Though it’s not part of his $4.1 million capital request for next fiscal year, the superintendent of schools said last week that the district is planning in the future to ask for money to refurbish the planetarium at New Canaan High School. The projector at the planetarium is original, and whenever it needs work, the district needs to fly in the repair person to get it done, Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education at their Jan. 7 meeting. “It is the same person has been working on it for a long time and it’s time for an upgrade,” Luizzi said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “The possibilities in that space have really exponentially changed based on changes in technology.
The town’s highest elected official said Tuesday night that his office is preparing to make a recommendation on surveying taxpayers as the budget season gets underway. Addressing the Board of Finance at its regular meeting, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan noted that during a recent pre-budget workshop that included members of the Boards of Selectmen, Education and Finance as well as the Town Council, among others, officials concluded that it would be helpful in the coming weeks to understand what residents think New Canaan’s spending priorities should be.
“We talked about doing a survey,” Moynihan said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “We have been looking into a professional survey … We will come back to you with some recommendation regarding a survey.”
He referred to a joint workshop—held Nov. 17 at Lapham Community Center and moderated by former Town Councilman Kathleen Corbet—where officials shared opinions on who or what municipal body is responsible for the budget and what percentage budget increase would be acceptable to taxpayers, given New Canaan’s services. Speaking on behalf of a group that included Town Councilmen Mike Mauro and Jim Kucharczyk and Board of Education members Tom Cronin and Brendan Hayes, Councilman Liz Donovan said during the workshop that New Canaan might consider focusing on what drives demand in the town rather than specific increases in municipal spending.
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.
The Board of Education on Monday night by a 7-2 vote elected Brendan Hayes as its new chairman. A Democrat who has served on the elected body for three years, Hayes “has been a thoughtful leader on the Board of Education,” outgoing Chair Dionna Carlson said during a special meeting held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Hayes has served as chair of the group’s Education Resources Committee and “was instrumental in updating the Board of Education’s facilities rental policies as well as being a consistent advocate throughout the Board’s budget process,” Carlson said. In addition to Hayes and Carlson, Board members Sheri West, Penny Rashin, Jennifer Richardson, Hazel Hobbs, and Katrina Parkhill voted in favor of making him chairman. Board of Ed members Maria Naughton and Tom Cronin voted against.
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.