Elementary school redistricting plans to be discussed in Berlin

Published on Sunday, 10 December 2017 21:57
Written by Charles Paullin

Staff Writer

BERLIN - The Board of Education tonight is expected to discuss three proposals for studying how to redistrict the town’s elementary schools.

“They’ll talk about (the proposals) as a full board,” said School Superintendent David Erwin, after a subcommittee has reviewed the proposals and initiated the plan.

The school district is set to lose about $900,000 in Education Cost Sharing funds from the previous year, thanks to a series of cuts imposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy on Nov. 17.

The district was initially set to lose over $300,000 when the legislature passed the budget in late October, 117 days after its usual July 1 adoption date. Town Finance Director Kevin Delaney said on Tuesday the numbers may not be final.

Erwin said he doesn’t think the board will decide on a proposal Monday, but rather discuss when it would like to go forward with a study.

He said the board could either direct the district to conduct the study this year, if funds can be freed from an available account as the district didn’t budget for it, or decide to conduct it in Fiscal Year 2019 with money out of that year’s budget.

From 2008 to 2017, the district has seen enrollment drop at the three elementary schools combined by 242 students, from 1,450 to 1,208. The whole district has seen a drop of 442 students, from 2008 to 2017.

In 2017, Griswold Elementary School had 505 students, Willard Elementary School had 492 and Hubbard Elementary School had 211.

The board discussed closing Hubbard earlier this year, but took no action, not having done a study of the ramifications.

In any event, Erwin said no changes should come this year or possibly next, as the board would probably like to do conduct research on the firms submitting the proposals before choosing one. Bus routes, mobile classrooms and more would need to be discussed, he added.

The three proposals are from Friar Architecture Inc., of Farmington, for $9,500; the New England School Development Council, of Marlborough, Mass., for $9,720; and Milone & MacBroom, of Cheshire, for $24,750.

The New England School Development Council listed Simsbury, Hebron, Easton, Redding and Region 9 as Connecticut districts it has served before.

Milone & MacBroom listed 16 districts in Connecticut, including Glastonbury, Vernon and Newtown. Milone & McBroom said its study would take three to four months.

“I think this board is trying to be proactive as they possibly can,” said Erwin.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Berlin High School Amphitheater, 139 Patterson Way.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or cpaullin@centralctcommunications.com. On Twitter: @CPaullinNBH.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Sunday, 10 December 2017 21:57. Updated: Sunday, 10 December 2017 22:00.