New levy strategy set

Perkins Schools pledges to listen to community
Alissa Widman Neese
Mar 27, 2014


You asked. They listened.

Perkins Schools officials honed a new levy strategy Wednesday, and they’re confident it’s their most voter-centered approach yet.

They unveiled a retooled program restoration list and new cost-saving measures, all contingent on a successful May levy attempt.

The new restoration plans:

•Completely restore fulltime elementary art and music programming.

•Significantly reduce student pay-to-participate fees, to $150 for varsity and junior varsity athletics, $100 for freshman athletics, $100 for high school band or choir and $50 for all clubs. All students would have a fee cap of $400.

To make it happen, they’ll trim about $500,000 from their budget by:

•Likely eliminating 1 1/2 teaching positions from Perkins High School, based on preliminary student schedules, which indicate less demand for certain classes. Similar, minor reductions could take place districtwide.

•Ending the district’s special education contract with North Point Educational Service Center, which provides services to 40 total students with disabilities at Perkins Schools buildings, but only 27 district students. Perkins Schools will now operate the programs in-house. The remaining 13 students can open enroll in Perkins Schools, contract with the district for classes or attend another program.    

•Realigning the district’s athletic department. Athletic director Mike Strohl will become an assistant Perkins High School principal. Athletic secretary Linda Bixler will take over for a retiring high school secretary. Both will take on additional administrative roles and still oversee athletics at the same pay 

•Not restoring one middle school foreign language teacher and two middle school teachers. They had all been on the initial restoration list.

The decisions are based on feedback garnered at community meetings, superintendent Jim Gunner said.

“We had to come up with ways to funnel money to address the community’s two major concerns,” Gunner said. “But if the levy doesn’t pass, things will stay as they are right now. We’ll still make the cuts we can make, but nothing will come back”

The district is proposing a 10-year, 3.95-mill levy on the May 6 ballot, its fourth-straight attempt to secure new funding from taxpayers in a year’s time.

If approved, the levy would generate $1.68 million a year for day-to-day operations, enough to stabilize the district’s budget forthe next five years. It would also provide the necessary funding to restore about $1 million worth of the community’s top programming priorities.

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

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

Board members said Wednesday they couldn’t provide the Register with an official list of programs to be restored because they hadn’t yet talked with all employees who could be impacted by the list’s modifications. The document should be available by next week.

“The new cost-saving measures are significant changes, but they won’t impact the programming we provide our kids in a negative way,” Gunner said. “Everything else on the restoration list, in the first and second priority groups, we will still restore if a levy passes”

Perkins Schools is projecting a surplus of almost $140,000 in the current school year, with about $650,000 total in its cash reserve. By the 2017-18 school year, all its funds will likely be depleted, according to its five-year financial forecast. The district’s annual budget is about $21 million.

These figures reflect Perkins Schools operating “as is,” however, with $4 million in staff and programming reductions from this past year still in place.

Voters haven’t approved an emergency operating levy for Perkins Schools since 2000.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, superintendent Jim Gunner announced his intent to retire from education at the end of his contract with Perkins Schools, which ends June 30, 2015.

High school principal Mark Dahlmann also announced he will retire July 31.

All board members approved both retirement announcements.



Erie County Resident

This is funny, "Perkins Schools officials honed a new levy strategy Wednesday".

Just WHY does there need to be a new strategy?
If Gunner and the board would have listened to the voters to start with there would be no need for a "New Strategy".

I still stand by my vote, until Gunner is gone no levy voted in. He is the main and almost sole reason we are in this mess to start with.

To Gunner, you said before you were free to leave after the 1st of this year. Why are you still here then? Don't let the door.. well you know!!!


They have only looked at why the levy hasn't passed. They need to look at the reasons why the majority of the voting public do not support the direction of the school district.


Still Voting No


They did not address what the plan Is for there grand idea of a new school, ( which is what started this whole mess by moving money around ) they have not said this is a dead issue. What happen to all the lies and scare tactic about the school being unsafe? Are there plans to address these issues? Spent thousands of dollars on architects to draw up HUGE set of plans, but as far as I know have not showed them to the public. There is still no trust, as soon as the levy passes they will bring this stuff back out. WE are still NO.


The negativity of this community only guarantees that Perkins will be a part of both Sandusky Schools and the City of Sandusky.Have fun with those taxes.

Good 2 B Me

Cover up Oldpirate, your ignorance is showing.


Thanks a lot Perkins!! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you would be willing to throw the Special Needs kids under the bus to get your money! I hope everyone is aware at how extremely TERRIBLE Perkins is at educating their special needs kids on their own! They did absolutely NOTHING for my son for EIGHT years! The only reason he was saved from demise was when he finally had a teacher that cared about his well being and did something about it for him!!! When all you care about is athletics and winning awards, there's no room for kids that don't contribute to your goal!!! I know you could care less but you just got three no votes that were yes votes!


They showed how important sports were when they spent millions on the new stadium knowing the school was "unsafe".


Was a raise "awarded" to Mr. Gunner recently?
Is Mr. Gunner eligible for retirement in 2015?
Is the retiring high school secretary a union position?
If so, does it require it to be posted as a bid job?
Does Strohl meet the requirements and qualifications of assistant principal?
Has the loan been repaid to Citizen Bank for the architectural fees? If so will the remaining monies previously transferred to the PI "new school" fund be allocated back to the general operating fund?
Why a 10 year levy?

Ignorance Is Bliss

Dr. Gunner has big plans for Perkins that will never happen because people can not view from his level. It is obvious that not all are up to his level of intelligence. He is doing his best to prepare the students and staff for the future. Failing levies only hurt the school. Unfortunately, the community does not back up the school as they should. All involved in no voting should be ashamed of themselves. It takes a community to raise a child, and right now not even half of our community is supporting our school. Shame on all of Perkins no voters. I am embarrassed to call myself a member of the community.


I was all for Gunner's big plans until now - he's messing with my child's future and going to provide him with a cut rate education just to further everyone else. My child has the same right as everyone else to a quality education - Perkins doesn't provide a quality education to special needs kids!!! Sorry if that makes me a bad person but my kid has to come first. I do have a VERY athletic child as well but I can't throw my special child under the bus just for athletics! I am not ashamed of my child or myself -

Ignorance Is Bliss

I do not want to hear how Perkins does not provide a quality education for special needs students. Perkins puts a lot of their time and effort into those with special needs. It is the gifted students who are thrown under the bus. The gifted programs are being cut, not the special education. According to the website, they are hiring multiple intervention specialists. Don't believe me? Check for yourself. However, the gifted programs keep getting RIF'd. I do not want to hear your stories of not having a quality education when initiatives such as teaming have been put in place that significantly help special needs students. Please back up your argument some facts.


How about the fact that my son spent eight years in that so called high quality initiative program and in classes with the intervention specialists but never did manage to get above a third grade level and kept getting moved right along. When we brought up holding him back, they said that was the worst thing to do! North Point is NOT the same as the intervention specialists - it works more with kids who aren't thriving in the regular classroom with intervention specialists. Just because my son needs extra help more than your so called teaming doesn't mean he shouldn't be provided with it in the public school system! Try walking in my shoes or my son's shoes and see how it feels to not be as capable as most. I wouldn't trade my son for anything in the world but I also won't trade his right to an appropriate education! He has accomplished goals I never dreamed he ever would through North Point. I don't have to have cold hard facts when I have a living, breathing fact I take care of everyday! Each case is different but in my case Perkins hasn't put much effort or time into my son!

Ignorance Is Bliss

Well we can agree that Perkins has not helped either of us then. I myself am a living, breathing honors student who has been disadvantaged due to the fact that Perkins focuses on the bottom 10%. Hopefully something will be done about our problems so everyone, of all intelligence levels, can be educated to their best ability.

Stop It

That comment with that handle is a 'plant' to fire up this board with hits if ever I saw one.


I wonder why the most recent board meeting minutes will not open on the district website.

Azure Ray

So, the you no-voters are given what you've asked for (moving the millage back, the resignation of Dr. Gunner, and cutting the teachers down to a bare-bones staff) and you are STILL voting no? Clearly the problem here isn't the board or the superintendent - the problem is a large group of people who hold grudges, look out for their children and their children only, and cannot move on or see the big picture. The downfall of this school system is going to lie in the hands of the community. Don't worry - if the schools aren't supported soon, you'll have a state take-over. Out of the frying pan and into the fire with that one.


Intent to retire does not mean it will happen.


You said it JOEMAMA1, there is no trust.


Here we go again.....NO means NO!


Instead of a levy based on property taxes, the system should consider a 1% income tax on residents and workers in the district to support the schools.


vote no ,folks