Shepaug plants the seed for agriscience
The future looks bright for Shepaug Valley School becoming a site for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy.
If accomplished, Region 12 wouldbe host for the 20th agriscience academy in the state.
Last week, the state legislature’s special session passed a schools construction bill and, with it, an amendment that supports Region 12’s application for the agriscience program.
“It’s a first step,” said Superintendent of Schools Pat Cosentino. “In (a few) days, the governor signs the bill, we hope. Currently, we’re sending out application to the state Board of Education.”
“We’re very excited. Thrilled,” she added. “And very thankful to (state) Rep. (Arthur) O’Neill and the other legislators who supported us.”
A referendum is scheduled Sept. 15 in the region’s three towns - Washington, Bridgewater and Roxbury - to approve funding the project.
If th eproposal were to pass the voters’ scrutiny and results are submitted to the state Board of Education by Nov. 15, the project should be a shoo-in.
O’Neill said having Region 12 host an agriscience STEM program is “something the state wants them to do.”
“There is widespread support for this in the legislature,” he said said. “The (agriscience) region that surrounds Shepaug is the largest in the state and, every year, Nonnewaug High School has to turn away students who want to enroll in its agriscience program because of a lack of space.”
The Region 12 Board of Education approved the educational specifications for the architectural plans in June.
The Kaestle Boos architectural firm is working on preliminary plan sketches and cost estimates. The firm will present the sketches and cost analysis July 13 at a Board of Education meeting at Shepaug Valley School.
Cosentino said despite the fact the legislature did not take up the 85 percent to 90 percent reimbursement proposed for construction of the necessary additions to the high school, she hopes the region would receive 80 percent reimbursement as “that’s the going rate.”