Public to have its say on schools' future
Published 10:44 am, Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Residents will soon get their chance to offer their views on possible changes in the New Milford school district.
A public hearing is scheduled Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Sarah Noble Intermediate School library-media center.
The findings of the town's school facilities committee on proposed changes are available on the town website for review.
All Star Transportation is expected to have data ready by the hearing about how route changes due to new school assignments could affect students in outlying areas.
The Board of Educaiton voted, 5-4, Tuesday against hiring a consultant to compile data deemed necessary to make a decision on potentially closing John Pettibone School, reconfiguring grades and redistricting in the 2014-15 school year.
Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote had proposed hiring a consultant for up to an $85,000 salary if, she said, the board would want to move forward in the next school year.
"I won't be here after the November elections but you're going to have to move forward with closing a school," said board member Tom McSherry. "It's unavoidable given the (student population) projections."
The school year 2015-16 is the apparent alternative for making changes.
Paddyfote said her administrative team could compile the information required if that were to be the targeted school year.
Enrollment projections show a sharp decline in student population over the next nine years, with the pre-K to third grades affected the most.
Northville and Pettibone are projected to have the most dramatic declines.
Board members are waiting for public input and again consider the findings of the facilities subcommittee before deciding if and when to make changes.
The board was joined Tuesday by two new members, Republicans Angie Chastain and John Spatola. They are filling seats for the remainder of this term, ending Nov. 30, vacated by Tom Brant and Dan Nichols.
Both Chastain and Spatola are running for board seats in the November election.