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."




five for five ain't no jive
Herman Cain


or was that come alive with five for five,still ain't no jive.
Herman cain said something like that


We all knew that this was going to be Norwalk's answer. Keep going back to the tax payers for money. They have not made any real cuts that would help the bottom line, but expect us to tighten our belts and make cuts to our household while they roll along, business as usual. Cutting food workers, us drivers or custodians does little to nothing. How about addressing the big money salaries and benefits. That is the major expense in this machine and they need to be pruned back.

They talk about being fiscally reponsible in the fall after a levy would be passed ? Why not be fiscally responsible now and spare us the extra money it will cost us to live in this district.

I know there will be comments from some that say that the district has cut back and teachers have sacrificed by not receiving raises, pay more for insurance, etc. for the past several years. Teachers have agreed to this not because it is good for the district or the kids, it is because it still is a good deal for them. The benefits and pay are far better than the citizens that have to foot the bill, and they know it.

Bottom line is there are ways to cut down expenses without strapping us with another levy. Start by stripping down to the absolute bare requirements required by the state, add only the lowest number of teachers needed, and cut all unnecessary administration, then see what money is left over. Then you can add back positions and programs from there based on merit towards providing a good education. There will be some programs that will not make it, but we need to get back to basics and live with what we need, not what we want.

The district is hopelessly out of touch with the reality. Most people do not have more money to give. If you cannot pay the tax, then you are penalized with foreclosure while these folks go along, business as usual, excellent salaries still intact, retirement packages still guaranteed, low health insurance costs (yes they pay 100 dollars more now, but what did they pay before ? 10 ? Not realistic) , and working less hours and days than those who are expected to pay the bill.

I am voting NO on this levy, and will encourage everyone the same. Until I see the promised cuts, I do not believe that they will occur. The district has been overspending for years, while asking for money to avoid a crisis. They need to quit adding back while crying poor. They will not really do anything until forced to do so. Vote NO

Whiskey Tango F...

But why? You have money and we don't! What about the children? We were just ranked as the best schools! I know we tried to pull a fast one with the earned income tax just a few months ago, but we really didn't mean it! We will kick and pout and hold our breath until you give us what we want! Do you really want our kids to be stupid?

Tell it how it is.

Sounds like to true community member wanting to see a school without art, music, and high pay to participate fees. I am glad your generation had all of those things. Lowest property taxes in the area. Our neighbors are laughing at us when we can't even come within 15 mills of their taxation. Most of them would only dream of the value that Norwalk has to offer.

Whiskey Tango F...

Add more CAREERS! Not jobs that offer $12 per hour through a temp agency that rolls you every 88 days, and you will see more money. Your generation was financed by Delphi, Ford, General Motors, Janesville, Norwalk Furniture and many many other great places to work. Our generation is currently funded by Wal-Mart, Wendy's, and the new and improved $10/hr Norwalk Custom Order Furniture! School taxes are ties to property taxes. Everything was hunky dory when our properties were appraised at 150% of their actual value. What we are experiencing is the aftershocks of the housing bubble that recently burst.



swiss family

"Overb"... thank you, I couldn't have said it better myself.... ther need to be realistic and see all the "weight" that they carry , in the system, that is really not needed... sure it makes their jobs easier, but they only work 184 days a year...I do apologize, I did miss the explanation of the proposes "5 for 5" solution, but if it is a tax that will end in 5 years?? I will pretty much bet that it won't stop in that time.. I have never seen any tax that once in place, has ever gone away.... I agree.. "NO" for any levy, until they take a good long realistic look and shave it down to what they need instead of what thy want...thanks for speaking the truth "Overburdened"...

The Truant Officer

Swissy - I totally agree with you about shaving things down more. I also have to chuckle when thinking about the new sports complex they want to build. I would love to know where they plan to find the money to maintain it.

Whiskey Tango F...

300 jobs at Janesville, 85 jobs at epic, who knows how many more in the immediate future... And you want more money? The solution to this is very simple!
Ask for donations. Anyone who gives can get a receipt and get a tax deduction at the end of the year. Anyone who can't afford it can keep their money. When a levy passes by lets say 100 yes, vs 99 no, then nearly 50% are punished with the tax burden. Why don't you simply ask for the donations and spare the rest? Because you need the additional revenue that is involuntarily stolen out of the 99 other voters pockets to finance your non-profit machine that can't break even.


12 jobs lost at batesville casket place


"Staying in town: When asked how many students thought they would be living in Norwalk in five years, a total of twenty said they thought so (out of a classroom total of 105).

When asked whether they would live in Norwalk ten years from now, another twelve or so thought they may relocate back to Norwalk eventually.

Thus approximately thirty percent of the students thought there was some likelihood that they would return to live in the Norwalk area. Many more wanted to sample some other part of the world after graduation."

- 2006 City of Norwalk Comprehensive Plan, pg. 9.

Therein, IMO, lies THE problem.

Norwalk taxpayers help educate them and then they move away, thus losing future taxpayers.

The dynamic is unsustainable.

The population is becoming older, poorer, while living on fixed incomes.

(25% of the population will be age 65 and older by the yr. 2020.)

The past levy failures have IMO been indicative of an increasingly older, poorer demographic.

Whiskey Tango F...

I agree 100% If there was a way to buy a nice home, 2 cars, and some nicer places to eat out we would have a better retention rate. Where should the best and brightest college graduates take their engineering or architectural degree in Huron county that they have the potential to earn $100k? Look at Marysville ohio and the Honda plant for a model.


Unfortunately, overcoming inertia is difficult.

The longer this situation continues the worse it becomes.

IMO, fiscal austerity is the only foreseeable solution.

IMO, instead of spending $750K for a new sports complex, how about a math & science center?

Taxpayers might 'cough up' a buck or two in support.

The Truant Officer

I plan to do everything I can to encourage my kids to move away from this drug infested community that has no jobs.

Dr. Information

Contango. Best post I have seen in awhile. I believe this is the outcome for many rural and small towns. Not enough people coming back.


Just know in advance that, if you pass this levy, your property taxes will skyrocket. In addition to the cost of the levy, the state of Ohio is no longer subsidizing 12.5% of that increase for new and renewal levies. In other words, you will be paying full freight for a tax increase that this community simply cannot afford, given the dismal state of its economy. Forewarned is forearmed!


Strongly urge voters to get active here. Will top managers be eliminated or take permanent $ & medical cuts? The working populace is broke.

Dr. Information

Unfortunately, Obamacare is cutting deeply into the middle class hurting them even more.


Ok,lets say you are all correct.What is the solution ? General tax on all sales,eliminate upper management positions,double work load,go to school year round ? Just asking !


Among the wage adjustments necessary would be hourly salaries and benefits in line with what other public employees in the county are paid with similar education. I suspect this alone would solve the problem.


Does your plan mean that teachers will be paid for all the work that they do at home in the evenings and on the weekends just to be ready for their classes? If so, then the teachers will be paid much more than they are now.

swiss family

OH STOP IT.."WINDY" .. I knew someone would go there, about all of the extra hours they work....Please tell me of any other job that only has it's employee's work 184 day of the 365 days in a year??? you can't because no one else has that much time off... plus I am not just complaining about how many days you work, but you get so many "mini " breaks throughout the year ( Labor day, thanksgiving holiday, Christmas break, spring break, etc) no other job gets that benefit, plus if you were to ask any worker in any other field, they will tell you that they also do preparation work at home, and on weekends... so please .. get real, and quit acting like you work so hard at home, plus most teachers have open spaces on their daily in school periods, where they could do the extra work during that time, and they should.. if we are paying them for a full days work, then they should use that time to do the "extra's" that you are crying about

Scranton Tibbs

@Swiss I agree. Always the same old song and dance with teachers: "what about the work we do at home and on the weekend?" My response: What about the 3 months off in the summer, couple of weeks at Christmas, "Spring Break", gov't holdidays, and who knows how many snow days. Schools are grossly mismanaged and I'll NEVER vote for a levy.

Norwalk Lifer

Go to college, get an education degree, quit whining. Your jealousy is showing.

Scranton Tibbs

So if someone disagrees with your point of view they are a whiner? Wow, you sound like alot of fun to be around. No wonder you never left Norwalk.

Norwalk Lifer

What's my point of view?

I merely stated that if being a teacher is so great and/or easy, you should become one.

Scranton Tibbs

I'm not going to downgrade to a lesser paying job. I like the career I have. Thank you for your concern of my career path. It's heartwarming.


Norwalk lifer i totally sick of people complaining about "how much" teachers make and how much time off they get. Everyone has choices. If being a teacher is so wonderful, than by all means become a teacher. Don't bash someone's career choice because of your own jealousy. Also,I would love for all these people who are criticizing the lack of work teachers do to come into a classroom for one day and then see how you's really not as simple as it seems.

Scranton Tibbs

My job is not simple either and I doubt you could do it. So your point is moot. The difference is this: I'm not going to the tax payer and asking for more money. Do more with less. The rest of us are. Climb off that teacher high horse and come back to the land of reality. You're no more important than anybody else.