Norwalk considering proposal to close League Elementary

From ‘School of Promise' and 'High Progress' to school on chopping block?
Cary Ashby
Feb 16, 2014

The Norwalk City Schools board of education on Tuesday approved $943,000 worth of cuts that would go into effect if the emergency operating levy on the May 6 ballot fails.

Discussion on Tuesday also involved the potential closing of League Elementary.

Board member Steve Linder recommended closing League to save the district more money and spreading those teachers throughout the district. At the board’s request, Superintendent Dennis Doughty will gather information on the cost analysis of closing League and also maintaining it.

Currently, League houses 208 fourth-graders and next year, the district expects to have 226.

“I don’t want to lay anybody off if we don’t have to,” Linder said.

League is only one of 10 state schools to receive School of Promise and High Progress honors. Only 37 schools in Ohio have been named High Progress Schools of Honor. The schools had to be a Title I building with a minimum of 40 percent of its students being eligible for free or reduced meals.

The Ohio Department of Education notified League Principal Adam Kreischer about the honor in December.

“What a wonderful job by a hard working group,” Doughty said to the teachers who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Many of the teachers wore long-sleeve T-shirts with the League logo on the front. On the back were the words “Together Enriching All Minds.”

“High Progress Schools of Honor establish an educational goal for their students and continue to pursue and exceed that goal each year. The principals, teachers, parents and community provide a high-quality education and believe that children can overcome significant challenges and that they can learn,” said Richard Ross, the state superintendent of public instruction, in a prepared statement.

Comments

Ehovemom

This doesn't seem to make any sense number-wise. The school board has decided to go to grade level schools instead of neighborhood schools which means all 226 students would need to move to the same building. Even with 30 in a classroom, do we have a building with 7-8 empty classrooms?

Ehovemom

I just want to say that I do support the levy proposal that is on the May ballot. I don't think the school board is making idle threats. The costs of running the schools are going up just like everything else. I am sure they have record heating bills this year (like everyone else). The state mandates what they Have to Have and the cuts they are listing will be devastating to the needs of the students. Take time to read the details of the levy. Please do not make our students suffer and do without necessary learning (such as libraries in the schools) when they need the best education possible to get ready for future jobs.

Estrella Damm

So does Linder want to put 2 classrooms of fourth graders on the stage at the Ernhausen Center at the high school with a dividing wall on the stage, 2 more classrooms on the stage at the main street school, a class in the library at Maplehurst, they could put two more classes on the visitor side stage of the middle school gym, that leaves two more classrooms of fourth graders to disperse through the open buildings, maybe a trailer or two in the back lot at Pleasant.

Estrella Damm

Oh wait, just though of a different idea, how about closing Benedict and not having the extra administration salary there.

determined

You are so right Estrella Damn, we were told when they closed that school it wasn't viable to fix up and use. Now they are using this tactic to get people to run in fear and vote for the levy.. Always some fear tactic, but this has to be one of the all time lows. Makes no sense at all..wow is all I can think of.

Whitebuffalo

How's that "grade level school" system that buses kids all over town working out now? They should have left the neighborhood system alone. They don't need more money. They just need to use common sense.

Estrella Damm

When they used a the word to describe the new system, they left off four letters off the end. Cluster_ _ _ _.

Contango

Re: "$943,000 worth of cuts that would go into effect if the emergency operating levy on the May 6 ballot fails."

Will the 'threat' be effective in the passage of the levy?

J Cooper

What does the assistant superintendent coming back as a "consulate cost us? Just vote NO.

Contango

According to the NR this morning, it's official: Uptown Cafe is kaput.

Norwalk is increasingly becoming a "bedroom community," composed of many living on fixed, mostly static incomes, who can no longer afford to finance the rising costs associated with publicly provided benefits and services.

Either taxes will need to be increased, or the level and scope of benefits and services will need to be curtailed.

Are there any other alternatives to these two choices?

WASP71

IRS shut him down for non payment of taxes. Joe Nagy also screwed the guys over that were going to buy the Mill Street Bistro. He took all their ideas and opened it up as a sports bar. Different theme, same lousy owner and food I'm sure.

Contango

UC: Good pizza, good service. Regardless of the reason: Another one bites the dust.

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee" - John Donne

methodman

For whom the bell tolls, time marches on. -Metallica

keystone

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!!!!

Ehovemom

When Uptown Café lost their original cook - the food went down. I know he had to let him go, but we went back 2-3 times after that and the food was either burnt or undercooked. Quality just wasn't there. And there are too many other choices to give them anymore chances. Norwalk can support another restaurant, especially a causal dining facility like this. It would be nice to have one that did not have a pizza-sub theme. I remember when Uptown had amazing burgers. Something like that.

yogi bear

What perfect timing. Just after announcing how great League is doing, tell the voters it might need to be closed. HMMMMM. In the print edition of this story about the projected cuts, Doughty said they would eliminate 2 librarian positions at a savings of $150,000. Salary of a librarian is $75,000?

keystone

If they are at the top of the pay scale that is probably close to being correct. Does one of the librarians include the principal at League who is getting paid as a part-time librarian at League.

webflowerz1

well its in a bad location for one.. it would be better to improve the maplehurst school which in my opinion is the best of the elementary schools in norwalk

Whoopball

It looks like the bullies aren't just on the playground. This strategy from the board to threaten and bully voters is the least likely one to garner support for a levy. There is no doubt that education holds the key to our future but the current leadership is so lacking in creativity and sophistication they can't come up with an energizing vision for what Norwalk's schools could be. Instead they rely on threats of how much worse they will become. Unfortunately that will probably be a self fulfilling prophesy.

former local

I would say lets cut some of the sports programs and save money that way, but then everyone would raise hell. Afterall, Norwalk is small town America and lives for it's high school sports programs!!

swiss family

if you take away the anger, which I believe is justified here, there are some good suggestions and ideas coming out on here

They said, that taking away 2 librarians would save the schools?? 75,000.00 for a librarian???this is exactly why no one trusts the school system in town.. I would suggest that everyone get a list of the teachers, administrators , and other staff, then go to ...buckeyeinstitute.org... you can see anyone's salary... then look at our schools and administration and see where our money is being wasted.

I am grateful that they are NOT going after busing when the levy fails..thank you for that... but you still need to look at administration costs, and the need to heat and provide everything that is needed to keep Benedict school open...wouldn't it be better if the Superintendent was inside a school??

I do not know how the citizens can afford anymore money for the schools.. If you haven't lost your job yet, you at least see how unpredictable all jobs are locally..The school will have to live within it's means... like everyone else.

Ehovemom

A librarian is a position that requires a master's degree. Do you know how much that costs in student loans? It is sad that we live in a country where lawyers expect to start at $75,000 a year and a librarian earns that at the top of the pay scale. And I am just guessing that the cost includes benefits so subtract at least $15,000 for that and they are earning $60,000 at the top of the pay scale.

You cannot expect people to work for nothing. Especially if you want people who are trained in their position. Librarians are not volunteers. They are highly educated people who have the responsibility to build a collection of materials (books and technology) that will aid our students in acquiring the skills for competing for future jobs. It is not a job for a parent volunteer. I would suggest you compare salaries with other school librarians across the state and put their salary in perspective.

We can't just hire new school employees every year so they start at the bottom of the pay scale.

BrendanandBryce

God forbid our teachers and administration make money… Is it jealousy or do you think everyone should make $10.00 an hour? Schools cost money to run. Teachers cost money to teach. Its important to have the best education so that these students can go on and maybe create jobs for others.

It is easy to see why businesses are closing down and getting out of town. If I owned a business in Norwalk, I would do the same. The people do not want to have a better community, you want to bring people down to feel better about yourself. Bad school system will create bad students and a poor workforce. Drugs and violence are up in Norwalk and you can see why.

Vote for the levy, there is no threats. Its communication. They are telling you up front what will have to be cut out of the budget. Otherwise you would complain about not knowing what you are voting for or against. Communicating does not equal a threat it equals a more informed voter.

Dr. Information

Hey off all else fails, jobs are opening up in willard and they would gladly accept new students. Sad to see my hometown falling apart but with relatives in willard, that may be the area where people start flocking to.

Really are you ...

Good leaders lead by example, how about chopping away at some administration jobs? How about shutting down Benedict School? Put a few administration people in each school building. Communicate through email, CCTV, or Skype. Free public education.SMH.

kURTje

Permanent cuts should always start with leadership. Set an example.

ThomasJefferson

@Keystone-What principal are you referring to? Are you certain of that? Library aides and librarians are normally part of different unions and aide jobs normally have to be posted and bid on. Ehovemom-A masters degree is not required to be a school librarian, and I doubt if the amount mentioned referred to benefits. If a teacher/librarian is earning that, they have been in the system a long long time, but there are those earning that much. It doesn't make any sense to house the board office on Benedict. It is in terrible condition, and has to cost a fortune to maintain and heat.

Lawyerintraining

My 2cents sooooooo happy my kids are in high school because after the whole revamping of what grade goes where....I'm sure I would be just as confused as the kids are....and wonder which school do I go to today....and those parents with kids like mine only a grade or 2 difference..but they have to drive from one side of town then back across to the other side of town kids everywhere....I'm still in favor of going to the school in your district...but that is not my worries any more...I pass the torch down to some other parent ripping there hair out and trying to figure out a schedule or a sitter with in there school district (where ever that may be)...good luck future ???? Elementary students...I feel your pain...and oh so happy I have moved up the school scale

lugnut2511

If Norwalk's plan on shutting schools down and having to lay off teachers ( which I certainly hope doesn't have to happen ) I will be looking for a decrease in the school taxes I'm paying for now. I'm a believer in an education, but don't try to take from the citizens to fatten the pockets for later use.

spoiled3

More instablity for our young cildren in this community. This is the exact opposite of what the youth of today need! Sure makes me all the more happy about our choice to pull our children out of this school system and start homeschooling them.