Board to seek levy on May ballot

“We’re a bare bones district right now, and there are very few things we can do further locally, in terms of reductions, that won’t put us at fundamentally state minimum standards,” superintendent said.
Alissa Widman
Dec 23, 2013
Perkins Schools officials will likely pursue another tax levy on the May ballot.

Before they finalize any plans, however, they’re actively seeking community input on the matter.

The district will host a series of public meetings in January to discuss its options:

• 6 p.m. Jan. 8, for a regular board meeting.

• 6 p.m. Jan. 20, for levyrelated discussion.

• 6 p.m. Jan. 29, to approve placing a levy on the ballot.

All gatherings will be in room 805 of Perkins High School.

To place a levy on the May ballot, board members must approve two separate resolutions by Feb. 5.

If approved, the measure could restore some of the $2 million in detrimental cuts made earlier this year, superintendent Jim Gunner said at a board meeting this past week.    

“These are tough decisions on the part of the board and community moving forward,” Gunner said. “It’s not just as simple as determining what dollar amount. This is tied to our programming and services we provide for our children”

Perkins Schools is projecting a $139,600 surplus in the current school year, with about $645,900 total in its cash reserve. The district’s reserve cash is projected to carry it through until the 2017-18 school year. Its annual budget is about $21 million.

These figures indicate Perkins Schools operating “as is,” with all costly reductions still in place, treasurer Lisa Crescimano explained.

The cuts include eliminating about a dozen teachers, increasing pay-to-participate fees to $365 for each high school sport, and reducing health, art, music, computer and physical education programming. High school pay-to-participate fees were previously $35. Fees for clubs, dual enrollment courses and sports for younger students also increased.

“We’re a bare bones district right now, and there are very few things we can do further locally, in terms of reductions, that won’t put us at fundamentally state minimum standards” Gunner said.

The reductions were the result of the district’s inability to secure new funding in recent years.

Voters rejected three Perkins Schools emergency operating levies at the polls this year: a 10-year, 4.98-mill attempt in May and a 10-year, 6.73-mill attempt in August and November.

Many “no” voters cited the district’s desire to pursue a new school building as a reason for rejecting the levies.

In 2011, board members moved a portion of its operating funds, called “inside millage” into a separate account used for building projects.

The move quickly depleted the district’s operating fund, which is used for salaries and other day-to-day operations. Voters refused to approve a levy to restore the fund. Projections indicated it would be depleted it to a mere $23,500 by the end of this school year.

After the November levy failure, board members abandoned plans for a building project and returned a portion of the funds back into the operating fund. The move will return about $1.4 million to the fund each year, with the first payment collected in February.

A May levy would be the district’s first attempt since the move, and the first to strictly address district programming in recent years.

“We feel strongly that some of these cuts are significantly impacting education,” Gunner said. “As we start planning the next levy attempt, we need to discuss with the board what we should be restoring moving forward”

Perkins Township voters haven’t approved a new operating levy for the district since 2000.

Comments

Sandusksquach

Haterz goin hate

Charger85

I don't know that the voters in Perkins will approve anything until Gunner is gone. Too bad Findlay couldn't do them a favor and take Gunner off their hands. Although I will say its fun to watch the holier-than-thou Perkins crowd self destruct like this.

njs60

Still voting NO

Bherrle

Why NJS? Not being smart, would legitimately like to know.

goodtime1212

We will still be no voters. There is no trust that as soon as the levy is passed they will move towards a new school,the plans are approved and ready to go. They had to hire an outside company to give the pay to play fees back because the person they pay tens of thousands of dollar to could not figure it out, the company they hired still screwed ours up. Instead of coming to the public with meetings that never go well, try to come with a plan to get the trust back before wasting more money on failed elections. They have proven they do not care about the voters. Its not about one person with us, its about the group, there no trust.

Nemesis

For starters, because there's still a liar at the helm.

"board members abandoned plans for a building project and returned a portion of the funds back into the operating fund. The move will return about $1.4 million to the fund each year, with the first payment collected in February."

In his open letter to the community, Gunner said that, if the millage was moved back, the operating fund wouldn't see any money from that move until 2015.

Then there's the fact that they haven't put forth an actual plan that conforms with the will of the voters. How can they know how much more money they need, or even IF they need ANY, until they have such a plan? Essentially, they're saying "give us more money, and THEN we'll tell you what we're going to do with it." The answer from voters should be fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Heck, they don't even know what the millage will be.

oldpirate

Goodtime there are only three choices. Pass it or let state run it or start singing another fight song. If we are going to be a community we need to stand up and support our schools. There are those people who want to see Perkins Schools fail and think the community's failure will follow. Your way of thinking only makes me think this is possible.

goodtime1212

I do agree with part, we need to come together, but there is more to a community then a school, the man heading it all doesn't even live in the community he has torn apart. We see thing different and that is ok, that is what a lot of fine young men and woman have died for,so we can speak free and disagree respectfully.

Erie County Resident

Going back just a few short weeks ago Gunner himself publicaly announced to Findlay he was available after 1/1/2014.
Until I see him resign or just gone my vote remains a resounding NO.
Can't trust him in any way, shape, or form.

Gunner still lives in the Toledo area and has no "personal horse in this race" so to speak, but thinks he has a blank check book to play with.
He couldn't be more mistaken.

donutshopguy

Mr. Gunner has over a year remaining on his contract with Perkins Schools. How many of the "no" voters would pass a new operating levy if it contained a buyout of Mr. Gunner's contract?

What will make "no" voters "yes" voters?

Erie County Resident

To donuts, Gunner made the statement that he was free to go after January 1 2014. So just when is he leaving since he in his own words is free to go without any contract buyout?
THAT is what's keeping a NO vote here as long as he is. Gunner IS the problem.

goodtime1212

How can anyone trust Mr. Gunner, he says " for the kids " but he is looking to dump our kids for a new bunch. He and the BOE created the problem.

donutshopguy

My biggest concern over the last few levy attempts has been the move of funding by the board. This situation has been resolved but it has created another issue.

Trust with the board and superintendent.

Now, how is this issue resolved ? Can this issue be resolved? Will the district and the community move forward beyond an unwanted school and millage move?