Closing a school is never easy, and it was no exception in Haddam-Killingworth Tuesday night. The school board presented their budget, and the elementary school has been eliminated.
But there were small signs of hope across the landscape, from a “save our school” poster across from the Haddam Elementary school, to the t-shirts on the backs of parents and students in the middle school.
Chairperson of the Board of Education Joanne Nesti says with declining enrollment and diminishing state aid, the school board forced to make tough decisions.
Nesti said, “Now if you don’t have that 5th building it’s one less roof, you have to replace, it’s one less boiler that you have to replace, and on and on with all of the capital costs.”
They will reconfigure the grades combining fourth grade in with the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders, something parents aren’t happy about. Jeff Sturges is not sure having the young kids in with the old will work.
Sturges said, “Can we fit the kids in the building? Yes you can fit the kids in the building physically. But then try and operate the school as an function, they haven’t completed the planning for that yet. There is no Plan B if it doesn’t work. “
It’s an emotional numbers battle that more and more towns and cities are facing across the state. It’s not easy for the students the parents and the leaders on the Board of Education. But the money just isn’t there.