A bombshell decision came down by Hamden’s Board of Education Thursday night as the board voted unanimously to close two elementary schools and take back the building of a third.
Parents, students and teachers packed the auditorium of Hamden Middle School as the board announced their plans for redistricting.
The reaction was emotional after the board voted to close Shepard Glen Elementary and Church Street Elementary as well as take back the building currently used by Wintergreen Magnet School.
The town owns the building that houses 630 Wintergreen students.
The district said they had no choice but to move forward with redistricting in the face of declining enrollment and diminished funding from the state and federal government. The board said there was no right or easy decision to be made, but they had to do something for the future of the district.
“Finding solutions so we don’t have to cut programming and curriculum,” board member Melissa Kaplan said. “So we can have socially responsible schools that are racially balanced and have economic parity while having greater facilities for special education students.”
Many parents, students and teachers left Thursday night’s meeting in dismay. Thomas Figlar has three kids who go to Wintergreen magnet school, including a son with ADHD and anxiety. He says he feels as if he has been forgotten by the town.
“It is just so frustrating, the Mayor did not even come for a decision this big,” Figlar said. “ I want the town council to know that they will lose votes in the next election because of the sheer number of people affected – hundreds.”
Kerim Hebert is a fourth grader at Wintergreen Magnet School. He said he’s deeply saddened to be leaving the school he loves so dearly.
“Wintergreen is an amazing school with amazing programs and teachers,” Hebert said. “We have arts and dance and all kinds of interesting classes. I really hope we can save our building.”
This decision now goes to the town council for a vote. That vote has not been scheduled.