District seeking 10-year, 3.95-mill levy

“It’s the job of the board to reach out to the community and garner their support, not just sit here and expect it from them”
Alissa Widman Neese
Jan 30, 2014
Perkins Schools is back on the ballot once again.

After about two hours of discussion at their third meeting this month, all five board members agreed Wednesday to place a 10-year, 3.95-mill levy on the May ballot.

The measure is the district’s fourth straight attempt to secure new funding from taxpayers.

If approved, the levy would generate $1.68 million annually for Perkins Schools day-to-day operations, enough to stabilize its budget for the next five years.

It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $138 in taxes each year.    

It would also allow board members to restore a moderate amount of programming they cut this past year to balance the district’s dwindling budget. The reductions totaled about $4 million, but restorations could total about $1 million, given the potential levy’s size.

“As much as I’d like to see something higher passed, I think 3.95 might be our magic number,” district parent Richard Uher said.

Perkins Schools levy
• MILLAGE:
3.95 mills
• LENGTH: 10 years
• ANNUAL COST: $138 for owner of $100,000 home
• GENERATES: $1.68 million a year to fund day-to-day district operations, including employee salaries and benefits

About 50 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, which was entirely devoted to levy discussion.

The group helped board members determine what size levy to pursue, as well as what programs should be restored if the district secures new funding.

At a meeting this past week, superintendent Jim Gunner and board members reviewed a spreadsheet listing three categories of programs they could restore with a successful levy, ranked in order of priority.

Recent discussions revealed, however, that two of the community’s top priorities — reducing inflated pay-to-participate fees and completely restoring elementary art and music programming — are in the list’slowest category. A 3.95-mill levy isn’t large enough to restore the entire list.

Still, board members ultimately agreed they had a slim chance of gaining voter approval of any levy larger than 4 mills.

“It’s the job of the board to reach out to the community and garner their support, not just sit here and expect it from them” board member Andy Carroll said. “We need to stay under 4 mills”

Given the community feedback, board members may re-evaluate the restoration list and propose an adjusted list in the next few weeks, board president Matt Kosior said Wednesday.

Perkins Schools is projecting a surplus of almost $140,000 in the current school year, with about $650,000 total in its cash reserve. The reserve and annual funding will carry the district through until the 2017-18 school year, when all its funds will be depleted. The district’s annual budget is about $21 million.

These figures reflect Perkins Schools operating “as is,” however, with all its costly staff and programming reductions still in place.

Board members considered levy amounts Wednesday ranging from 3.5 mills to 7.4 mills, with most community members speaking in favor of the modest levy choice.

“It’s reasonable, it’s responsible, it could allow many things to be restored, and it would still maintain financial viability for our district,” community member Bob Weichel said.

Community members and board members indicated they would like to organize an active levy campaign committee soon to garner support for the upcoming vote on May 6.

Voters haven’t approved a new operating levy for Perkins Schools since 2000.

 

Comments

Good 2 B Me

VOTE NO!!

goodtime1212

We will be NO. How much is the loan to Citizen back? They took that loan out after the voters told them NO to a school to build a new stadium. No more money until they do something to gain the trust back. Don't ask how I think they should go about it, is up to them to figure that out, but asking for money to dig themselves out of hole they created is not a good start.

Perkins Resident

I will vote no as long as Jim Gunner is Superintendent.

Justwow

Vote NO everyone

DickTracey

REGISTER Jan 9, 2014

Board members also agreed Wednesday to hire former full-time bus driver David Mulvin as a substitute bus driver for Perkins Schools. The item was added as an amendment to Wednesday’s meeting agenda.

Mulvin retired from the district in May, shortly after police arrested him for an alleged assault, which he said was unrelated to the timing of his retirement. He worked 11 years for Perkins Schools.

This past week, Mulvin’s case was dismissed in Sandusky Municipal Court without prejudice, which means the individual pressing charges can bring it back to court in the future.

I would question a board who hires a man who was charged with assault, obstruction of justice and had a Civil Protection Order against him, that included a finding of domestic violence, to drive a bus load of children. Seems like you had a good chance to get rid of him and now your open to a lawsuit if and when he snaps agin.

He obviously sounds like a ticking time bomb. Just because the charges were dropped, doesn't make Mulvin innocent.

Why don't you just go and hire Ricky Vitte Jr. when he gets fired for teaching a 12 year old how to masturbate while watching porn? Just because the prosecutor won't do his job, doesn't make Ricky innocent.

SamAdams

Never mind the lawsuit (though I agree it's a real possibility). Instead, consider this:

The Perkins School District has been accused REPEATEDLY of not spending money wisely (including apparently without approval or in contradiction to voters' denials). Although I doubt the salary of one bus driver makes or breaks ANY kind of budget, it's a pretty good indicator the District is once again failing to spend money wisely! Any thoughts on THAT, Perkins residents?

rjr58

So at 3.95 levy will generate $1.68 Million to shore the budget but if the levy passes they are going to restore $1 million in cut programs?? It would seem to me that they need a 1,6 levy instead which would cost the homeowner of a $100,000 home an additiojal $46 a year in taxes. Asking for levy to spend more money is not a good thing

Tribester

These comments are so predictable. You wanted millage moved back, they moved what they could back without defaulting on a loan, and said the remainder will be moved back upon completion of the loan payments. You said no new buildings, no one is talking about new buildings anymore because there is no money for buildings. You wanted a fresh face on the board, you got Michael Ahner, who by the way voted in favor of this levy attempt last night. Even he realizes that new money is needed to run Perkins Schools, but you all will keep finding new excuses to justify your continued lack of support for Perkins Schools! They could ask for a 1 mill levy, and you all would still vote no until Gunner is gone, or Chapman is gone, or until they get the trust back whatever that means, or until they stop wasting money on teachers, or some other BS excuse. I tell people this community is too selfish to pass any school levy no matter what. Prove me wrong Perkins, prove me wrong!

Hawkeye

When it comes to levies I don't have anymore to give. I don't drink, smoke, nor take vacations, I guess in your opinion I don't deserve to live in Perkins. Fixed incomes don't get raises.

sandtownbucks

First I totally agree with the smaller levy amount because this is what the majority of the community that spoke up wanted at this time. Board members...it is going to take time to gain back the trust of some of the Perkins community and this is a step in the right direction. Educating our students is the top priority but arts, sports and extracurricular activities are a close second to our children! Hopefully a revised list of priorities for these activities once the levy passes will be equal compromise of all the cuts.

queenjhb

tribester, feel free to donate to the schools, but stay out of my pocket, thank you.

Hawkeye

The levy is set for May and it will take a year to go into effect. One of the board members mentioned that negotiations for the new contracts for the teachers start in June. Is this in preparation for raises for them?

Rosa

NO, NIX, NAY, NEGATIVE, ETCETERA....

Smoke

No from me.Try again in 2017 when your almost out of money.

Nemesis

Public relations is part of the superintendent's job. Given that his response to the expressed will of the electorate was to take to the pages of this newspaper and call the voters of the township stupid, he's worse than Ms. Ard, who at least could keep her mouth shut. They know what they must do to pass a levy.