Norwalk schools approve $943,000 in cuts, reductions

Moves would go into effect if emergency operating levy on May 6 ballot fails.
Cary Ashby
Feb 16, 2014


"With deep regret, I make these recommendations."

That's what Norwalk City Schools Superintendent Dennis Doughty told the board Tuesday when he requested approval of $943,000 worth of cuts. The reductions, which the board approved, would go into effect if the emergency operating levy on the May 6 ballot fails.

The cuts include four teaching positions, which would be part of a reduction in force (RIF) and equate to a savings of $300,000. Those positions are a Norwalk High School business teacher and one music, physical education and art teacher each in the district.

The district also plans to eliminate two librarians (a savings of $150,000), eight building aides in the district ($160,000) and one administrative assistant in the central office ($25,000). Doughty said cutting the librarians would result in the ultimate closure of libraries at NHS, Norwalk Middle and Main Street schools.

The remaining reductions include:

-- Increasing current athletic participation fees to $200 per sport at the high-school level and $100 at the middle school (a savings of $150,000).

-- Charging an additional fee of $50 per club and co-curricular activity to cover the costs associated with the activity ($100,000).

-- Reducing the current level of athletic and co-curricular contracts by 10 percent ($30,000).

-- Reducing the extended time for seven staff members ($13,000).

"Cutting and eliminating extended time means there will be a reduction in services and support during the summer months and those days prior to the start of school. This reduction will impact class registration, counseling services (and) child find at the early elementary level and other support services," according to information from the district.

-- Reducing and adjusting administrative staffing ($15,000).

Citing the five-year forecast, Doughty said the district should have $900,000 in deficit next year, so the aforementioned cuts and reductions of $943,000 will help be a step toward balancing that figure.

Board president John Lendrum said the district's goal is to balance the budget and given the financial situation, the only way to do that is losing programs and positions.

Doughty said there are some expected retirements and as a result, there could be less RIFs. He said the district could absorb those teaching positions through attrition instead of cutting them. The board is expected to know which teachers might retire about June.

Board member Steve Linder said the $943,000 in cuts and reductions doesn't appear to be much to him.

"But it's a start," he added.

The school board also asked Doughty to look into the potential savings that would be gained if the district closed League Elementary for good. To read a story about that subject, click HERE.




Finally someone who knows the facts. Get ready for you dont care about the kids blogs coming your way


To get that much of a raise, she would have had to go back to school and get her master's PLUS 45 hrs. beyond her masters. Let's assume that the master's degree was 30 hrs. plus the 45 beyond her masters gave her a total of 75 hrs of education. At $500 a semester hour (which is probably on the low side) that would total $37,500. If she got a $31,000 raise as you suggest, she is still $6,000 short. This does not count gas, books, etc. for school.

I stated $500 per sem. hr which is probably low becacuse my son's tuition is way more than that.

former local

How many times did she go back for further education during that time? Most of the time at HER expense! Also, time spent learning the new requirements for special ed students, they are changing all the time. You people are just jealous of people who furthered themselves by furthering their education, because you thought a high school education was plenty!


I'm not jealous of anyone. I have a higher education not just High School. I was wondering how you get $30,000 extra in 10 years. If you furthered yourself and made better for youself that's great. But I still think that the schools need to have a salary cap. If they did then they wouldn't be whining about money now. And did you see how much some were making for LESS THAN 4 hours of work a day? So stop spewing. We're just tired of paying higher taxes for a school that can't keep salaries this large in their budget. Until their is a salary cap or other means, I will vote no on all levies.


This town needs an enema. - The Joker


I saw someone post a comment that willard is growing and would love some new quality families and I couldn't agree more. Keep cutting Norwalk residents, before to long you will have a ghost town.


Out of all these comments...not one was for the music program!!!! Not every child in this town plays sports...we have some very smart children IE FORMAL LOCAL...says you don't see 20/30pics of there well as the band they still put on a uniform and entertain you at every football game just because it's not a football uniform doesn't mean there club is not worth saving...same goes for orchestra they are just as talented and are offered scholarships as well...this town needs to realize that there is more than just sport related events going on...we are made up of more than just FOOTBALL!!! ....maybe we should start pushing no more sports as a threat...and really let's build another's sports related building..well let's build a building for music!!! HUM!!! Doesn't sound as appealing to those football,basketball or baseball parents does it...well the parents of a musically talented and or academically talented child feel the same way about another sports related building.....make the cuts at a higher level..take a pay cut Mr. Superintendent ...CAN YOU AFFORD IT????? if not lower your standards of living like the rest of us middle class family's have to do!!!!

former local

Couldn't agree more!!


Saturday night my daughter, for the third time, sang in the honors choir at Port Clinton high school. It was cool. Not as good as three years ago, but good. One of the things that made me attracted to Norwalk, was the music department. I tried to get my kids into Norwalk about 5 years ago for this and other purposes, but they (Norwalk) didn’t respond. To this day my oldest son wishes he had gone to Norwalk after job shadowing teachers. He said they were awesome, as was the teaching curriculum. But I really wanted my kids in music. Sad to say my daughter, a senior, will the last child in music at our school. In Clyde’s Solo and Ensemble last month, she was hoping to get a solo to improve her fiasco of a performance last year. Last year the piano player quit playing in the middle of her solo exclaiming she was lost in the piece. Several there, including two judges, said it cost my daughter the class 1 rating. The music teacher stated that only one months notice by the upper big wigs in the music system was not enough time for my daughter to prepare for a piece to perform. Pretty sure Norwalk didn’t have that problem. She’s been taking vocal lessons for two years. I’m sure my kid could have handled it. She’s done harder things a lot quicker. But the choir director didn’t give her the chance. So now schools want to do the same thing to groups of kids. Go ahead. There’s enough heroin to supply them. Kids in music are mostly in a class all by themselves. The days of the Monroeville marching band of 07, 08, and 09, the academic challenge team of back then are gone. And now you, Norwalk, want the same. Rebuilding a school system takes years. Like the Browns... Ok, maybe decades. Students of music who take it seriously realize the gift is a gift, and not something to be discarded. I guess they are smarter in many ways than the system.


Im glad to see that all the cities in Ohio are getting their shares of the Ohio Lottery that's suppose to go to the schools.. Oh wait, corruption that's how its been in the mid 70's when they brought the lottery here and everyone has their hands in that cookie jar! Bunch of corrupt politicians is all I have to say about all this BS


And a big Ditto with the Turnpike!


One way that Norwalk could save some money is to thank Ms Goodsite for her time and send her on her way, she's double dipping and that should be a crime. Secondly, do not replace her.

I like the idea that one person had, replace all 3 elementary schools with one new and more energy efficient school equaling less overhead.


1st things 1st. start with doughty's $110,259 salary. if you're telling me he cant make it on 60-80 thousand a year, then your just as crazy as the rest of the morons on here! that's 30-40 thousand savings right there. that's just the start. if the top 20 salaries take a cut at just 10,000 a year that's $200,000 a year. start with the administators first. not last. if a ship goes down the captain doesn't throw others into the water so he can fit in the lifeboat, he goes down with the ship. $110,259 is my pay quadrupled! don't go on with the crap about college educated, because there's nothing wrong with living comfortable, but living extravagant on the taxpayer's dole is total b.s.!

Dr. Information

How about you take a 10,000+ plus cut with your job and then send a check to the school?

So easy for the Monday morning QB's to get on here and say what they would do, when it doesn't effect their pocketbook.

The way I see it, Norwalk has been trying for nearly 5 years now to make cuts. They have cut over 20+ positions and are now looking at cutting more.

The residents wanted this, so don't complain.

Like I stated before, some of my family members in Willard are sitting back laughing. They will welcome anyone from Norwalk as within the next year there will be another 100 or so factory jobs opening up with good pay, great benefits and all the hours you want to work.


IMO, instead of working to build a new $400K sports complex; what about a science and/or math center?

Numerous modern tech employers are looking for communities with just such a potentially educated workforce.

Heck! Citizens might get behind and support something like that!

If something isn't done to stem the bleeding, ultimately the current unsustainable financial dynamic of paying to educate 'em and then watch 'em relocate will continue.

I take no joy in watching my hometown slipping into decay.

Dr. Information

Agree about the sports complex. Its just not in the cards, yet someone is forcing their hand. Norwalk is the hometown to many, even though I don't live there but a few months a year. Sitting back watching business's small and large leaving and watching the finger pointing instead of actually trying to find a fix is mentally decaying itself.


Keep on cutting the teachers and increasing student ratios when M-class and Common Core is being implemented. Better find space for more third grade classes since very few will pass the new EOG testing. I know from personal experience that students in Norwalk are not even close to meeting Common Core expectations. I'm sure the brilliant admins will find a way to fix it instead of investing in good teachers. If you think a teacher doesn't deserve good pay then fill their shoes for awhile.

swiss family

would someone please wake up the whole school board..Please???I know it is only a matter of time before the campaign "for the kids" and "how can you deny them" will be implemented. and I have to say, that makes me sick. The problem is that we do not want to finance more essentials to the schools , for the kids, the truth is , Look around.. how many local jobs either have, or will be losing their jobs here lately, That is the local reality. So why is it that the school board can not see that???

We have all made harsh cuts in the things that we want, so why is it that the schools think that they don't have to?? I notice, along with so many others on here, that the cuts being made are NOT from the top..why???Do we really need any "Vice" anything positions?? do we really need 2 librarians at such an expensive rate??at St Paul's, for many years, they had nuns as librarians..Someone on here told me that librarians need a masters degree?? but as of yet has not proved to me that this was the case.

Now they want to close League Street school, which in my opinion is Not a bad idea... but what about the Benedict school?? what is over that?? I know that is where Mr Doughty has his office, but I am not sure what else is there?? couldn't they relocate whatever is over there into vacant spots in other local school buildings and cut out the cost of Benedict school all together???

I can see the writing on the wall though. I do NOT think that this is a proper time to ask the budget strained citizens to throw more money out for the schools.. especially when they are working on building on and adding a weight room and sports complex....but I will be pro active.. I know that once the levy fails, they will , in retaliation, cut out a lot of busing... so if anyone owns a fleet of buses and has drivers lined up to bus the kids who were dropped by our school board, and I should make a nice living doing so... thanks School board for providing me with a "rosy" future, caused by your desire to punish all of those who did not do as you told them to do....


Again Swiss with the 3/4 paragraphs....moving on...pass...skip...blah bleeping long



Dr. Information

Is your name really speedy gonzalez? If so, slap your mother for me. So what you are saying is teachers do not work and do not deserve to make a living after going to college because you say so? Nothing you posted is factual at all, its opinion based. Lay off the CAPS LOCK, our eyes are bleeding.


Are there any other alternatives? YES! They have transferred the AD to the middle school saving approximately $20,000. To fill the AD position they could move one of the higher paid administrators from the central office to the AD position. The administrator has head coaching experience which is required for the AD. By eliminating the admin. at central office this could save the district approximately $120,000 or so.

If you look at the cuts mentioned at the board meeting, all cuts were going to affect faculty and students. No cuts would affect administrators. I will not vote for any levy until the admin. shows that they are really sincere and do with less as they are asking the students and faculty to do.

Paying $50 for clubs is a big joke. Students just won't join clubs.

As far as is there room for students if they close League. They could move the students to Main Street then move the 6th grade from Main St to the Middle School. If you recall, they used to have 6 - 8 at the Middle School and could do it again.

One last thing...if there is such a need for this levy then why didn't 3 of the board members get on board for the last levy. If the ship is sinking, you try ANY method to keep it from going down, even it's using methods to might not like. When this levy fails, are the 3 members who didn't like the EIT willing to try some other method. I doubt it.

Vote NO on this levy. Reduce the number of high paid administrators to at least show that you are sincere!!!!


Just a simple question....has anyone thought about jobs like Mr Duncan....he still has the same pay he was receiving when he was the principal at the high school....I see him in all the schools...but what does he really do...I've asked yet no REAL explanation....which means it has to be a job that can be dropped...why do we continue to pay Mr. Duncan his old job salary???? And for what


I think Mr. Duncan was who Keystone was referring to. Mr. Duncan has had head coaching experience and is an administrator, both qualities that are required of an athletic director.

What does Mr. Duncan do? That is a good question. He is not qualified to administer testing to the special needs students of which he is to oversee. He has 2 psychologists under him which do the testing. If he is transferred to the AD position, one of the psychologists could be given a small stipend to oversee the program.

For several years, Norwalk had only one psychologist who did the testing and oversaw the program.

Mr. Duncan's position was created for him when he left the HS. Why can't they transfer him to the AD and save the district more than $100,000. The cuts MUST come from the top.

Again, you will probably have a 3-2 vote against transferring Mr. Duncan

Mr. Duncan's contract is up in July. If the board is really serious about making cuts, here is a good way of showing the public that they are listening by transferring him.

Mr. Doughty stated the cuts he has proposed was $935,000, Transferring Mr. Duncan would then save over approx. 1 million dollars. Why would we even need the levy?


@tiger THANK YOU for more info than the average person would know...I knew the job was created for him....again thank you for putting the numbers out there...and I can't agree enough...change his job and his he sits in the back row hoping to not be noticed...I have noticed him since he BROKE his own rules by using a tobacco item at one of our school events..hence his departure as Norwalk highs principal....time for Mr. Duncan to find a different job or a drop in pay....if the kids are his mane focus then he won't mind making what a true teacher makes ( especially those that love there work and have there children's hearts and soles as there only concern) they knew going into teaching it wasn't a lawyers pay but they chose to do it because they want to teach and get those children to LEARN AND THATS A CARING PERSON....all I have ever scene is Mr. Duncan walk around and go from school to school...I don't think teaching kids is truly in his heart....this is the way I feel..others have there opinions


Firstly, I would like to say that if a school system fails, so does the community at large. It is not simply the loss of jobs within the school system itself. Without a good school system there are no new members of the community, which makes our community an unlikely place for new businesses to set up. More jobs lost. As the community continues to fail, so do the businesses that all ready exist. Yet more jobs lost. Slowly, the community we live in and love falls to nothing. I am not saying that budgets are bad, or even that cuts do not need to be made, but the budgets need to be allocated as fairly as possible, from the top of the chain to the bottom. The next point I would like to make; teachers are not overpaid! The numbers they put up here are not made up simply of salary, they include things like insurance, retirement benefits, etc. In my opinion, there is no more noble, important job out there than the one that our educators chose to take on and the amount of money they are paid is irrelevant here. Without teachers there would be no future. Thirdly, sports, music and art programs are much more important that people want to give them credit for. On the field, in gallery, and on the stage is where many kids get to experience success like they have never experienced it before. For many, these activities are what make school worth going to. They are fundamental to the educational and socialization process that takes place in schools every single day. These are the activities that shape who the young people of the world are, and what they will become in the future. I can understand increasing the money it takes to participate in such things, but I will implore people to see just how important these things are. Finally, if you are able VOTE YES! If you are experiencing financial burden, as many people are today, then make an effort in some way to educate yourselves about what is really going on in your communities, and find ways to better it!


4 teachers and 2 librarians are 1/2 the levy money 450,000. I read all this other stuff but in the end that is what the problem is. If all the teachers and librarians and administration take a 2 percent decrease there would be a surplus so instead of asking the public to stand up AGAIN. How about it is their turn. Its for the kids afterall. If my boss said times are tough and we might have to close unless we took a 2 % cut to save of all of our jobs i would. so all you school employees stand up to the plate and save your coworkers jobs. You can do it without us and be the heros


Agree Speedy. If those in leadership don't take cuts it will reflect in a negative fashion with the voters.

Concerned For A...

People talking about cutting sports programs obviously have never had any children in sports. It teaches them dedication, responsibility, how to work together as a team and dicipline. It teaches them how to earn their spot. It teaches them how to compete in healthy competition. Don't get me wrong, education is of number one importance, but seriously? I watched my son during his two a days practices run to the sideline and puke his guts out from heat, and exhaustion, drink some gatorade and proudly jump right back into practice!He played Basketball, football, baseball, and even did track. It tought him hard work and perserverance. It actually kind of stinks that it will cost so much for an athlete to participate in his or her sport of choice. Sports can be part of them earning scholarships to college. Along with acedemic scholarships, this enables kids that wouldn't otherwise be able to afford a college education, to obtain it. To participate in sports students have to maintain a certain GPA to be eligible. Their will be alot of less fortunate children that are very talented athletically that won't be able to participate because their parents can't afford the extra 200 dollars out of their budgets, in turn loosing the possibility of an Athletic Scholarship to aide in paying for education, in turn keeping them in min wage jobs and unable to break the cycle they grew up in! Just my opinion, but I believe that sports are very important for our students that are athletic and choose to be active! My daughter was in Colorguard, and part of one of the best High School bands (BSHS). The kids are always so proud of themselves at the games and their concerts. They work so hard. Cutting music programs could have the same effect as sports. The possible loss of an extra scholarship to help pay for higher education. I don't like giving things to someone who didn't earn it any more than the next person, but in a situation like this, really what is 5 or 10 extra dollars going to hurt? You have to look past the staffs earnings and think about the kids, they deserve the chance at life that they work so hard to obtain.


Re: "People (snip)"

Understand about your desire for sports.

However, being good in sports isn't very good preparation for job competition in the increasingly global economy.

Since it's a matter of public funding, the limited resources (money) should go where it can be best utilized in reading, writing and 'rithmatic.

So, planning on sending your children to college? Where are they going after graduation for a career?