Ponders Region 12's future
To the Editor:
In the last year, much time and effort has been spent constructing the case for a consolidated elementary school in Washington.
The region has spent close to $50,000 on architects and consultants to build their case.
Consider we currently have the top two elementary schools in our district resource group (DRG). According to the school performance index of the state Department of Education, Burnham in Bridgewater has an index of 93.6 and Booth in Roxbury has an index of 93.4.
This means Burnham is first out of the 39 elementary schools in our DRG. In fact Burnham and Booth are in the top 5 percent of 600 Connecticut public elementary schools.
When Shepaug Valley High School is compared to other high schools in our DRG, it is last with an index of 80.6.
When compared to all the high schools in the state, it ranks 76th in the list of 188 public high schools.
We have a lower school performance index than all the neighboring public high schools in the area -- Brookfield (90.9), Litchfield (88.9), Region 15 (88.6), New Fairfield (87.1), Region 14 (84.8), New Milford (83.2), and Wamogo (82.1).
The current student forecast for school year 2022-23 also shows the current school year (2012-13) student population.
The 10-year comparison forecasts the student population to decrease by 31 percent in the elementary and middle schools. However, this Region 12 forecast also shows a decrease of 47 percent for the high school.
The region needs to focus its attention on improving the high school so we can keep our students in the system.
Region 12 has important decisions to make regarding the future.
Should the region continue its fixation on consolidating elementary schools or should it fix the Shepaug high school to be competitive with other schools in the area?
If no compromise can be reached in the region, the most economical approach is to leave the middle and high school business entirely.
This would mean paying tuition for our older students to attend the surrounding school districts.