New Canaan Public Schools

Recent Articles

Saxe Middle School Principal Greg Macedo To Retire

Greg Macedo, longtime principal of Saxe Middle School, will retire after this academic year, he said in a blogpost. An educator for nearly four decades who has worked in the New Canaan Public Schools district for 25 years, Macedo said he reached the decision with his wife to relocate to the Delaware shoreline. “I will leave knowing that the support and guidance from the parent community, of which I will always be grateful, will continue to ensure that our middle school will thrive, even beyond its present state,” Macedo said in the post, whose contents also were emailed to parents. “I can honestly say that I have been able to live the life of a ‘life-long learner’ because I’ve been blessed to have had professional colleagues that are ‘life-long teachers.’ ”

Macedo in recent years earned praise from Board of Education members for making dozens of accommodations prior to a recent renovation and expansion in order to keep Saxe, built for 1,200 students, operating while it consistently saw 1,300-plus students enrolled. Even so, Macedo noted as the town weighed whether to fund the estimated $18.6 million project that those accommodations were made “on the backs of our neediest programs,” as several Special Ed classes had been pushed into converted closets and alcoves due to space deficiencies. Continue Reading →

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Board of Ed Votes 8-1 in Favor of $90.7 Million Proposed Budget

Noting that all but about .6 percent of a proposed 3.5 percent spending increase for next year is related to contractual wage increases or healthcare costs, members of the Board of Education on Monday night voted 8-1 to back a $90.7 million budget for next fiscal year. In backing the very same proposed budget that Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi had presented to the school board two weeks ago, the spending plan is higher than what town finance officials had set and recently underscored as a “strong guideline” of 2 percent for municipal departments. Yet that “edict,” school board member Brendan Hayes said, represents “an arbitrary number.”

“It just doesn’t really factor in the realities of both macroeconomics or the financial realities of the New Canaan Public Schools budget,” Hayes said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. At about 1.9 percent year-over-year, wage increases in the district are far lower than national averages, Hayes said, and given that about 2.9 percent of the overall proposed increase is tied to the wages and healthcare of those who work for New Canaan Public Schools, a reduction to 2 percent would require cuts to programs, he said. “So I just personally don’t really understand that 2 percent because it’s not explained, whereas I look at this budget and the thought that has gone into it, which frankly is—beyond this year—it’s the culmination of a decade or more of work and programs in the schools,” he said. Continue Reading →

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Board of Ed Offices Should Be Moved To Underused Third Floor of New Canaan Police Department, First Selectman Says

New Canaan should consider moving the school district’s administrative offices into the under-used third floor of the Police Department building on South Avenue rather than Waveny House or Irwin Park, the town’s highest elected official said Thursday. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan said he didn’t agree with a committee’s recently published recommendation that Waveny or Irwin should be considered as alternatives to the New Canaan Public Schools’ administrators renting office space downtown for about $300,000 per year. The police headquarters at 174 South Ave.—a structure built 90 years ago as New Canaan’s first high school—is “a much more viable alternative,” Moynihan said in response to questions from NewCanaanite.com at a press briefing in his office with local media outlets. “I think it’s absurd to think about putting the Board of Education or the administration into Waveny House and I think Irwin Park would be equally absurd,” he told NewCanaanite.com. (The briefing also was attended by the New Canaan Advertiser and New Canaan News.)

The renovations that would be needed to make either of those sites suitable would be prohibitively expensive, Moynihan said, and in the case of Waveny, “inconsistent with what the town” wants the building to be. Continue Reading →

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Committee: 20 Percent of Space in Town-Owned Buildings Is Currently Unused

About 20 percent of space in town-owned, non-district buildings is now unused, and another 25 percent need major repairs, officials said last week. Just what the town should do about that empty space, and what capital maintenance it should invest in, are major questions facing New Canaan, according to Amy Murphy Carroll. “I think everything jumps out to you with just the amount of square footage that is vacant,” Carroll, a co-chair of the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee, said during the group’s Sept. 28 special meeting. “And I will throw this out: I mean if things are not needed—and ‘need’ is a relative thing—sometimes it costs money to own more and the cost to tear down is not going to go down,” she added at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

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Superintendent: Working Group To Weigh Impact on Schedules, Homework, Wider ‘Ecosystem’ in Studying Later Start Times in New Canaan Public Schools

Officials are putting together a working group of parents, Board of Education members and New Canaan Public Schools representatives to study the widely discussed question of whether the district should implement later start times. That group will convene in two or three weeks and weigh considerations that include ways that starting school later would affect bus schedules, traffic, homework, extra help and extracurricular activities that include athletics, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi. A change to start times would ripple beyond the schools themselves to a larger “ecosystem,” Luizzi told NewCanaanite.com in an interview, “so when you start to move one piece of it, everything else has to be looked at and often adjusted.”

“It is looking at the whole system and that’s why it’s much more complex than saying, ‘Just move it.’ It’s not impossible, either.”

The Board of Ed is commissioning research reports from a firm called Hanover that helped Greenwich with its research before that school district opted this year for later start times, Luizzi said. “We are working with them and we have crafted out a study to look at districts that have moved their start times successfully and to start identifying what are the common elements from those successful schools?” he said. “What they are developing now is the research questions. Continue Reading →

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