SOUTHINGTON - A feasibility study for renovations at Flanders Elementary School and Kelley Elementary School was conducted recently by Milone & MacBroom, which provided many suggestions for local education leaders including possible consolidation.
Board of Education Chairman Brian Goralski said that Rebecca Augur, principal planner and associate with Milone & MacBroom, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the results of the “Southington Public Schools Feasibility Study” at the June 6 Board of Education meeting. The presentation discussed the utilization of elementary schools, enrollment projections, alternatives for future planning and the feasibility of those alternatives. Flanders and Kelley were identified as key targets for renovations.
Goralski said neither Flanders or Kelley had been renovated since they were built in 1966. However, the study found that local elementary schools were below the 90% seat capacity recommended by the state before renovations could be approved. Flanders is using 286 out of 377 available seats or 75.9% utilization. Kelley is using 289 out of 404 available seats, putting the school at 71.6% utilization.
One of the suggestions floated by the study was to consolidate the schools, closing Flanders School and adding 100 students to Kelley Elementary – getting it to the 90% utilization threshold.
However, Goralski said no definite plans had been made to close the school. The Board of Education has not endorsed any particular plan.
“No board member has made any decision about choosing one recommendation or another,” he said. “At the end of the day, we will have to have a discussion about what will be best for the community. We will probably have a lot more discussions in August and September with the Board of Finance and the Town Council. Fiscal responsibility has to be a part of the discussion.”
Goralski said the Board of Education does not have public hearings and that those would have to occur at the discretion of either the Town Council or Board of Finance.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.