Schools

We don’t just cover the Board of Education and issues affecting New Canaan Public Schools parents, including testing mandates and teacher evaluations, new hires in the district and programs in our schools—we also celebrate students and teacher achievements and spotlight outstanding work at all levels.

Recent Articles

‘We Will Have To Make Some Hard Decisions’: District Officials Address $1 Million Reduction to Budget Request

The Board of Education in proposing its original 2.76 percent operating budget increase already had factored in year-over-year reductions in spending on employee benefits, contracted services and supplies, officials said last week. Now that the district is faced with, at most, a 1.6 percent operating increase for next year—following a $1 million reduction to its $88.6 million proposal by the Board of Finance—the schools will “have to look at everything,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Town Council at their March 15 regular meeting. Since the superintendent’s own original proposed budget increase, the school board went “through the process initially of reducing and making some tough choices about initiatives and programs coming in, so we have to get back to the table and really take a hard look at everything that we have and make some decisions.”

“We will continue to keep an eye on insurance as best we can, but ultimately I will be sitting with the administrative team, we will look at everything with the Board of Education and share with them some options and decisions. It is premature to say specifically ‘this program’ and that program’ but it is going to be our responsibility is to look at it.”

The comments come as the district looks at a $1.38 million increase to its budget—and it may be less, as the Town Council has the ability to reduce it further (though not to add to it)—while it’s contractually required to pay $1.76 million more to employees (mostly teachers). Councilman John Engel asked Luizzi at the meeting: “Where is this cut going to come from?”

“Do you think that it’s fair to say electives are going to be the first things to look at? Continue Reading →

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New Canaan High School Per-Sport Spending [TABLE]

On a per-student, per-season basis and before private donations are applied, New Canaan Public Schools projects next fiscal year to spend the most money among all sports on NCHS girls ice hockey ($2,264), followed by boys ice hockey ($2,094), girls gymnastics ($2,072), girls softball ($1,437) and girls golf ($1,311), according to district officials (see table below). Within the total NCHS athletics program cost of $1.47 million for fiscal year 2018, the varsity football team at an estimated $154,993 by far would garner the highest percentage of spending for any single sport, according to the schools’ budget book. Football’s high participation (158 total athletes across four teams) drives that overall cost, as does its large combined coaching staff of 16—more than twice the next-closest sport (boys’ lacrosse, at seven), according to the data. Overall, NCPS expects to spend about 23.7 percent more on combined boys’ sports versus girls’ sports next year—$589,875 versus $477,033, the data shows. On an average per-student basis, it expects to spend about 11 percent more overall on boys than girls, before shared costs and private contributions are considered, according to the district’s own data. Continue Reading →

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‘It’s Nice To See Kids Maintaining Their Childhood’: Saxe Middle School Principal Defends $200,000 Request for New Playground Equipment

When playground equipment was purchased a dozen years ago for Saxe Middle School with about $125,000 in privately raised funds, many in town debated whether the gear would be used by the students there at all, Principal Greg Macedo said Wednesday night. Yet today, it sees regular use not only among fifth- and sixth-graders, according to Macedo, but also from seventh- and eighth-graders. That’s partly for reasons of status—the older kids like to run out and get on the playground equipment first—and partly because students rotate from there during outdoor recess to a playing field and on to a game of tag, Macedo told members of the Town Council at their regular meeting. “Remember now we are talking about middle-schoolers, so ‘free play’ in their mind is socialization—before maybe physical education, or even recreation,” Macedo said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “So oftentimes you will see students climb the equipment and then want to stay there to socialize.”

The comments came during an opening round of budget discussions between the Board of Education and Town Council, the elected body that has final say over next fiscal year’s municipal spending plan. Continue Reading →

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Town Approves $682,000 in Contracts To Purchase Furniture, Equipment for Addition at Saxe Middle School; Project on Time and Budget

Town officials last week approved contracts totaling $682,000 for furniture and equipment for the Saxe Middle School addition that’s taking shape along Farm Road. The contracts and funds, built into the overall $18.6 million project, came before the Board of Selectmen in its capacity as the purchasing agent for the town. Part of “phase three” of the Saxe renovation and expansion, the items received state approval and have been vetted by New Canaan Public Schools administrators to ensure all technology equipment meets district system requirements, according to Penny Rashin, chairman of the Saxe Building Committee. “Really this is the technical equipment and the furnishings for the classrooms being built and renovated,” Rashin told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held March 7 at Town Hall. The $682,000 total includes $440,000 for furniture, fixtures and equipment, up to $212,000 for technology equipment and a contingency of $30,000. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan Storm Hub: What’s Open & Closed, Photos, Updates

Update 4:58 p.m.

Town Hall is on a 2-hour delay for Wednesday and will open at 10:30 a.m., officials said. To this point, 11.6 inches of snow have fallen on New Canaan. Here’s what’s open and closed in New Canaan on Tuesday—a list we will update throughout the day. To share your own business’s information through NewCanaanite.com, please fill out the short form embedded below. What’s Open

Franco’s Wine Merchants: Opening at 8 a.m.
Joe’s Pizza: Opening at 11 a.m.
Brown Thayer Shedd (BTS) Insurance

What’s Closed

Walter Stewart’s Market
Stewart’s Spirits
New Canaan Music
New Canaan Library
NCRC Tennis
Pryority Wellness
Baskin Robbins
Earth Garden
New Canaan Olive Oil
New Canaan Community Foundation
Elm Street Books
South End Restaurant
SE Uncorked
Vineyard Vines

Green & Tonic
Real Estate Information Center
New Canaan Public Schools
Town Hall
elm restaurant
Kempo Academy of New Canaan
New Canaan Chamber of Commerce
Cosmetic Boutique
Connecticut Muffin
The Summer House
Handwright Gallery & Framing
Halstead Property
Ciel Eau Day Spa
New Canaan Healthfare
Gates Restaurant

Update 3:45 p.m.

Trees have fallen across power lines on Carter Street and Wahackme Road. Continue Reading →

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