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Norwalk school board calls urgent community meeting

Tom Jackson • Nov 21, 2013 at 5:30 PM

“I’d love to fill that place up,” superintendent Dennis Doughty said. “It’s going to take that kind of urgency.”

Norwalk voters, who haven’t approved an operating school levy since 1991, rejected another levy proposal earlier this month.

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WHAT: Norwalk Schools finance meeting for community

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11

WHERE: Fisher-Titus Medical Center’s Learning Center

The district has to determine where to make $879,000 in cuts to avoid deficit spending next year. Doughty said the possible cuts will be outlined at a Dec. 11 meeting, which comes the night after the next school board meeting.

The number of teachers in the district has dropped from 206 in 2009 to 182 today. The district has made cuts for five years now, and employees have gone without pay raises for four years, Doughty said.

Further cuts in staffing and programs will be the only way to reach the $879,000 figure, he said.

Doughty hopes the community can provide suggestions on where to find new revenue, and he said he’s open to seeking more grants and finding nontraditional sources of income.

Also Tuesday, the board, meeting at the high school, accepted the retirement of Kenneth France, effective Dec. 31. France told the board he began his career in 1979 at River Valley Schools in Marion County. The audience applauded France after the board’s president, Janet Broz, commended him for his hard work and conscientious approach to the job.

Also at the meeting, Doughty and Dustin Brown, the director of support services, outlined plans to spend up to $185,000 to buy a new chiller and overhaul an existing chiller for the high school’s heating and cooling system.

Brown said the two existing chillers, which provide most of the cooling for the building, have two compressors apiece, two in each unit. One compressor failed in September and another in October, and the district faces a $74,000 bill to fix the two, with no guarantee that other compressors might not fail soon.

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