In the face of declining enrollment and dwindling funding from the state and federal government, Wallingford is looking to cut costs. There are several proposals on the table up for discussion, including merging the town’s two middle schools, Dag and Moran, or merging the district’s two high schools, Sheehan and Lyman Hall.
Students stood up and spoke strongly at Monday’s meeting, voicing their concerns.
“I don’t want any schools to merge,” Drew Benard told News 8. “Two middle schools, two high schools, all the way. I am strongly against it.”
Benard is a junior at Lyman Hall High School. He says he fears if the high schools merge into one, students like himself would fall through the cracks.
“It’s really important for students that they get the individual attention they need,” Benard added. “I think that would just not be the case in a big high school.”
Jerry Lombardo is a teacher in another town that has faced redistricting over the years.
“What comes to mind is overcrowded classrooms,” Lombardo said. “To me, you have to understand it cuts a big hole with the children who learn in so many different aspects.”
Others believe consolidating the schools would be a fiscally responsible move that would open the door for additional resources and new technology in classrooms.
Marianne Maloney recently retired and believes restructuring the schools would be a benefit to many families.
“I think it’s a great idea as far as taxes,” Maloney said. “I think it would help a lot, but I know everyone has their own opinion.”
A proposal is also on the table for no changes to the schools in the district. The teacher’s union is pushing for that option.
“A lot of teachers would lose their jobs and I know a lot of teachers who are very against it as well,” Benard added. “For me to think a lot of the teachers I have now would be the ones to lose their jobs because they haven’t been tenured or teaching more than five years.”
If schools were to merge, the plans would not be implemented for at least five years. That’s the amount the time it would take to study the plans and vote on them.