Tough times facing schools

Norwalk City Schools will need to have a “frank discussion” about what programs will need to be cut to make up for deficit spending.
Cary Ashby
Nov 21, 2012

 

That was the message Superintendent Dennis Doughty had for the school board at Tuesday’s meeting. One day before the election, the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) sent the district a letter requesting a plan how to make up for deficit spending in fiscal year 2014. Norwalk’s response is due Dec. 31.

If the district doesn’t give the ODE a letter with such a plan, Norwalk immediately would be placed on “fiscal watch,” Doughty said.

Read more of this story in today's Reflector.
 

Comments

KURTje

Discourse may be to late. In America those in authority need to value what is best for the many. Unfortunately it has not been this way. Wish the best for the students. The system needs to address that 1rst.

Brock Lee

cut administraters

rocketman 51

good norwalk should be on fiscal watch, as should all the schools. threaten this and sports cuts, bussing cuts, you a holes know the fear tactics. someday the peeps will wake up and not give you anything!

rogerthat

Hire spelling teachers.

RRB34

Cookie cutter response from Brock. Please give us your wisdom of why administration needs cut and how much it would take to balance their budget. Too much administration seems to be the standard reply but do you have any idea of the jobs these people do? Do you have any idea how many unfunded mandates get tossed to public education every year? Have you looked at the districts statistics of pupils to administrators to compare it with like districts? How exactly is Norwalk comparing with expenditures per pupils with surrounding districts. Advice i would give to Norwalk's BOE and Administrative team is to be more open with the public and tell them what programs and services are at stake with each levy request. By doing this most logical thinkers wouldn't take it as a threat but as a community service so we would know what the school district will look like without the requested funding.

Contango

IMO, the fiscal problem is very deep and has its roots in demographics.

HS and college graduates, the best and the brightest must leave due to the overall lack of good employment opportunities.

The youth no longer contribute to the local economy, increasingly leaving current working residents, seniors on fixed income and others dependent upon public assistance to financially support the educational system.

In it's present format, this socio-economic dynamic is self-reinforcing, unsustainable and the trend if left unchecked will only exponentially grow worse.

fedup2

Nice try "RRB34"..I am with Brock Lee on this one. Cut administraters and family and friends that suck in for a easy paycheck as aides and whatever other title they are given. Secretaries and vice principles and so on...I oould solve that fiscal problem very quickly and easily...oops that might just be one of your jobs with how defensive you were!

bye bye Bellevue

@Brock Lee and fedup2 You guys must be the typical 9-5 worker, if you can qualify to be called worker! Punch a clock, make an easy check, go home, etc. Us white collared workers are doing more than you can imagine, its just you guys have never been in our position or job so you don't understand. Just because people make more money, have a more prominent job, etc is no reason they should automatically be cut. Lets hear a real plan come from you guys, other than the cop out of cutting administrators. You are probably the same idiots in Ohio that voted for Obama too! sOrry yet?

RRB34

Okay fedup, at least you are now including additional staff and not just administrators. Have you voiced your opinion with the district board? Or is this your only voice on this forum? If you read my post I didn't recommend cutting or not cutting administrators, I merely mentioned to the readers that examining the situation is far more important than just using your standard cut administrators, cut teachers, they all amke too much money line. I am a graduate of the district many years ago and have moved away from Norwalk a long time ago and can see a huge difference schools do make for a community. Contango is correct and by devaluing the school system you devaluate your community and the prospect of becoming a rivitalized town. Have we lost our ability to be critical thinkers and make rational decisions in doing so? Go Truckers! Conrats to the Lady Truckers in their volleyball season. I was at the Nutter Center cheering you on.

starryeyes83

First cut the utility bills. Some of the lights need to be turned out instead of burning all night and weekends. That should be in all school districts. Next keep better inventory of all supplies. There's two.

Do some of you have any idea what was thrown out in trash bins of certain local schools ( B'vue to be exact) to be torn down. Brand new supplies ( rulers, Binders, Big Paper notebooks etc.) still in bags laying on top. People were over there picking them out. Those could have easily went to the new schools.

Wasteful.

44846GWP

Say you will cut out all sports, and watch a levy pass three to one. Thats the mentality of the average voter in the area.

ThomasJefferson

Here's a suggestion that would save the district 50k per year plus benefits...terminate one of the TWO Assistant Superintendent Secretaries. Perhaps the one who spends her days making copies and reading the newspaper?

fedup2

"byebyebellevue"...no I work, so I didn't vote for Obama. I also would put my salary up against yours any day. Unless you make over $100,000.00. I know there are positions that are not needed. Just like "ThomasJefferson" pointed out. I never cut down the teachers or the students. I merely pointed out that they have friends and family members collecting checks for positions that are not needed, along with some unneeded administrators and secretaries!

44846GWP

I voted for Obama, and I work! So do all my friends and family who voted for him. So don't try to play that card.

swiss family

I can't believe that I am going to agree with "Thomas Jefferson" but I am... I think , just from a residents and taxpayers perspective, that I have seen far too many lights on , on weekends, I have gone past the Main st school in winter to see some of the classroom windows wide open.. if the bills had top be paid from the money they had, maybe they would see all of the waste that the see so often and just accept it as "the way that it is"

We all know that the school board will decide that bussing will have to be cut back (of course they start there because it hurts the most "ungrateful" parents)and next will be sports.. I , for one am tired of being "punished " because we (the taxpayers) do NOT think that they need more money, we feel that they need to spend the money we give them more efficiently

I have said for some time, that I would like to see the charting of the Paid personnel, and their wages.. I for one do NOT think that we need so many Principals and vice and assistant everything's.... and all of the secretaries and staff to accommodate them.. I think we as a school system are too "top heavy" when all of our schools are within a 6 mile radius, and with today's technology ( computers and cell phones)why do we still need a principal for each school??? we did need them back in the 60's but that was before the technology we have today... we could cut out some of the extra staff and save a considerable amount of money.

I am also curious as to why we do not see any outdated equipment listed on any of the Government surplus auction sites?? I see other area schools and departments listing everything onm there from desks to computers, and even playground equipment.. where are the "old" ones going to now??? Maybe if we as taxpayers saw that they were being responsible with their budget, and selling equipment instead of giving it to friends and family, we would trust them more and believe them when they say they are nearly in a financial crisis..But the way things are now, and the obvious waste and missed opportunities to make money on their own.. I feel like they do NOT need more money.. they do need to be more aware and responsible in the way they use our money

stooopette33

Don,t put in on property owners who don,t have children in the school, tax lunches, or cut staff

Contango

Pay for play?

There are many school sports programs and music bands across the country that are financed largely by the families and sponsors.

Let those families, alumni and residents who believe that sports and the arts are important part of an education supply the necessary funding.

thirtysomething

The problem with them cutting bussing routes is that with the decision to cluster, they've created a situation where almost every child in the district will need be bussed at some point.

Clustering also was supposed to create a shared principle position. We (parents) were told that two elementary schools were going to share a principle. That didn't even last a year. They've had to hire someone for the position at League. I don't think it was feasible to "share" an elementary principle in the first place, but Doughty touted that as one of the cost savers that would come with the clustering format. I don't think it's saved a penny. The biggest money saver was that they had employees retire that weren't replaced.

Lourella

I know that my two elementary aged children are now bus riders that would never have been if the schools remained the same. I'm not sure how that saved them money. I also knew they would never survive without a principal at League. I know others think principals aren't needed, but honestly you need to spend some time in the school and you will see how much they are needed. I know from volunteering with the PTO how much time and energy they put into their schools.

Swamp Fox

Would be interesting what the savings could have been if SB5 would have been upheld.

keystone

Sb5 would not have helped. It made public employees pay 10 percent towards retirement which they already do. Also their share is going up to 14 percent over the next couple of years which is more than sb5 stated. Also, sb5 provided they pay more for health ins which the last negotiations provided they pay more as well as increasing the out of pocket they have to pay. Also, the teachers and other employees settled for a pay freeze this year and also the next 2 yrs.

I am not a teacher or employee of the district.

MrSmith

I hate to say it but its time to cut the sports programs out and get rid of the coaches. I also agree that if we get rid of some of the office staff that really are not needed then the school could save some money.

Sarrak

The reality is that school salaries is a topic that needs to be addressed statewide. The last time I checked at the Huron County Auditor Office the 20 highest paid public employees in Huron County worked for schools.

arnmcrmn

Cutting sports? You can tell the ones who never played a sport before that think cutting sports is a must and will have no effect on the schools and its students. Do you know how many students around this area get assistance in college from HS sports/band? A lot. Sports may not be a big deal to some of you, but to many students it is. Speaking for myself, sports taught me things you cannot teach in a classroom. Leadership, time management, working with others, taking criticism...etc.

What every poster that says schools should cut sports programs forget is that sports like basketball and football in many of these area teams actually make the school MONEY. So if you cut all sports, the schools will be in even a bigger hole.

Silly posters, always posting stuff without researching.

Contango

The fact is that labor costs for any enterprise accounts for 70-80% of the total operating expenses and are therefore usually the first to be cut.

More immediate "bang for the buck."

----------------------------------------------

@ arnmcrmn:

Kindly provide proof that sports programs are a profit center for schools.

For example, who pays for the building and maintenance of playing fields, courts, etc.?

Everyone has his or her favorite sacred cow(s) when it comes education. Mine are:

Readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmatic.

We're in a race with the rest of the world academically and learning to throw a ball is fairly useless in the overall scheme of things.

More PE - most children are overweight anyway.

swiss family

here is a little post Thanksgiving game for everyone to play... Go to the City of Norwalk Ohio Board of Education website, and find your way to the page that has each individual school listed at the top... Before you click on each school, picture it in your mind, and knowing the size of the school, and the grade levels in these schools, just guess how many adult employees it takes to run that school...in your best guess possible... then write that number down... now go ahead and click onto that listed school, and see how many actual adults it takes to operate it....if there is a large difference between the number you wrote down, and the actual number, start reading the job titles of the adults and see if you even understand what some of them are, and what their job would possibly be....then there must be a way to find their salaries, although I do not know where to find that... and go from school to school and guess your number then see the actual number... read their job titles and see if you even know what some of them mean.....when you are all done with this game.. ask yourself if you think that Norwalk might be too top heavy in administration costs... and staff costs...then decide if the problem with the Norwalk school system is or is not that they have too little money to spend, or if they seem to already have enough money , but are spending it on making too many adult employees, lives too easy by assigning them unimportant jobs on our tax dollar...

I also wonder what the pay rate is for each teacher.. I have to think that logically if you decide to teach kids at a younger age, say kindergarten, 1,2 and third grades...teaching them is going to have it's own problems, but as far as ever feeling threatened like you might be if you were teaching at the high school level, so in my opinion, those teachers should make Less than teachers of the older kids.. is that what happens?? or are all teachers paid according to the number of years that they have put in??? and lets get rid of tenure while we are at it... doesn't tenure mean that you have reached the stage where you will not be fired??I think every teacher and faculty should never have that kind of safety net.. you don't see that in any other jobs, so why do they have it.. I think the best and brightest and the most challenging teachers should be the ones who still have jobs. so make them work to improve their "game" every year, instead of getting them to a position where they know they will not be let go, so they can sit back and relax and just keep teaching the same way that they have for years, and possibly less instead of more..

Sarrak

Swiss - All public employee salary info is located at the Huron County Auditor Office.

swiss family

I have gone to the county auditors website, but I do not know how to bring up the salaries...plus it is a county website, but it would have City salaries.. please help me, I would love to be able to find the salaries, and see how much we are actually spending on administration compared to the entire budget...thanks

Dr. Information

Football and basketball for Norwalk absolutely make the school money during the season. Just stop in and ask the AD. I have a relative who was an AD. Sports programs in his city brought in a lot of dough.

Contango

@ Dr. Information:

Football and basketball are only two. What about the others?

Regardless, if profitable, why shouldn't they fund all expenses like paying fees for field and court use, uniforms, etc.

Reads more like a public works project.

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