Aug 15, 2013

What's next for Perkins Schools?

After a majority of voters rejected the Perkins Schools levy last week, what will the district do now? Jenna in Perkins Township

For the third time this year, Perkins Schools will try to secure new funding from township taxpayers in November. 

A fall ballot issue directly results from district residents rejecting an issue asking for a larger chunk of property taxes earlier this month. Soon after this, school board members agreed to place a 10-year, 6.73-mill emergency operating levy on the November ballot.

If approved in November, the levy will generate about $2.8 million a year, stabilizing the district's deficit budget and possibly restoring some of $2 million in cuts implemented this summer. 

The owner of a $100,000 home would end up paying an additional $236 a year, or a total annual payment of $1,234, up from the $998 this person currently pays.

The district is poised to spend all of its reserve cash at the end of the upcoming school year, with a deficit of about $2.2 million and a budget of about $23 million going into the following school year.

Among the fallout from the levy's failure: Students must now pay $730 to play one sport.

Read Friday's Mailbag to find out how much Perkins Schools spent on putting an issue on the August ballot.

The Mailbag is a daily feature on SanduskyRegister.com. Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or e-mail mailbag@sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."

Comments

fifteenthgreen

"1. The district received about $200,000 more from the State of Ohio than expected in 2013-14 and a little over $400,000 more than expected in 2014-15."

Ah, the mystery funds are starting to bleed through the walls. It happens every damn time....after the fact!

"adjust to changing circumstances" meaning bring back teachers and programs as loose change is found under the cushions?

Where is the much needed definitive direction in order to restore the trust of the voting public?

citizen

Bherrle-

1. When did Gunner and the Board realize the District would be receiving over $600,000 in state funding? If it was before the election, why they keep this a secret, particularly if they knew it would allow them to bring back some of the teachers on a limited basis?

2. How did Gunner misinterpret the contracts of his own employees? In the planning of the threats/cuts, how did he not realize the teachers contracts would not allow for what he is proposing? An example of either announcing these cuts blindly as scare tactics without a plan on how to implement them, or total incompetence.

3. Can you obtain a listing of the final teachers and positions that were eliminated due to the tax increase failure. Additionally, can you obtain a listing of the positions and teachers that Gunner said would be cut if the tax increase failed. Clearly there is a significant difference.

4. Can you explain why Gunner threatened everyone with the $730 pay to play fee per student, but as soon as the tax increase failed, deferred the payment for fall sports until AFTER the fall season (and the day after the November election). The payment for these so-called fees keeps getting deferred. I think everyone can be confident that if the November levy for new buildings fails yet again, Gunner will defer or push back the fees yet again.

5. Gunner had repeatedly stated he would have to "dismantle the district" if the tax increase failed. And that the Perkins community would "no longer have their school district." Can you explain how Gunner has dismantled the district so far, and how Perkins township no longer has their school district?

Thanks.

Bherrle

Citizen,

These are questions that I would suggest you ask at the next board meeting, or request a special meeting with Dr. Gunner. I am on very limited extra time these next few days. Keep in mind that these are not full time positions being brought back. Briefly on your questions:

1. I don't know the timing of when they found out, however I don't think anyone was trying to keep anything a secret. The number for this year is around $200,000, which doesn't put much of a dent in the $2.8M levy that was asked for. I understand where you are going with your question, but the dollar amount of the levy would not have changed, it couldn't have been changed, no time for certification.

2. He understood that language would need to be changed in the teachers contract to accomplish this, and he felt at that time that it could be accomplished. It turned out he was wrong. It was not a blind scare tactic, nor incompetence. Have you ever made a mistake or misjudged something? I'm sure you have. I know I have in my life. Does that mean that you and I are incompetent? Keep in mind, we aren't talking about full time positions coming back, only several part-times.

3. You'll get this faster if you request it directly from the district, which is where I would be getting it from. I'm sure it will be discussed or published by the next board meeting.

4. I do not agree that PTP fees were/are a threat, and I am a parent paying them. I understand, however, that it is very easy for one to characterize them that way. It was stated all along that payment plans would be worked out if the August levy failed. A partial payment of approx $180 is due by early September. The balance was deferred until after the November election, because if the levy passes in November, that is still in time to balance the 2013-2014 budget, and allow the board to revert the PTP fees to what they have been. If November fails, then I believe the next election is May, which would not be in time to balance 2013-2014's budget, so no, I would not expect deferral beyond this initial one.

Buildings - it has been repeatedly stated that any decision on buildings won't happen until after the November BOE election. It's been put in writing, it's been spoken out loud. Financial stability also has to be achieved before any action starts. Our buildings have to be dealt with in some way, either with serious renovation, or building new. I understand that a lot of people are still equating any levy as a building levy. They want the inside millage moved back. If that is done, then how does the district address the facility issues that exist? One way or the other, money is needed!! And guess what - do you know what the inside millage money was largely used for when it was first given to school districts long ago? Building facilities, because many communities had no school buildings. Doing nothing is not an acceptable answer, although I understand that it is the least expensive one.

15th said the high school looks good "all shined up." There's a saying "You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd." Now that is minimizing the issue before us, but my point is that I'd rather have a building that looks terrible, but is much safer than what we have today. 15th says, just remove the asbestos. Do you know how much that costs? And if the inside millage gets moved back to help balance the operating budget, then there is no money available to do it anyway. And that is just one serious issue that exists.

Now someone is going to say "I thought this wasn't about buildings?" Well, the vocal no voters on this blog have made it about buildings by tying your vote to that issue. That is your right.

5. Dismantle it in terms of the quality system it has been, yes that has begun. The need for PTP fees are a part of that. The quality teachers and staff who have lost their jobs. The programs that have been cut altogether or reduced significantly. The year after year impact of these and other things on the district, keeping in mind this is just the beginning. With declining programs, and facilities that are deteriorating, how many families will continue to open enroll to Perkins? How many Perkins families will choose to open enroll elsewhere? Not to mention in a community that cannot bring itself together, that is sharply divided. That's not the school districts fault, Dr. Gunner's fault, or the BOE's fault. That's our fault, all of us. Less than half of the voters in this district cared enough to even go vote on a school issues, both in May and in August. We can keep blaming someone else all we want, but it won't solve anything. Those people that we blame will leave, and then we'll just start blaming the next group that comes in.

gramafun

with all due respect to what you have posted above, Bherrie, we were looking at a piece of property in Perkins. Having been watching this go on in your community it caused us pause because we were concerned already about the tax problems. At our age, we need to be. But moreso, had your BOE just been honest in their approach about what they wanted and what they were doing, it wouldn't have been so bad. Your superintendant hasn't been that honest in his approach at all. In fact, he has been very dishonest in his approach. Why didn't he just be direct with everyone,tell the truth and be done with it instead of the way he handled things? People would have been far more receptive to him and less distrustful. Things would have been a lot more helpful had he not "robbed peter to pay paul" of the general fund as well as is stated in the auditors report.

Bherrle

15th,

You had previously asked why Dr. Printy chose not to run for re-election. I do not speak for Dr. Printy, the following is only my opinion based on what I have heard, and from very brief conversation with him. I will also state up front that I believe that it is a very personal decision for any person when choosing to run or re-run for any elected position, and that it is no one's place to criticize that decision.

I believe that Dr. Printy feels that with the August levy being defeated, the communities long-term vision of what the school district should be, and his vision, do not align. Therefore, he decided it was best that he no longer represent the community in that capacity.

fifteenthgreen

Thank you for the update on Brian, but I wish he would express his opinion publicly to the voters as to what his vision is/was. Communicate to the very people that voted for him in confidence. If he chooses to remain silent, that is his business and I respect that. I do know his children have taken undeserved heat/criticism over this mess and that may have been a contributing factor, as well. I wish him and his family the best.

Bherrle

15th,

I agree with you, except on the public statement. I believe that him not running again is public statement enough, even for his supporters. I was hopeful he would run again, but I also understand and respect his decision not too. Especially considering when it is in an environment where everything and anything the board does or says is being scrutinized, and criticized.

I wish he and his family well also.

gramafun

fifteen....you listed things that have been out of business for YEARS, since I was a little girl. What has that got to do with asking to see the present books? It sure didn't answer my question. Has anyone actually seen the BOE books? You have the mall, newly owned businesses galore, water parks, hotels, you cannot tell me that NONE of these are paying taxes to the township and your BOE. You cannot live in the past. It's gone.

So has anyone seen the BOOKS??????? or not? They are a matter of public record, are they not? Has anyone bothered to ask to see them that knows something about money?

fifteenthgreen

Gramafun - My listing of the Register's article on loss of industry wasn't in reference to your question but it is of major concern to this community that so much has been lost.

As for the districts "books", they have been posted several times in past blogs. I will find them and repost for your review.

fifteenthgreen

Gramafun - Here you go. Let me know if you need additional information.

http://public-school-districts.f...

Perkins Schools information

http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do...

BASIC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

http://www.perkinsschools.org/Do...

FIVE-YEAR FORECAST

gramafun

thanks for the info. I read the ENTIRE report from the auditors of the accounts. I just wonder why your BOE states clearly that they intend to "live within their means and budget" of what is coming in" and that the money they transferred for the "stadium and the cost overrun" was a definite factor in their being somewhat challenged in this last year in the general fund. Why would they now come back and ask you all for more money in taxes given those factors? We were looking at a house in Perkins,but we don't want to pay extra in taxes if its going for this stuff. It sounds as if its more mismanagement of funds than anything else. Not a NEEDS thing but a WANT thing. Is that the problem?

oldpirate

If Dr Printy chooses not to run again the reasons are his business and his only. He only needs to explain what he chooses to.

fifteenthgreen

Agree, oldpirate!

VOTENO

NO in NOvember!

VOTENO

I'm putting the VOTE NO sign out in the yard soon!

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