Titans and Trojans are on same team when it comes to Wallingford’s future

Education

Some parents and students in Wallingford are expected to let their opinions fly at a Board of Education meeting Monday night as the district is looking at combining schools.

In Wallingford, you pick a side. the Sheehan Titans or the Lyman Hall Trojans.

“I know the rivalry has always been great,” said Sheehan Alumnus Kim Reutenauer.  She graduated from Sheehan High School and today dropped off her daughter, Riley at Moran Middle School. 

Across town, Lyman Hall graduate and mom, Courtney Walton, has three kids in the school system.

“I’d be sad to think that your Thanksgiving day. Your powder puff and your football games between Lyman Hall and Sheehan would not be there anymore,” said Walton.

Walton and Reutenauer might root for different teams come game day, but they’re on the same team when it comes to the future of Wallingford schools.  Right now the Board of Education, has six different options on how to save money and upgrade the district. 

Two of those options include some big merges like the middle schools and/or the high schools.

“It’s just going to be too large of a group to excel and succeed in the education world,” said Reutenauer.

Walton said, “It’s scary just to think about them being bussed to the other side of town and what it will mean for us.”

Nearly 2,000 students and other parents agree with them. A petition has been circulating the town already.  One person who hasn’t signed it is Robert Burghardt.

“I was in the senior class that got split in half. Half of my friends went to Sheehan. Half of my friends went to Lyman Hall and it wasn’t fun,” said Burghardt.
  

He says when he hears enrollment is declining and aging buildings need more money for maintenance.  He would like to see the town save money and have the high schools join.

“”I think we’re better off with one school. I think the town is better off with one school,” said Burghardt.

The Wallingford Superintendent Sal Menzo said he did not have any time for an interview with News 8’s Stephanie Simoni today, but sent the statement that he sent to parents.

Here’s part of it:

“There are several key points that I would like to bring to your attention as related to this discussion.

  1. This study was conducted based on recommendations in the Town’s Plan for Conservation and Development for the District to conduct a facilities master plan.

  1. This initial study is a very high level study.  The alternatives are preliminary and intended to provide a general understanding of whether the underlying concept meets the District’s educational and operational objectives.  Any of the alternatives involving construction projects would need further study and planning to develop educational specifications and design, and to consider phasing and implementation.  Through that refinement process, variations on an alternative may develop and more specific educational, enrollment and financial impacts can be examined.

Wallingford Public Schools Facility Study
 

  1. Any option chosen, with the exception of option #1, would not realistically occur for 5 years due to the following:

  • A second level of study needs to be conducted

  • Approval by Town Council to move forward with any plan is needed

  • An architect/design firm needs to be hired

  • Educational specifications need to be developed

  • Initial review by local and state authorities would need to be conducted

  • Town Council would need to officially approve project funding

  • Final plans would need to be submitted to state for official approval

  • Final State authorization would need to be to start work

  1. The goal of tonight is to narrow the options down to ones that the Board of Education can accept as potential solutions moving forward.  Again, if the Board of Education decides to wait on finalizing those options until next month, that is not an issue with the consultants’ contract.  There is no additional expense if the Board of Education decides to wait.

  1. Once the options are narrowed, a survey from the consultants will be disseminated to the school and greater Wallingford Community.

  1. The survey results will be shared with the Town Council with the intended outcome being the Town Council would support the Board of Education moving forward with a second level (deeper dive) study.

  1. If the Town Council supports the second level study, the Board of Education would seek additional outside services.

  1. That report and more detailed findings would be then shared with the Board of Education and Town Council for next steps.

Throughout this process, opportunities for community and staff input will be provided.  Needless to say, any facility project will take time and is not a sprint but rather a marathon.  With that said, that is a good thing in that with time and due diligence there is greater likelihood for the most favorable outcome for students and staff.”

The meeting is scheduled for tonight at Lyman Hall high school at 6:00PM.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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