Board of Ed: 'Is consultant worth the cost?'
Updated 10:33 am, Monday, September 9, 2013
There is apt to be an uproar Tuesday when the New Milford Board of Education holds its first meeting of the new school year.
Board members David Lawson and Bill Wellman are opposed to a proposal to spend $85,000 for a temporary administrative position to gather data related to the possible closing of John Pettibone School and reconfiguration of grades within the school district.
"If we are to give a look at all the information we put together regarding closing the school in 2014-15, we need another person onboard in central office," Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote told the board's operations subcommittee Tuesday.
"We just hired three new administrators," Lawson countered, noting the addition of three part-time positions totalling one and half-positions. "If data has to be gathered, it should be done by someone already inhouse."
"We've already spent $50,000 for a study to determine if a school has to be closed," he added, "when we knew the student population was shrinking. Now you want us to spend $85,000 more to hire a consultant?"
Lawson and Wellman agreed before any more spending occurs a public hearing must be held to get parent and resident input on the proposed district changes.
"I would like to invite public input," Lawson said. "I think it is a critical piece we need in this equation."
"I think we're rushing things talking about hiring a consultant," Wellman added. "The next step should be holding the public hearing."
In a 3 to 1 vote, the operations subcommittee decided to pass the question of hiring a consultant on to the entire education board.
The question will be discussed and possibly acted on Tuesday.
"The discussion did come up in the facilities study committee with overall agreement that a consultant would be necessary to put information together," board chairwoman Wendy Faulenbach said.
A concern in closing Pettibone and reconfiguring grades at Sarah Noble intermediate and Schaghticoke middle schools in 2014-15 is a "bubble" of growth in student population numbers anticipated for that school year.
The Board of Education will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the library/media center at Sarah Noble Intermediate School, located along Sunny Valley Road..