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Board of Education Will Strive to Keep Sandy Hook Families Together

The board passed a resolution Tuesday night to "make every effort" to avoid redistricting.

 

At Tuesday night's meeting, the Newtown Board of Education voted to approve a resolution declaring it would "make every effort" to keep redistricting from ever separating the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The move came, at least in part, as a response to overwhelming opposition to the idea of redistricting at Sunday afternoon's public meeting to discuss the fate of the Sandy Hook building. In that meeting, numerous residents -- including those at an impasse about whether or not to return to the school after the December shootings -- came to a near-consensus: don't ever pull the Sandy Hook families apart. And the board agreed.

"Teachers feel this way, families feel this way and we as aboard feel this way," said Board of Education chair Debbie Leidlein before the unanimous vote.

The measure read in part:

"Be it Resolved that the Newtown Board of Education will make every effort to honor the expressed desire of the families in the Sandy Hook Elementary School District and others in the Town of Newtown by committing to minimize or, preferably, avoid entirely any redistricting of the Sandy Hook Elementary School District as we determine how we will provide an environment in Newtown that is as safe and nurturing as the Chalk Hill School facility in Monroe to which we have been able to send them in the interim."

Before the vote, Board of Education member John Vouros asked if more decisive language might be preferable.

"Everybody on this board is completely committed to keeping the Sandy Hook School families together," said Leidlein. "But we cannot predict that something might occur that's out of our control that would not allow us to do that."

Other town officials have expressed similar sentiments. Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra told reporters she would oppose redistricting as much as she could within her role as an individual, but not necessarily as a representative of the government.

"It would not be my opinion to advance redistricting," she said after Sunday's meeting. "I can tell you as a former educator, I am absolutely passionate about neighborhood schools, and I think the model we have here comes the closest to replicating that."

Jodi Markowsky January 16, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Thank you!!!!! I am so glad you listened to us on Sunday. That is why I got up to say something, I wanted our SHS parent voice to be heard. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!
Paul Alexander January 16, 2013 at 05:23 PM
This is a noble goal…and I hope it can be achieved. Neighborhood schools are preferable. But is anyone considering the cost of this goal? Is the cost reasonable or a budget buster? And unless you get a check from the CT General Assembly or the US Congress specifically to address the costs associated with making the Newtown school system whole, then the burden will fall on the local taxpayers. The BOE and the BOS have a fiduciary duty to not overspend and over burden the taxpayers and the “cost” of this resolution needs to be considered carefully. Is anyone aware of any CT State or US representative lobbying for an earmark to rebuild SHES if that is the path chosen?
NewtownRocks January 16, 2013 at 09:14 PM
Please define overspend? It means different things to different people, especially when the spending is considered an investment. Our community has a fiduciary responsibility to the children of Sandy Hook School and whether you like it or not, it is probalby going to cost everyone in Newtown more money in taxes short term regardless of the path chosen. The board of ed does not have a fiduciary responsibilty to the tax payer. They have a responsibilty to work towards educating our children. We vote on the budget which is now bifurcated. Feel free to vote no on the education part if you think there is over spending. If you want to live where it is cheap with low taxes then Connecticut is a bad choice for you.
Tony January 16, 2013 at 09:47 PM
Nothing is ever short-term in this town and if it is going to cost the tax payers more $ then we all need to vote on the options for Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook is part of Newtown and we need to understand the impact to the entire school system in Newtown. We should also demand that the $10MM+ be used to help fund the options for Sandy Hook. I also believe that the Super is trying to get special funding from the Federal Govt. I hope she succeeds.
NewtownRocks January 16, 2013 at 11:00 PM
What about the concept of representative government? You know each vote costs money. Our democracy rules are for the most part based on representative government?
Mary January 17, 2013 at 02:58 AM
The Sandy Hook parents and students deserve a school in their community, no matter what it costs.
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com January 17, 2013 at 09:43 PM
We do need to continue to look at this holistically. We should not be looking at the closing of any school at this point. All our children and parents have been impacted we need saftey and stability. We should also keep in mind decisions which have been made over an extended time period as far as our long range plan of development.

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