more business your employer has. Thus the more employee's they can support. The better health care they can support. The better retirement they can support. The more vacation time they can support. ect.

Nemesis

Paine, that all sounds so smart, except for one screaming fact: The country is full of private schools that do better while spending less per pupil than most public schools. So, we have examples of how K-12 being run like a business works great.

Thomas Paine

Not a valid comparison. You need to look at the makeup of the students at those schools. It would be the equivalent of comparing a public school in a very affluent neighborhood with high incomes and an educated workforce, to an inner city public school with lower incomes and a less educated workforce. There is zero accountability for a private school. At least, even though I disagree with the majority on the perkins issue, there is accountability from the state and to us the voters. Education should never be just a free market driven by profit. Ever. You say you want voter input and a free market? I do want voter input- But I want it to be a republic not a straight democratic system. A republic, like the United States, has elected representatives who (supposedly) vote like the people who voted them into office on the issues. The advantage of a republic is that people don't have to spend all their time voting on issues, and their representatives can spend the time becoming familiar with the issues that must be voted upon. The key to this is representatives that spend time becoming familiar with the issues...which very few have done on here. Completely and 100% disagree with any statement that says charter schools are better than public schools. It would take a lot of data and arguments to change my mind on that one.

themomx6

oldpirate, no one is going to " end up digging much deeper into their pocket" unless they vote for a new levy. And that will depend on the trust we have in the BOE and whether or not we agree with what the new $$$$ will be used for. If, and when, a new levy is passed, it will be because the RESIDENTS OF PERKINS TOWNSHIP agree with the BOE, not because we were threatened, lied to, manipulated, and forced to pay exorbitant fees for students to play a sport that the school makes money from.

goodtime1212

THEMOMX6 You said everything was thinking.

oldpirate

Mom you will end up paying more. Whether it is the BOE or the state. or in another district. These are the only possibilities. I guess you can hunker in your doomsday bunker. You can't escape it's all a mathematical certainty at this point.

Thomas Paine

Agree 100% If the state takes over we can expect this: When a district enters the category of fiscal emergency, a five-member board called the financial planning and supervision commission will be appointed. The district board of education will continue to make decisions, but they won't mean anything because the commission has the final say over everything that happens. This effectively means the voters have ZERO say in what happens.

fifteenthgreen

Which leads us to our previous lengthy, constructive discussion, Thomas. The merger talk!!!

Dude i Roc

Go Polar Pirates! Ed Kurt can run the school system after the merger. He listens to his constituents. When the idea of new school buildings was met with lack of support, Mr Kurt and school board did not continue to force the agenda a few years back.

Nemesis

The voters still control the purse strings. The state constitution doesn't allow the imposition of additional taxes without a vote.

Bherrle

Only until such time that after the State has taken over , and if the community continues to not pass levies, the state decides to dissolve the district into one or more surrounding districts. Then your taxes will go up , to match that of the district your property was dissolved into, with no vote.

All hypothetical still at this point, but that is the end game of continuing to not pass levies.

VOTENO

Vote yes.

Thomas Paine

themomx6 who is forcing you to pay those fees? Just as you have a choice to vote how you want, you also have a choice for your kids not to play a sport and the option to open enroll elsewhere. If what is being done is being labeled as "fiscally responsible" lets be consistent and not pick and choose what fits that category based on what is convenient to our own lifestyle.

themomx6

I don't pay any fees. My children graduated long ago. However, forcing young people to pay money to play a sport that the school receives financial benefits from is ridiculous. I think the parents of Perkins students should have stood together and protested that by simply refusing to pay. Force the overpaid AD to have to cancel all the sporting events for the year, and let the multimillion dollar stadium sit empty, and I'd bet those pay to play fees would be gone quickly. Why is it always the students who get punished by the BOE? Why don't the teachers take a $750 per year pay cut to make up the shortfall? I doubt that they would even miss it, yet teacher concessions are never mentioned, and please don't bring up that "pay freeze" because we all know they got raises anyway. Why doesn't Gunner and the AD take a pay cut if they care so much? Gunner made about $117,000 per year to divide a community and run our school system into the ground. IMHO, he should give most of that salary back. One problem in the Perkins schools is that you have way too many overpaid positions. Perkins schools are run like the U. S. government. They waste so much money (like a $3.5 million loan) then they want to just raise taxes to make up for their inept handling of the funds they had. Let them try cutting some of those other wasteful things BEFORE laying a higher tax burden on the citizenship of the community.

Azure Ray

Asking teachers to split $750 per sport, per kid would be absurd. The student-teacher ratio is near 30-1, and many students play 2 or 3 sports per year. To call teachers/educators a "wasteful thing" is just plain stupid. The schools are not put in place for kids to play sports, they are put here to to educate students in subjects that will prepare them for college. There are plenty of schools in the area that are open enrollment AND don't have pay to play fees. Any student is able to attend those schools if they want to. It sucks to have to pay for sports, but they have been a privilege for a long time and many people seem to believe that students are entitled to play free sports. Any community in the state of Ohio who struggles financially will soon come to realize that it is no longer a privilege. Ohio schools are unfairly funded, and we will soon see those wealthy communities keep on the way they have in the past and the poorer communities lose all of the extras. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes.

Darkhorse

Who is the Board fooling anyways? The Board new they had to move the reserved money over to meet the demands of the budget since the taxpayer declined to vote yes on the levy. They need to draw funds from somewhere to make up for the lack of support by the voters.

kURTje

The paying people must be attended to.

goodtime1212

Didn't Gunner say on one of his rants that the money couldn't be moved back???

oldpirate

15th your real agenda is starting to show. Merging will drastically increase the burden on the taxpayer. 42 mills compared to what we pay now. Sandusky is much more admin. top heavy and better paid and they aren't about to take pay cuts. You would be advised to take a closer look at how they spend the money. I have said that their are those that see the failure of the schools to be a direct avenue to the end of Perkins twp. Is that what you want to accomplish?

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