Norwalk school district moves forward with '5 for 5' levy

If passed, emergency operating levy will generate $1.5 million.
Cary Ashby
Jan 22, 2014


Norwalk City Schools has voted it's necessary to put an emergency operating levy that will generate $1.5 million on the May ballot.

"This is a resolution of necessity. This is the first step," Superintendent Dennis Doughty said. "Literally, this reflects an emergency situation and I think our finances reflect that."

The school board is expected to complete the two-step process at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.

Presented to the board at Tuesday's special meeting were two other levy options, which would generate $1.8 million (about 6 mills) and $2 million (6 1/2 mills). Each of the levies would last for five years.

Board member Rob Ludwig made a motion to support the 5-mill levy that would generate $1.5 million over five years, but there several, long, awkward moments before someone seconded the motion. Board president John Lendrum finally said he was going to do so at least "for the purpose of discussion." The motion passed 5-0.

Each of the members discussed the $1.5 million levy, what Doughty has called the "5 for 5 levy," before the motion and vote.

"I don't look at it as a Band-Aid (solution); I see it as the start of a long-term solution," Ludwig said.

About the three options, he said, "I think what will pass is the biggest question." Ludwig doubted a levy that generated anything more than $1.5 million over five years would be successful.

Board member Ralph Ritzenthaler agreed, saying any levy Norwalk puts on the ballot has to be something that makes the taxpayers "comfortable."

Kevin Cashen, the newest addition to the board, said what he likes about the so-called "5 for 5 levy" is it would force the district to be fiscally responsible and give the public a chance to have its say in five years.

"Also, it gives the state (time) to come up with new funding. It's time for the state to give (districts money)," he said. "(This levy) gives it a chance for that to occur if it occurs."



swiss family

"rss" I find it interesting that you even say that onlookers of teachers are "jealous"... so that almost means that you agree that teachers have it pretty easy. why else would you think that anyone would be jealous of a teacher???? without coming out and saying that teachers have it pretty darn easy, by what you said it really implies that.... No one else gets 3 months + off each year... and also , like you stated that people are "jealous" of teachers it is also true that if teaching is such a tiresome, unappreciated, and time consuming position, QUIT... why do we have o listen to how hard you work and how little you make??? if you are not happy QUIT!!!


First - Windy - its not my plan - its called the Indiana plan and its likely coming to Ohio. In Huron County the Judges (who have doctorate educations) would be the ceilings for Administrators. Job and Family service workers (who are loaded with Bachelor and Masters' Degrees) would be the ceilings for teachers. All of these folks work extra hours for their jobs - their just not so hideously overpaid.


When the district's finances go belly-up, the state will come in and take over, cutting everything to the core. The cost of a good education now is a better value than the cost of incarceration later.

Estrella Damm

Yes. Problem here is that only 12.5% of the population of this county is higher educated. Might as well cut every extra, work minimum school hours and start building more prisons to house the higher crime that comes with lack of schooling and extra school activities.


Just because someone don't go to college doesn't mean they are going to live a life of crime, what an arrogant statement to make, get off the high horse its not becoming

Estrella Damm

Those who go off to school don't come back. The city does not support the schools. Why would those with education come back to this town? High horse that in your saddle.


Probably because people are strapped already and cash is low, but by all means stroke a check and give, what's stopping you? Remember some might not be a fortunate as you financially

Estrella Damm

Don't worry about my charitable contributions.


You are quick for everyone else to spend their money arent you sunshine.


Re: "Problem here is that only 12.5% of the population of this county is higher educated."

13.3% in Norwalk (U.S. Census Bureau). IMO, in support of the issue that the 'best & brightest' leave for elsewhere.

No agreement with the rest of your statement. College isn't for everyone.

The Truant Officer

I'm tired of hearing the same old song and dance about the state coming in and taking control. The problem isn't people voting down tax levy after tax levy, it's the administration not cutting enough fat out of the budget. The only way they're going to get a yes vote out of me is by earning it.


We need good teachers no doubt! But the overhead lies in OVERPAID administration, assistants for assistants, etc. Look at the salaries for these folks! And for half a years work!


With respect to Mr. Cashen, the state has had DECADES to come up with a new funding formula. With absolutely no sense of urgency on the part of the legislature, and despite a court-ordered mandate, the state has refused to do so. If Mr. Cashen is holding the possibility of the new funding formula out as an incentive to pass any school levy, the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.

Scranton Tibbs

The US ranks around 17th in science and around 24th in math compared to other industrialized nations as far as education goes. And you want more money? That's so illogical I won't even debate it. Just something to think about during your "Summer Break" or next "Calamity Day" when it's just tooooo cold to have school.

Norwalk Lifer

So what's your fix?

Scranton Tibbs

Voting no. Let the people that created the mess fix it. That's not my job, it's what they got elected to do.


Vote no.


The taxpayers who are complaining that they cannot afford the property tax levy should've thought about that when they voted no on the EIT. Many are unemployed in Norwalk, voting for the EIT would've helped them as they would not have had to pay this tax as well as the tax on their unemployment which is presently being done.

As stated in above, if you think this tax will go away if passed, you have another thought coming. After 5 years, at the end of this levy, where does the district think that it will get the revenue that was collected for the next 5 years. They are going to have to come back begging for a renewal or the income will reduce.

I know that many are getting tired of the constant begging. The EIT would've solved this problem.

The board has constantly been told that a reduction of an admin. was needed in order to even have a possibility of the levy passing and to show that they are sincere.

With Mr. Maire retiring as Middle School Dean of Students, part time ath. director and teacher, the board now has a chance to show that it is sincere in cutting an admin. A switch in admin. duties could result in one admin. being reduced.

If teaching was as easy as some of you suggest, why is it that education has one of the largest burn-out rates of all professions. I often hear parents say that they can't wait for their kids to get back to school, they are driving them crazy. Try putting up with 30 of these students at once.

As far as snow days, the state has said that beginning next year, there are no calamity days. All days must be made up.

Don't complain about the calamity days. Do any of you want your child out in this cold walking and waiting on busses. i know I don't.

One last thing, there are a lot of people on here with good ideas. I suggest you come to the board meeting next Tues. and express your concerns. Cuts are starting to be made. Don't complain if it's not where you think they should be unless you're willing to give suggestions and be a part of the solution.

swiss family

"keystone'... first of all... in response to your statement that in teaching that thee is such a "high turnover rate" I doubt very highly , that innocent, teachers with nothing to hide, who get their "tenure" which pretty much gives then job security for life, would leave the position because of "burnout" I suggest that more than likely, it is because either they can NOT keep their hands off of their students, and get caught in a sexual encounter with a student, or they see someone let go in their own school system, and know it is only a matter of time before the investigation shines it light on them as well, so they take a planned mover from the Catholic Priests, and quietly get mover or decide to move to another far off, unsuspecting school system.

Also. let me make sure I understand your position on this, you are saying that the reason that the school board HAS to put this 5 for 5 levy on the ballot is because , and I will rephrase your statement... "we are too stupid to realize that we had the chance to do it differently.We should have voted for the EIT>??? the other possibility would have been that maybe at that time, or maybe even now, the school board ought to look over their budget and see for themselves the difference between what they NEED and what they WANT, sure it would be great if they could continue to enjoy all of the perks that they had 10 years ago, but at the same time, talk to any citizen, taxpayer< they will tell you that they also wish that they could afford all of the extras that they enjoyed 10 years ago, BUT everyone has had to make some difficult choices in order to make ends meet for their budget, everyone except the school system, that is. They need to learn that "NO" means "NO" and then accept that answer and make some genuine cuts, not the same old " busing cuts, and sports cuts and implement "pay to play",as a means of punishing the bad , bad voters who refuse to supply them with everything that they WANT.I firmly believe that there are sooo many places in the existing staff and employees that could be easily made, I firmly believe that in every position, if you have a person below you, an assistant, then you are not working hard enough. So I am asking the school board to actually do what they are meant to do, and that is to find solutions to our problems, and understand the "No" means "NO" and find a way to cut, and make some drastic changes from the top on down, instead of the same old, same old , punishment that you always pass out to us bad, bad disobedient voters


Keystone. Have volunteered to be on a committee to advise on suggested cuts, but the board was not interested in working with the public. They do not want to work with the public. They would rather stick their heads in the sand and keep trying the same old thing.


On a good note, Ohio is not one of the top ten worst states in the nation for schooling.


next move after this fails will be a spring solo vote like the criminals at edison did


Find out what they all make here.


1voice what about the others? (non-teachers)

swiss family

if and when the time comes that every student that graduates from Norwalk school system can read and write at least on an 8th grade level, then I will admit that maybe teachers are worth the money and benefits that they make.I am sorry, but I have seen and dealt with far too many kids, who have just graduated from our school system, who can NOT read or write correctly..and if tested , would probably score at around , reading at a 4th grade level, and reading at a much lower level.

I do NOT understand how any teacher can pass these student along to another higher grade when they fail to understand the very basic principles of reading and writing and comprehending...Sorry, teachers, but you are NOT doing your jobs correctly. I will say that although I am sounding off about the teachers, I do feel that they are NOT the main drain on the school budget. I think we are way too top heavy, and have too many highly paid positions, that could easily be combined , merging 2 highly paid upper levels into hopefully 1 position, who now has an actual full 8 hours of work. As it should be...

Again, I think that the only situation where a "vice" is needed is for the Presidency, to have someone fully informed to step right in place if the unthinkable happens.. But in a school system, I think, if you need a "vice" position, then I feel that the original position, is not doing their job to the best of their ability.. in my opinion, of course..


As a parent of 2 Norwalk school students- I think its time the community and the students are told the truth. Why is this money needed and WHERE IS IT GOING? This money is not going directly to the students- its to cover the extreme salaries & benefits of our district employees.

FACT: 41% of all Norwalk City School employees make over $35+ per hour worked.
FACT: 84% of all Norwalk City School employees work PART TIME (2.5 days more than half a year)
FACT: 58% of all Norwalk City School employees make more than $60K salaries based on pro-rated pay or equivalent to the private sector.

Check the facts here:

Please tell me how many jobs in Norwalk pay $35 per hour to work part time? 184 days a year? The majority of us who are still fortunate to be employed in this city do not make near this amount. And yet we are supposed to pay more out of our pockets so they can maintain their current pay rates? Everyone goes after Doughty and the Administrators salaries. At least their hours worked are closer to full time! The highest paid teachers in the district are making more than Doughty based on their contracted hours!

The mantra for as long as I can remember is "teachers are grossly underpaid." Not anymore! Wake up everyone- government employee wages are surpassing the private sector at an alarming rate. The taxpayer’s wallets are empty!

And thanks again for thinking the public are a bunch of morons and will cave to you every time at the election booth! “We have to raise the pay-to-pay fees!” Let's go after the families with kids who play sports. Our athletic programs are the largest money generators for the school! What about lost revenue when many kids won’t play because it’s financially unfeasible? I’m surprised transportation is not being threated on this levy. Hurt em where it hurts until they concede!

If they have found 900K worth of cuts...then so be it. This levy money is not directly going to our students. It's going into the staff’s bank and retirement accounts!