Norwalk parents, faculty concerned about possible art, music cuts

Doughty: 'We do know if we don't pass a levy, we're going to have to cut programs'; school board to meet in special session Monday night, with action possible.
Aaron Krause
Feb 24, 2013


Norwalk resident Dawn Freeman said her four children "really struggled with math" before getting involved with Norwalk City Schools' music program. Since then, "those grades significantly improved," she added.

Now, Freeman, faculty, students and parents are concerned that the Norwalk school board will cut the music and art programs to offset deficit spending.

In a letter to her contacts, Freeman, an art therapist, wrote that faculty members had announced at a band concert that "the Norwalk City Schools are planning to cut the music and art programs, especially at the younger levels. This would cause serious problems for our music and arts programs and would result in not only diminished music and arts programs but could also lower test scores, especially in the math and sciences field."

The school board recently voted to place a 6-mill, five-year emergency operating levy on the May ballot.

While Superintendent Dennis Doughty said the school board has not taken any action to cut programs, he conceded: "We do know if we don't pass a levy, we're going to have to cut programs."

A special session board meeting, which is open to the public, is planned for 7 p.m. Monday in the central board conference room, 134 Benedict Ave. According to an announcement of the meeting, board members may take action.

Look for the full story about this topic in Monday's Reflector.



Estrella Damm

Provide extra-circular activities for our youth or build more jails. Your choice.

Now The Rest of...

Offer them a sound academic program, concentrating on language, math, science and history, that is what will make them a success, to equate loss of extracurriculars is just scare tactics. Schools must earn to live within their present economic funding levels, just like the taxpayers has.

Guy on a Buffalo

You have no idea about which you comment. The state has taken away funds from schools while making them do more. You have a school board that has cut almost 30 positions over the past 3 or so years and is saving money where they can. Are there more cuts that can be made, including administration, sure. Will the board look at those possible cuts? Of course, but you don't hear about those right away. Give them time - our board will not let us down.


Clyde-GS 'campaigns' they cut 18 positions but they just hired 11 this past January. Transparency, people.

“Words sometimes serve as a smoke screen to obscure the truth, rather than as a searchlight to reveal it.” ~ Anon

swiss family

seems like the same pattern over and over again.. I don't know about any of you, but I get tired of being treated like "we" don't understand the complexity of running our schools. and as such we should just keep handing them more and more money every time they tell us to.

OK we now have the threat of doing away with some extra curricular activities.. that is done to scare you, next will be busing cuts.. again to scare you, then it will go to "pay for play " activities... then the teachers will give their (OUR) kids an assignment , to write a "letter to the Editor" telling "us" how desperately they need the levy... so these kids are being used in a propaganda swaying campaign, and their grade will no doubt depend on not only how well their letter is, but also if it supports the need for the levy, just as the teachers and board need them to do. Why can we not have HONESTY from the people we have in charge up there?? why can you not make a list of the teachers and Principals salaries... make a list of every employee that works for our tax dollar, and I believe we will be able to show you enough places to cut without your usual cutting of extra curricular activities, busing and such...

Maybe it is understandable, maybe because teachers, Principals, Supers etc are used to being in charge, and used to TELLING everyone what they need and want and expect that they forget that they are dealing , not with children as they usually do, but with taxpaying adults who would ,like, need and expect to be treated with honesty and respect... I am sure that I could show you my budget, and tell you that I can not find anywhere to cut anything to save money, but I am confident if I let you look at my budget, you could see things that I take for granted and see as a NEED when it is really just a WANT...same goes with the school board and their my opinion


I like what you said and how you said it! FOr Chef Mike, here is another page to check salaries too.

or just do a district search and "order by" Salary high to low!


Guy on a Buffalo

See you at the meeting tonight to share your ideas about what the district should do. Or, will you simply sit on the sidelines and complain? We will see!


i don't understand why it always has to be the art program, or the music program, etc, that has to get cut. why not cut the football program? or the basketball program? i understand that people love their sports, but what about the people who love their art? or their music? not everyone loves sports. so its unfair to the students who don't love sports, to have their extracurricular activities cut just so the jocks can have their sports.


I agree. There's very little art appreciation around here, and I think part of the problem is because of how parents "force" their kids to play sports while they are young and in school instead of letting them take more time in what they are really interested in. As an artist, I couldn't find partnership or fellow artists when I was young because all the other kids really cared about was sports. That being said, I think there'd be more culture and diversity in schools if so many parents didn't make their kids conform to playing sports in fear of them being socially left out, in time their kids would actually be making friends with mutual interests.


Heitsche23: Pretty simple. Football and basketball make money. Been to a football or basketball game the past couple of years?
Now, I'd prefer not to see music or art get cut. But at the lower levels, it's probably not going to be as devastating as some people might have you believe.
Art and music supporters are very passionate about those programs, and there's nothing wrong with that.
You said it's unfair to the students who don't love sports.
Is it fair to have sports cut from kids who enjoy playing?


Heitsche23: I agree with you. However, it would help if people supported the music and art programs. There are thousands of people who go to sports programs. Yet only about 200 or so will go to a music program or play. The students of the arts are every bit as intelligent as the sports players. The thing of it is that of the students who play a sport in high school, only a few will go on and make it a part of their daily lives after graduation. The arts will stay with you forever and that is a big plus.


Reads like: Pay-to-play and/or fundraisers are in order.

How ever did the U.S. several decades ago become the greatest economic and military power that the world has ever seen without taxpayer sponsored art and music programs?

Readin’, ‘ritin’ and ‘rithmatic made this country great – back to the basics.

Folks, this is Plan A. If future funding isn't secured, Plans B, C, etc. are in store.


The time in schools spent on just sitting around just to make (quota) certain number of days always gets me. A many of charter schools do not go for as many weeks, look at home schooling for example. (a few hours a day). In my opinion if teachers taught more than one study, the time spent in school per day could easily be saved, just from not going from class to class, and there would be more school cash/time for extra-cur.. But it's always get the people where it gets the boo hoo's. Take away the fun-life stuff scare tactic.. Kinda like welfare, make a cut in food stamps and the gov. accuses you of starving people, when all your doing is forcing freeloaders to cut the comfort foods..Force freeloader bloated school board systems to make cuts, and bam...not there wage, fancy auditoriums, but take the music away.. Kinda like dictatorship to me. Also one point, last week didn't i read where Sandusky was giving... YES GIVING all 4th graders ipad's.. So where does that fit in..???

Chef Mike

Swiss family,

There is a list of teachers and admin salaries, and it is EYE OPENING to say the least. I've lost teacher friends over the publishing of this website, so it's obvious the teachers unions don't want this truth to be told...

Browse that for a while and ask yourself, why is it exactly that people teaching little kids need graduate degrees?


"Norwalk resident Dawn Freeman said her four children 'really struggled with math' before getting involved with Norwalk City Schools' music program."

Say wha'?

Wouldn't a math-tutoring program have been more in order?

Do the Norwalk schools have low-to-zero cost programs for the better students to help the struggling students in certain subjects?

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : If I were William Shatner. I'd call your comment : " Priceless "




Haven't seen ONE football player in the NFL either. Not ONE basketball player playing for the Lakers. There is ONE out of a hundred for everything.


Exactly. You should never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game (don't use statistics as an excuse to give up), and you can always have side jobs to support you in the meantime. Just as Michael Jordan said "I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."

Really are you ...

We have some of the highest paid school staffing around. These bright and brilliant people are guiding our children on how to be academically successful in the future, and these teachers can not figure it out. Step back and look at what is going on with Norwalk City Schools. A new high school to draw in more students, imo, inflated staff salary, and when I was in school, we used paper and pen. Students did not get a lap top or tablet from the school system. I am not condoning the progression on how they are taught, but going digital in homework also takes a lot of the deadline burden and late nights away from teachers having to grade homework. Less work, right, so they should be paid more. Norwalk High has pretty well gone ECOT already, I vote for pay raises. Not.


In most business's a computer or laptop is used 10x often than a pad a pencil.

all fact or all...

This is true but maybe just maybe they should keep basic math in the curriculum. I was at a store recently and my bill was $19.37. I gave the cashier $50.37. She hit the wrong button and the register opened before letting her know what the change was and she had to call a manager over to help her figure out how much I got back..she GRADUATED two years ago. Maybe a pad and paper once in awhile would be a good thing. Just a thought.


Ask a child in the 3rd grade to tell time on a "regular" clock. Ask them in the 6th grade to do their multiplication or division tables by hand. Ask them to write a correct sentence. Most use digital clocks and can't tell time on a "normal" clock. Most can't do math on paper and don't even know how to "sound" a word out or write a correct sentence. It's a shame. Don't believe it? Ask a child what 1/4 till 5 means. Ask what the difference in yours and you're(s) is. Even people on here don't know that one. See if they can do multiplications or divisions up to 10 in a certain amount of time. Ask them to use a dictionary. Not spell check. We need to get back to basics. If that means cutting band, art, football or tennis, so be it. ECOT isn't helping except to make children anti-social. To he*l with study hall. Teach these kids how to write, speak and fill out their taxes and balance a checkbook. That's what I believe we need. But I'm afraid that is a bygone time. To bad. Until the kids know that, we will always be behind in this world.

all fact or all...

Exactly my point. Couldn't have said it better!! especially the digital watch..My grandson asked me the other day what time it was, I said quarter past 6 and he looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language!


Wonder what Michelle Rhee would have to say?

Orchestra Mom

No one like to hear about cuts and I believe the school board needs to provide more details of all cuts. Not just music, sports, or academics. The citizens of our community need to hear everything, become educated and work together on a solution. I don't want to see Music/Art depts cut and I believe we can find solutions that will meet our students needs.

BTW - Music does improve math skills its a proven fact. Know your facts, get educated and bring solutions to the table not just complaints.


@ Orchestra Mom:

Obviously music doesn't improve reading skills. Notice the word "tutoring"?

So, you votin' "Yes" on the levy?

Really are you ...

yes music does improve math skills, they can count to four. One, and two, and three, and four. Lol. Then it teaches students, same as on a manufacturing floor, that they need to perform exactly, if not better than, the chair next to them. Because if not, the boss, or the conductor at this point in their life, will stop everything. Question them about what they were doing when they played an off key note, started too early, or held a note too long. Then restart the production all over again. If they still mess up they will get demoted a chair. Perfect training on how to work for somebody else when they graduate high school.


No brainer, cut sports. That is a useless point of education. It is a temporary incentive. Art and Music has a life long influence, sports are temporary and only for parents to brag about their student. Sports are important on a physical health level, temporary, and can be done much cheaper. Home owners are tired of paying for the salaries of teachers union teachers. Cut teachers in areas that are not necessary.


Cut sports because they are not necessary? This must be coming from someone who never played. More people get college paid for in full because of sports, that is a fact.