Eversource missed an Aug. 25 deadline to run natural gas lines to New Canaan’s public schools, and district officials say they’re now preparing for a more expensive backup whereby oil might be used for a period of time if the work still isn’t done by heating season. Delayed in part by weather, the company still has “quite a bit of work to do,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a regular meeting Monday of the Board of Education. “They are working hard,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “There is weather involved with this.
District officials said Monday night that they’re gathering more information for Board of Education members before the elected group votes formally on whether to allow a K-9 dog in New Canaan Public Schools. Some Board of Ed members last month voiced concerns over the prospect of adopting a new policy whereby police could be invited by the district to bring a drug-sniffing dog into a school.
Since then, administrators have received “a couple of questions from the Board,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi said during a regular meeting of the Board of Ed. “One, for instance, around how many school districts in our [District Reference Group] have such a policy, things like that,” Luizzi said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We expanded it a little bit just to look around, we asked nine other districts, and it’s not helpful at all in that four of them do not have a policy and five of them do. Pretty much down middle.
Kindergarten enrollment in New Canaan Public Schools this fall is expected to come in at 46 students lower than projections, district officials reported this week. The district has 233 total enrollments in kindergarten this year, officials said during Monday’s meeting of the Board of Education, compared to 279 projected by the New England School Development Council or ‘NESDEC,’ a Marlborough, Mass.-based nonprofit organization. The figure—still subject to change, as families move into town just before the first day of school—also marks an 18 percent drop from last academic year, when 276 kindergartners were enrolled in the public schools, according information presented by Gary Kass, NCPS director of human resources. “Overall we are decreasing enrollment in certain areas but what is particularly evident is a reduction of students in kindergarten,” Kass told Board of Ed members at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. He added: “That could possibly be a trend as we move forward.”
It isn’t clear what is causing the lower-than-expected figures among kindergarteners.
Board of Ed member Sheri West did ask whether district administrators had a handle on the data behind the lower enrollment there, but officials instead addressed a separate question from her, about why the fourth grade from last year appeared to be declining by about 17 students going into fifth grade this year.
Saying they need more information and time to reflect on what would follow from allowing a police K-9 dog to search for narcotics in New Canaan schools, members of the Board of Education on Monday night decided to forgo voting on a new policy that would introduce the practice. Even if authorization from school administrators was required for K-9 searches of lockers or other areas, allowing them “has the potential to change kids’ lives,” according to Board of Ed Chair Dionna Carlson.
“It is an important thing,” she said during the board’s regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We all agree we want drug-free schools. But I think it is also an important thing to say that we have hired experts in their field to deal with kids in crisis. And so we want to do the right thing to keep our schools drug-free, but we also do not want to permanently damage kids that make mistakes.
New Canaan Police on Monday walked through the Elm Street office building that’s the town’s highest elected official has said could serve as a future department headquarters, and the Board of Education is slated to do its own walkthrough there during the first week of September, officials said Tuesday. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan has developed and championed the idea of New Canaan purchasing the 28,000-square-foot “Covia” building at the corner of Elm and Grove Streets as a future home for both the police and school district’s administrative offices—a move that would be financially feasible, he has said, if the current NCPD building on South Avenue could be sold to a developer who would preserve the historic structure, possibly for conversion to senior housing. “We are going to evaluate,” Moynihan said of the town’s hard look at the Covia building during a regular meeting of the Board fo Selectmen. “Assuming the conclusion is it works for the police and that the Board fo Ed believes it works for them, we would then during September do the financial analysis as to whether we want to recommend that choice as opposed to renovating [the current police headquarters],” Moynihan said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “A lot of that will depend on what we can do with the South Avenue building, because the net cost would be substantially less than renovating the police building for that purpose.