Norwalk school chief shares $1.08 million worth of proposed spending cuts

Read specific details of the proposed cuts here.
Cary Ashby
Feb 13, 2013

Superintendent Dennis Doughty gave a presentation on proposed cuts in the district Tuesday during a school board meeting.

(NOTE - To read details of the proposed cuts, click on the link below.)

The total cost savings would be about $1.08 million and impact the equivalent of 18 1/2 full-time positions.

Some of the cuts would be eliminating field trips requiring busing, reducing library time throughout the district to half-time in every building and reviewing and reducing "specialist coverage" times for classes such as music and physical education "according to (the) minimum need."

"I believe these things need to be done," said Doughty, whether a levy passes or not.

If the levy fails, he said there will be more cuts.

School board members had an passionate discussion about the implications on staffing, curriculum requirements, class sizes and scheduling.

A story about the school board meeting was published in Wednesday's Reflector. To read the stories, pick up a copy of that issue or subscribe to the e-paper for less than $1 per week and read it now.

Comments

hor mone

I caint learn no more.

onegirlarmy

lol...sad

canyoubelieveit

The future of Norwalk City Schools it starting to scare me. I have a younger sibling who will have to deal with all these changes next year and I'm worried for her. She has trouble fitting in and doing things with other people but she loves sports and excels at school, that is where she does her best and is the happiest. I'm not sure if my parents will be able to afford the athletic fee if it goes up to $150. My sister as well as many other students will be forced to suffer because of the economic situation. I really hope things turn around and get better and our country will finally realize the importance of education, something it has failed to do for too long.

Contango

Can't afford the fee? Get a job or have a fund drive.

Gotta "think outside the box."

The major problem: Few good payin' jobs or opportunities to keep 'em here and help refill the tax base. The "best and brightest" get educated and leave.

The dynamic is unsustainable.

canyoubelieveit

I'm apologize that my family can't fork over $150 just for someone to play basketball. Do you want to pay it for them? Or maybe you don't realize that it's a large chunk of change because you're still here meaning you're uneducated and not bright.

Brock Lee

cut administraters

Clarence3

Ditto, until you cut all the assistants, secretaries to everyone and their brother, vice positions to this and that and other non-essential admin personnel I will never ever vote YES. This one levy alone will increase my property taxes 300 bucks and they just went up last year over 300 and I'm sick of it!

slimwhite56

Stop cryin u dip skits

Oscar4899

Do you really want to destroy your home value? Destroy the school district, and your home value will go with it. Save $300, lose $10,000 of the value of your house.

Personally, I think it's great. Everyone who voted for Issue 5, thereby preventing the re-negotiation of teacher contracts, deserves the tax increase.

Clarence3

Bull...this isn't for the kids, or home value, or anything else except to KEEP THE PAY and HIGH NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES. So shovel it somewhere else!

Lil DAB

Oscar, have you checked your property value lately or had it appraised to see how much the result of this economy has decreased its value? The schools didn't do that to your value. Bottom line, the schools have invested much more money into its own real estate rather than education. They have also budgeted more dollars into high paid administrators and various salaries and ignored structured pay for teachers, then threatening to cut THEIR jobs!
Remember when school was about Getting Back to the Basics and Reading, Ritin' and 'Rithmetic? That's what these school boards consisting of local people with various personal job experiences and overpaid, "educated" administrators need to do!

arnmcrmn

Home value is directly related to having a school in your area or not, and better yet a school that isn't bleed money from your pocket for every sport, or function. If you do not understand that, then you shouldn't post. Oscar is 1000000% correct with his above post.

Lil DAB

Re: what schools do for property values, putting more money into schools doesn’t make up for administrators and parents who are inattentive to their children’s educations. Schools that perform well are full of students who get a lot of parental support at home. The love fest for depending on and freely going to property owners; and increasing taxes to pay for over inflated buildings ,salaries, and pensions,etc must stop. In the meantime keep neighborhoods decent and property cared for to get through this economic decline. That should help the value of the school too, right?

Oscar4899

Forget Norwalk for a minute...in larger metropolitan areas like Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, etc. why do you think people choose to live in suburbs? Because they enjoy 30-60 minute commutes in traffic, paying twice the price for the same house, or distancing themselves from the eclectic parts of the city? No. They do it so their children can go to better schools. On a closer basis, look at Sandusky. Would you want your kids going to Sandusky city schools? Probably not. That's why people pay more to live in Perkins school district, or Huron, Edison, Norwalk, etc. So yes, if you don't support your school district, your home values will decline...more than they already have. You'll lose affluent residents and businesses to surrounding areas with better schools, home values will decline and that will place even more tax burden on the remaining residents.

Do I think government waste and excessive salaries are part of the cause? Absolutely. But not voting for the levy isn't going to change that. The union contracts won't get renegotiated...they will eliminate positions; which weakens the schools. They will cut sports or increase sports fees, cut music, and extracurriculars. Which ultimately hurts the kids, the city, and your property value.

Pay the extra $300 (less than $1 per day) and keep norwalk nice.

Contango

@ Oscar4899:

I understand your rationale, but the truth is that it won't stop at $300.00.

Public sector health and welfare costs are rising. It ain't just the salaries, it's the benefits and the perqs.

It reads like a double-bind - d*mned if you do and d*mned if you don’t.

Norwalk didn't see an excessive run up in housing values during the bubble and so it's also not seen nose-dive declines.

Roll the dice and hope for the best.

Lil DAB

But we ALREADY SUPPORT the schools (in some school districts) with over 60% property tax AND in some cases, in addition to that...levy taxes, ie earned income taxes, or other various levies or bonds!
Voters aren't against schools! They are against the pillaging of their household budgets. Voters against any additional tax levy need their income to pay their OWN week to week expenses!

Oscar4899

Trust me...I'm no fan of higher taxes, in most instances. But in the case of the schools, I almost always vote for the levies. Mostly because I think it's our responsibility to give the next generation the tools they need to be competitive in college and in the workforce. America's math and science scores are slipping when compared to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the taxpayers may vote the levy down because they are disenchanted with the school board, the teacher's union, or high taxes in general. It's unfortunate because it's not the school board or teacher's union that will be hurt...it will be the children. Teacher's will still get raises (except for 18.5 of them) and the school board and administration will still get raises. The same amount of kids will have 18.5 less people teaching them and less access to the libraries.

Secondly, from a selfish standpoint, I want the value of my property to remain as high as possible.

The ultimate irony that I find in the whole thing, and not just Norwalk, is that Ohio voters overwhelming passed Issue 5. Now, the same voters turn down school levies. So with the right hand, the voters said "We don't want the government to have tools to reign in salary and benefit costs." With the left hand, many of the same voters are upset their taxes may increase to cover these same costs. Duh! Where did they think the money would come from??

Lil DAB

I had always voted for levies too. And will continue to vote for library, seniors, mental health etc levies. They get such a small portion of taxes compared to the over 60% the schools get.
I think it's our responsibility to PROTECT the next generation from outrageous taxes that they will inherit from foolish voting.
I believe the next generation already has the tools they need...teachers, technology and new school roofs over their heads.
If teachers or administrations give themselves raises after threatening cuts & APPROPRIATE cuts are not made...woe and shame to the board.
http://www.opportunityohio.org/t...
Economics, property values, income, cost of college, gas, and just day to day expenses are very different from when our parents saw to our schooling. We have to adjust our budgets. So should the school administration; with transparency and without threats.

Contango

@ Oscar4899:

As I wrote: I understand your rationale and am in agreement with much that your write. But IMO, the fiscal dynamics are much more complex.

With the increasing decline of industry and general lack of commercial activity, Norwalk is fast becoming a bedroom community.

This means that all tax revenue is increasingly dependent solely upon taxpayers.

The community is spending precious resources educating the children and then the best and brightest move away due to lack of opportunities.

Voting for the levies is like putting your finger in a leaking dike. At present, the problem is systemic, not cyclical.

The dynamic going forward is increasingly unsustainable.

School funding and maintaining property values is a questionable correlation. Other factors are also in play like a poor local economy.

I have a lot of questions and few if any answers.

earlduck

We all know there's too many people in central office, there are too many people at the high school nothing to do, and particular in central office the positions are way overpaid, this is where the cuts should begin not on the students

doc5798a

I have to laugh at most of the Republicans on here. All they can do is point to the teachers union and SB5. They make fixing this problem so easy. I love their constructive input.

Oscar4899

I brought up SB5 for to make a point. 63% voted to overturn SB5...now that 63% need to put their money where their vote was and pass the levy. If the levy doesn't get 63% support...then the people who voted to overturn SB5 are hypocrites. They voted for the state to NOT be able to control salary and benefit costs, so now they need to open up their checkbooks and help pay those salaries and benefits. I love Democrats...they always want to spend more money as long as someone else pays the bill; just not when it hits their own pocketbook.

Contango

And "of course" all those "hypocrites" will send a check to the school system if the levy fails.

The govt. that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Contango

@ doc5798a:

Better take a look at Democrat dominated Illinois.

They're on the verge of bankruptcy due to runaway costs associated with public sector unions.

The Democrats own this fiscal cow pie lock, stock and barrel.

http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/...

Voting "Yes" on the levy right?

Fromthe419

I said it on election day, everyone that voted to over turn SB5 better pass every levy that came up because they supported the status quo. Time to pony up, we get the government we deserve.

Oscar4899

But, that's not fair...only people making over $250k should have to pay more.

Always been one of my issues with Democrats..."Someone needs to pay, just not me."

Truth or Fiction

To have comment with meaning, you must understand what the school districts of Ohio are facing. Education today is not like education when I was a kid. Busing is mandated by the State but it is up to your district to pay for it. A child with special needs (both physical and/or learning challenged) is mandated to have special support (nurse, aide, etc.)by the state but those salaries are paid by your district. IEPs, mandated testing, increased class size, and on and on and on.

Now throw in the fact that in the old days you had tangible personal property tax contributing millions to your district's budget - guess what - it has almost been entirely phased out by the State. How do you make up for the millions in loss revenue at a time when mandated education needs is increased.

So what do we do? We attack teachers. So let's say an average teacher's salary with 20 years of experience is $55k. And let's say you have 100 teachers in your district. How much do you want to cut those teachers salary? 10%? That saves your district $550K - not enough. So you cut teachers and class sizes go up. Now you really have a problem as the level of education goes down! The quiet student doesn't get the attention.

You are a citizen of your community. As a citizen, you have a responsibility to the children of your community. Reject that responsibility and we all will pay the price later!

Lil DAB

I am somewhat offended that you would imply I would be rejecting responsibility to the children of (my) community. Over $4000 of my property taxes and earned income tax go to my school district a year. I absolutely cannot afford another $10 out of my pocket. With the re-installment of the Social Security tax, the medical excise tax now being imposed on us, increase in medical benefits etc and just the week to week expenses to my household, not including any unexpected windfall that could happen my budget is tighter than a Joan Rivers facelift!

God Bless the teachers and what they earn, and how hard they work for it. So do I (work hard for my income.) And my income should not be controlled by a non taxpayer or a non transparent school board on how to SPEND it!

I don't believe voting NO for a levy is any indication of whether you are a Republican, Democrat; rich or poor. "Voting yes or no on the levy should be a matter of personal economics." And an informed citizen makes the best voter!
"Question with boldness..." - Thomas Jefferson

Thumper

The personal property tax was replaced by CAT tax. The commercial activity tax (CAT) is an annual tax imposed on the privilege of doing business in Ohio, measured by gross receipts from business activities in Ohio. This was done to make the tax fair for all business. All business in Ohio are required to file.

My businees did not have to pay a personal property tax before this...Just in the past several years it cost us several thousands of dollars.

Got to love OHIO...

Contango

@ Thumper:

Check out Gov. Kasich last night on Kudlow:

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?p...

Sounds positive for small business.

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