Norwalk school chief pitches '5 for 5' solution for dire financial situation

Superintendent Dennis Doughty delivers informative presentation about potential budget cuts and reductions to packed house.
Cary Ashby
Dec 13, 2013

A packed house at Fisher-Titus Learning Center at Norwalk High School heard more from Superintendent Dennis Doughty about the dire financial situation facing the district with nothing but cuts on the way.

"We're at critical mass right now. We didn't want to get to that point, but that's where we're at," Doughty said Wednesday night.

Nearly 100 people, including about 25 students and many teachers, listened to the superintendent's informative presentation about potential budget cuts and reductions.

The superintendent pitched a levy-related Band-Aid solution, stressing it would be only a "minimum response."

A story with details about the latest levy suggestion and potential cuts in the district was published Thursday in the Norwalk Reflector. So you don't miss stories such as this one, you can subscribe to the Norwalk Reflector to receive home delivery and/or the e-paper, which is a complete digital replica of each issue. For more information, call (419) 668-3771 or click HERE.

Comments

keystone

Mr. Doughty is suggesting that a levy might be put on the ballot in May. How much is this levy going to cost? I have heard that it costs between 10,000 - 15,000 to put it on the ballot. If NCS is in deficit spending, how can they justify spending that money only to see the levy go down again.

If I have deficit spending in my budget and my auto goes bad, I don't spend money on a new one, I try and band-aid the old one.

Mr. Doughty also said that overtime will be cut. Why is there any overtime at all if NCS is deficit spending?

Several of Mr. Doughty's suggested cuts should have been done a long time ago. Some of these are, 10% cuts in supplementals. NCS is top heavy in asst coaches. Basketball does not need 3 paid coaches at the HS level along with the other coaches on the other sports. Overtime should have never been permitted.

If Mr. Doughty was accurate in that NCS is only one teacher above state minimum, how can he suggest cutting 6 - 8 teachers? 1 minus 6 equals negative 5 which is below state minimum. How is state funding going to be affected if they are below state min.

Mr. Doughty is constantly saying it's about the kids. Cutting programs at the HS is definitely going to affect the kids. The music prg at the HS is one of the best around.

Again, I suggest cutting one of the administrators at the Central Office. The director of pupil services position was created for him. Before that the school psychologists did all the testing and sat in on the IEP's. The present administrator in that position is not certified to do any testing and has 2 psychologists under him that does all the work. Let's cut that position saving the district 100,000 plus benefits. This would save 2 - 3 teaching positions.

Also, NHS does not need a study hall and lunch room monitor. Mr. Doughty says that it would not be prudent to have a higher paid teacher doing these duties. Even though this is true, the fact remains that up to $30,000 (includung benefits) could be saved. Who monitored the study halls and lunch room before this aide was hired. Are they saying that they were wasting money before he was hired and were asking for levies in the past?

The article states that 12 aides will be cut. Whio is going to do their work? A higher paid teacher? If so, this is not consistent with his philosophy on the study hall and lunch room monitor.

hellohere.....

keystone:
Whats going to end up happening is the school board will make everyone of the cuts Mr. Doughty mentioned on Wednesday night if a levy does not pass. It is about the kids, but since Norwalk City Schools is defect spending they cannot afford the programs that the kids are able to participate in. There is no state mandate saying that they need extra curricular activities for students at the school. They will end up firing one more teacher, and they will cut 12 aids. There is no state law that says that they need aids. As for who will do their jobs who knows I am sure NCS will think of something. Probably where they will sends the students with IEP's to a different room with a teacher that is not teaching a class at the moment. It is a shame that NCS will not have a sports, music, art, clubs, and much more. Also the All sports complex is being paid for by the athletic boosters not the school. Also I did mention Mr. Doughty saying that the last levy that NCS past was in 1993. It is amazing that NCS has been able to go that long without one. The thing is they ask for one now, and people are reluctant to give them one. All I am saying is that every program at the high school that has nothing to do with education can and possibly will be cut. I guess we shall find out in May.

Concerned Resident

We are not the only school district facing cuts, they all are. Many school districts haven't passed levies since way before 1993. Alot of people are struggling financially and forced to changed their budgets. Do I want this for our kids and city? absolutely not! But be responsible with the money you do have show us where it is going and not being wasted instead of getting an attitude with concerned parents at information meetings. (I've seen Mr. Doughty do this at every meeting I've been to). Every time cuts are made it's always the things that directly affect the kids. As I said before we do not need a superintendent and assistant superintendent lets start there. There is alot of "double dipping go on" as far as employees retiring, collecting pensions and being hired back .

FTFOI

Keystone, thank you for the lesson. I completely see what you are saying.
I also think it is a game of smoke and mirrors. With the threat of cuts and needing money. I still question the building of the athletic building. Other than the donations the NCS still needs to come up with the rest. In addition to staff for building and lot maintenance NCS will also need utilities.
With the loss of Janesville we face even larger budget gaps in the coming years.

keystone

You are correct about the athletic building. Even if the building is built entirely with contributions as they say, who is going to pay for the upkeep and utilities to run it. If they claim that they must have overtime for the existing complex it does not take a rocket scientist to see that there will either be more overtime or hiring additional workers to upkeep the athletic complex. How can this be done with deficit spending.

With a new board makeup in January don't be surprised if the supt's recommendations are rubber stamped. Like I said before those who were against Broz are going to wish she were back.

The supt will be recommending cuts but I can bet it won't involve the "good ol boy" network.

Concerned Resident

He says he's for the students but his actions don't show that. The first place cuts should be made is the assistant superintendent. She just retired end of last year and is now collecting her pension, but was hired back this year with an additional salary of $100,000. plus. I heard there are school districts larger than Norwalk that don't even have assistant superintendents.

hellohere.....

$100,000 is cheap for what She is worth. She should actually be being payed around $200,000. Also she gets the job done. Which you can hardly find people like that anymore. We need more people like that in society.

Concerned Resident

I personally don't know her track record. But with her pension she gets plus her salary she prob is making close to $200,000. If she's that good then she needs to be the superintendent. I wish we vote for the superintendent, not just the board members. Never been happy with Doughty.

Concerned Resident

I will say as far as Sue's track record the only thing I do know so far is that she applied for a $2 mill grant that we did not get and other local school districts that are much smaller then ours did get. So as far as getting the job done, I'm not so sure about that.