Norwalk schools holding levy meeting

Entire program will last about 45 minutes.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Mar 24, 2014

An explanation of the state of finances of the Norwalk City Schools will be provided at a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. April 1.

The meeting will take place in the high school's performing arts center. Members of the board of education and Superintendent Dennis Doughty will be available to answer questions and update the community members on the proposed levy that is labeled "Five for Five."

The entire program will be completed in about 45 minutes.

Comments

Cliff Cannon

Contango: " Austerity is the only "answer." Really ? Let me understand you. My idea's for 'austerity' start with across the governmental employment board wage & bennie cuts. Then add consolidation of as many governmental functions as possible, topped off with a cut in welfare benefits, so welfare is no longer a 'career' to so many.


Then you tell me my answers for austerity are 'non-starters ' ( Which they are until times get worse ) Then you comeback to 'austerity is the only answer ' So what kind of 'austerity' do you propose ? I eagerly await your reply.

Contango

Re: "So what kind of 'austerity' do you propose ?"

See the subject: Norwalk city school finances.

Mr. Doughty and the board will have to make those decisions.

Your 'proposals' though interesting, are not immediately material to this topic.

As I stated numerous times:

The U.S. (Norwalk, Huron Co., et. al) will either practice fiscal austerity or we will have it thrust upon us at a time not of our choosing and usually at the worst possible time.

Contango

Re: "consolidation of as many governmental functions as possible,"

Great idea!

FDR has similar thoughts. See: "Looking Forward" (1933)

Govt has only expanded exponentially since.

Problem: Bureaucratic turf battles.

Cliff Cannon

" Problem: Bureaucratic turf battles." Always have been and always will be.

In order to move mankind two emotions must always be present: Fear or self interest. ( With the exception, for some of religion moving them: See men who fly plane's into buildings or strap suicide bombs to their body's )

So until things get worse it is only visionary to suggest the draconian proposal's I suggest. ( Which means dealing with what is, not what needs to be.)

So ' what is' in this levy vote, is the need in my opinion to keep funding library's & the arts in particular. So again, a 'yes' vote is my solution to the pressing needs of equipping our children, the best way we can for a increasingly troubled future.

Contango

Re: "Fear or self interest."

On Wall St. it's termed: Fear and greed.

In that particular context, convential wisdom says that fear of loss is the more powerful of the two.

See today's (3/27) NR:

"Huron Co. jobless rate 5th worst in State."

Good luck with passing the levy.

Cliff Cannon

Contango : " Good luck with passing the levy. "

Did I ever tell you what the highlight of my driving career was ? For nine years, I got to be a 'penpal' with a lot of kids. Knowing, that virtually everything I wrote would be forgotten.In an effort to get this idea to sink in, as often as possible I wrote the cliché " Readers are leaders "


Then, when I would go into classes or assembly's so the kids could see their 'penpal' was a real live person. I would say " Readers are what ?" They would answer and then I would often say " I can't hear you " So they would scream " Readers are leaders " !


I know that library's aren't used the way, I used library's as a boy. Still, one can not spend a decade telling kids to read. Then not support this levy,when it's failure means the end of 3 library's.


So I thank-you for wishing the levy luck. Then parphrase what Jimmy Stewart said in " Mr Smith goes to Washington " " Sometimes a 'lost cause' is the only cause worth fighting for "

Contango

Re: "Readers are leaders."

Little argument there.

Assuming those were Norwalk children, what percentage of those "leaders" are part of the Diaspora?

Back in my Chicago suburb, even though they were ALWAYS defeated, I voted to support every singe levy for the local community library.

If Mr. Doughty is putting the school's libraries on the chopping block, perhaps he believes them to be superfluous.

Let them use the Norwalk library.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : Quick question. Since you are always respectful when writing about Denny Doughty. ( Which is as it should be for public figures ) Yet, for example, you ride Mayor Duncan like your a jockey.

Can I assume that either Denny Doughty bought you beer or else let you copy his homework in high school ? :)

Really are you ...

If the levy is going to pass, the public school system needs to keep heading in the direction it is going. Correct? Probably not. Think, kids have a access to free public education. Get them ready for life past their education years, and get them ready for college. When I went to high school, teachers drove older cars for the point in time, and teachers and faculty were there for the desire to help our youth learn. Not for the pay. Then here comes the "their education level, associate... PHD. Great for them. If they want to pursue pay for acquired education level, then become a dean or professor at a collegiate level. Harsh yes. Come on now, our school system is overspent. Unlike the federal government, the public school system does not have a money printing press. There should be a book out there somewhere , " 10 ways to trim waste from the school system." I would bet the first thing would be cutting away at unnecessarily filled positions. Secretaries for secretaries to vice positions... Not cutting the arts. Which brings me to another point. Electronics, (ie; computers and calculators) have taken over the classroom. Laptops for HS students, less teacher student interaction. Calculators, well maybe that is because of the newer levels of math being required. But ask a HS student how much 25 gallons of gasoline at $3.56 per gallon would be without a calculator. Ask them to cross reference a science book about Albert Einstein from the card catalog in the library. Ask those kids to handwrite an essay on a certain subject. Then look at all of the grammar errors, because there was not an autocorrect program installed on the computer. So how can the higher education justify higher paid positions when the kids suffer from lack of teacher student classroom interaction?

swiss family

I have to agree with VerbalKint ... sadly, we are losing jobs , lots of jobs, and all of the jobs that are leaving also depletes the tax base and the available funds to pay more to the schools.

So, we have to be realistic.. and to me, looking at all of the highly paid "Vice" positions, I see that as a waste of tax payers money.I also think that placing it on the ballot time after time, spending the money we give them to educate our kids to the best of their ability, with the money that they have, is another waste of the taxpayers money.I also am not convinced that we need the highly paid , top level that over sees both the high school and the middle school, when the schools are almost back to back.. I also am not convinced ., in the world we live in now, with cell phones and computers, that we need Principals and Vice Principals and all the staff that support them in ever building that we have for schools , when they are all within a 5 mile radius.. I see that as a waste of money too.

As far as losing libraries...I hope that the people that are hanging on to pass the levy for the libraries, they really need to go into a schools library, most books are gone, encyclopedias are dinosaurs, the libraries are full of computers...not books...

I think that with the financial crisis this county and city is in, and money being very, very tight for everyone, it seems ludicrous to me to be planning on building a "sports complex" at the same time you beg for more and more money.. I understand the boosters are supposedly paying for building this complex, but we all know that WE will be paying for the electricity and heat and cooling and maintaining the building, and we also can foresee, in several years when the equipment is outdated and needs better and newer equipment, that it will be put on another levy to get m,ore money for US to pay.

I would like to see the schools run on the money that they actually have.. and any administration that could do that would be a local hero. We have all had to sacrifice and make cuts to live on the money we have, and I think the people that we pay, to run our schools should learn to do the same..in my opinion

neo.rr.com

Yes what a great idea! Let's get rid of the Vice Principals at the middle and high school, and have one Principal be at both schools since they're so close!

Seriously? Having worked in the schools in the past I can tell you that would be the worst decision ever. There are always issues (and you can say it's because kids are horrible these days, but if you put people together for hours upon hours a day there will be problems... just like there is in the workplace) and we need trained people to be there.

Contango

Re: "libraries,"

Question: Has not the web affected the need and scope of libraries?

I recall B.F. Skinner's concept of "teaching machines," i.e. computers.

Aren't taxpayers supporting an ancient Socratic method of teaching in the 21st Century?

What about the idea of more mentors and monitors as opposed to "teachers"?

In private corps., sometimes the word comes down: Cut your dept's budget by 10% or more.

The public sector no longer lives in a protected environment with ever expanding private taxpayer supported budgets.

neo.rr.com

Oh it definitely has, I agree. In college (just graduated last spring) I used resources online for 90% of my papers. There are monitors at the schools, and they do a great job, but at what point do we give up the value of a teacher. Sure I can pull anybody off the street and tell them to read a book to the class, or establish a curriculum that will prepare students for the rest of their lives. But at what cost to we sacrifice the education of the student?

Contango

Re: "I used resources online for 90% of my papers,"

i.e.: There's a lesser need for expensive brick and mortar and staffed libraries.

Monitors and mentors cannot be trained, compensated differently with modified benefits?

The private sector has had to learn to be more efficient in a competitive world, the public sector must learn to take similar actions.

Heck, Korea has tutors making $4M annually:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/20...

Cliff Cannon

" Has not the web affected the need and scope of libraries? " No doubt. ( 'swiss family ' makes a similar point. )

Still, I will never get away from the concept & cliché that " A world class education can found on a bookshelf about 5 feet long "

So here's hoping we always have school library's that encompass every facet of learning as well as students that seek out that 5 foot long bookshelf filled with the works of the masters.

P.S. " Aren't taxpayers supporting an ancient Socratic method of teaching in the 21st Century? " I don't think so. The " Socratic method " As I understand it, is question after question after question after.....

Contango

Re: "I don't think so."

Some would differ:

"We have a 19th-century classroom model in the 21st century."

- Joel Klein, former Chancellor of New York City's Department of Education

http://reason.com/archives/2011/...

Cliff Cannon

" Some would differ: " " Some " have always disagreed with Socrates and his method's. Remember he was put to death for being honest.

Contango

Re: "put to death for being honest."

He committed suicide rather than submit to tyranny, e.g., the current topic of the expensive taxpayer supported public school system.

The private sector has gone through the pains of creating more efficiency; it's WAY past time for the public sector's turn.

If not now, when?

Cliff Cannon

" The private sector has gone through the pains of creating more efficiency; it's WAY past time for the public sector's turn.

If not now, when? "

So I write and suggest pay/bennie cuts for every government employee everywhere, then add consolidation in every government area we can find it, top that off with slashing welfare so it is no longer a 'career' and you write " it is not material to the school levy ". Which makes smile and say " Oh Really ? ".

Because, you know my answer as to " when " for the time is now. Still, since riding the wave of the future---- slashing government salary's---- is not an option in this election. I will vote for the library's as well as art's for they are worth every dime, I/we can contribute to them.

As for Socrates. Thankfully, he had Plato to write for him. So I side with him/them in saying it is the student with their responses to the question's that matters. For it is in that response, I believe that wisdom is found.

Now, I will give their long time antagonist Aristotle his due. When he say's that it is the teacher that matters the most. Because,obviously, his long walking talks with his students, helped to change mankind in ways never thought possible.

Yet, correct me if I am wrong. Aristotle missed this one. When Phillip of Macedon presented his son to Aristotle. Aristotle asked the boy if he was there to " follow the Greek way "


" Follow ?" asked the boy who became known as Alexander the great. " I came to lead ! " So if Aristotle could miss this students easy to see needs. I for one, will never not side with the teacher who " committed suicide rather than submit to tyranny "

So again, I say, bring back the Socratic teaching methods to America, then stand back and watch us grow.

swiss family

"neo" I think the point you are missing is that we need to look at what we are doing.. It is clear that if we keep doing as we are doing right now, we can not afford it.. right??so we either need to increase the money coming in or reduce the money going out or both, correct??Since we can pretty much understand the pattern of kids actions, first through sixth grades , the kids are on their best behavior, yet we have how many Principals and Vice 's to control them .??Maybe it is possible that we have too many watching over these grades, and we can reduce those numbers, and increase the numbers when and where kids start to "find themselves" and act out in rebellion and self expression....At least admit that there is a reason to look into this and make appropriate changes and cuts ..You would be a good member of the school board though, if you have the time..instead of trying to work and look for a feasible solution to real problems that real people are paying for, you immediately lash out at the person with the thought and ideas that are trying to use the money to it's full potential..really, you should consider running if you get the chance..

keystone

For everyone on here who is complaining about low incomes and not having the money for the levy, if the earned income tax had passed, the lower income, retired, and unemployed would have had very little if any tax to pay. The schools would also have had enough money so that there would not have been any cuts and would never have had to ask for another levy.

As far as cutting back on the library, how many students actually use the library. With the use of computers, most research is done on the computer and not books.

@really are you. You are correct about the use of calculators. Students are passing the tests required of them but cannot do the basics. A friend of mine told me that students coming out of high school cannot do the basics without a calculator. He has to deal with these students every day. it is not the fault of the teacher but the system. The teachers are required to teach the test in order for our schools to get a good grade. Blame the federal govt. and the Common Core Curriculum.

As far as getting rid of the "Vices". Mrs. Goodsite is worth every dollar she is making. She is continually getting million dollar grants so that the students will have the computers and equipment needed to pass these tests. No-one else in the system seems to have the time or cares enough to do it.

VerbalKint

lol hilarious, so, Ms. Goodsite is the only person out of dozens/hundreds of teachers/admin with Bachelor/Master degrees who has the intellect to apply for grant funds?

Contango

Re: "if the earned income tax,"

"If"?

Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

And from where would the funds for the EITC have originated?

Now The Rest of...

What other professional gets an automatic raise every year, across the board just for showing up, regardless of performance. The board of education and teachers union will talk about wage freezes and a "slight" increase in benefits payments but always omit the step raises. Until step raise are terminated in the next contract I am one NO VOTE.
I am not anti teacher, I have teachers in my immediate family, I am for cost containment.

kURTje

Permanent cuts must start at the top. If you are asking for money, lead by example.

44846GWP

I just did my income taxes for 2013. Norwalk Schools got enough of my money. I'll be voting NO.

Dr. Information

Remember, it's for the kids.

DontWrestleWithAPig

The assistant superintendent is Dr. Goodsite, not Ms. or Mrs.

Regardless of your feelings on her employment within the district, let's be respectful of her years of academic and research work.

Cliff Cannon

I apologize for not addressing her correctly.(And will right now go change any ' Ms. " I used ) I hope it came through in each commentary by myself of my respect for her and her talents. I hope also it came through that I understand the district is saving a ton of money ( I am guessing $50,000 ) per year by reemploying her and as such it would be in our best interest to reemployee not only her,but all retired educators, because of that saving's

However, the truth of the matter remains that perception guides reality and quite a number of people will automatically vote " No " simply because of the lavishness in 'last lap' reemployement by an educator whose rank merits front page newspaper coverage. Being a 'yes' vote I was simply trying to say I understand and help to get that 'lightening rod' attention to switch from 'no' to 'yes' Again my apology's for anything you ( or worse she ) found offensive.

P.S. In case you did not read this paragraph in particular. I represent it now :
" Because what I know of her is that she an extremely talented driven person who cares deeply about children and is very good at what she does. So it pains me to even mention her."

NWalk99

Voting yes would be great - if every time the school saved a ton of money - they divided it up and returned it to the tax payers. However, that's not the case...for every one dollar they save - they turn around and spend two dollars. I'd certainly be up for voting if there was a positive ROI, but, that's obviously not how this will play out.

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