‘It Has Started To Fail’: $2.2 Million South School Roof Replacement Drives Board of Ed’s Capital Budget Request 

The estimated $2.2 million replacement of the roof at South School is driving the superintendent of schools’ overall $4.1 million capital request for next fiscal year. 

The project had been scheduled three years ago, yet the Board of Finance at the time asked whether the district could defer it, “so we did,” according to the Dr. Bryan Luizzi. “We really feel you cannot defer it any more,” he told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting Monday night, in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We are spending a lot of time with rain problems after storms and water incursion is an issue. And so we need to keep up with it, or other problems happen and we want to avoid those.”

The comments came as Luizzi proposed an approximately $92 million operating budget for fiscal year 2020, a 2.55 percent increase over current spending. The Board of Ed is to vote on the proposed budgets next week, at which point it goes to municipal bodies for discussion and approval, with a final vote in April. 

The South School roof replacement should be able to get done in a single summer starting when school lets out, Luizzi said.

School Start Times: Superintendent Floats Proposal To Start Elementary Schools Earlier, Followed by High School and Saxe

Local elementary schools could start as early as 7:30 a.m., with New Canaan High School starting later in the morning and all of Saxe Middle School starting last, under a new proposal that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi unveiled Monday night. Citing anecdotal evidence that younger children tend to tire in the afternoon, Luizzi said the proposed new system—suggested by New Canaan Public Schools Transportation Coordinator Roy Walder—could largely preserve the current and cost-effective three-tier busing system, though it also comes with tradeoffs. “I’m not going to say this is the scenario I am recommending yet, because there is more work to be done,” Luizzi told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School and attended by about 25 parents. “But I want to share it with you because work is being done and continues to be done. The magnitude of the change—it moves everybody.

Officials Recommend Training in More Proactive Approach to Handling Violent Incidents in Schools

Officials who help shape school safety policy in New Canaan are recommending training for all district staff in a new way of preparing students for violent incidents. 

Members of the district’s Crisis Advisory Board, or ‘CAB,’ told the Board of Education last week that the powerful experiential training they’ve undergone in a more proactive approach to handling situations such as shootings should lead to new “lockdown” procedures at all public schools. In traditional lockdown drills, children go into a classroom and teachers all follow the same procedures, South School Principal and CAB member Joanne Rocco told the Board of Ed at its regular meeting Dec. 3. Those steps include “locking the door, pulling down the shades, turning off the lights and students would all go into one corner of the room where they weren’t visible and would just wait,” Rocco said. “So that was the traditional lockdown,” she said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School.