Penny Rashin

Recent Articles

League’s Voter Info Brochure To Go Out Soon; Seats up for Election on Selectmen, Town Council, Board of Ed

Officials with a nonprofit organization dedicated to voter education say they’re preparing to mail important information to New Canaan electors. This year’s “Know Your Representatives” brochure from the New Canaan League of Women Voters—listing all of New Canaan’s elected representatives, as well as local board and commission meeting times—has been underwritten by Bankwell, according to a media bulletin from the organization. It will go out April 17, according to the league. Seats are up for election this year on municipal bodies including the Board of Selectmen (three seats) and Town Council (six seats) and Board of Education (five seats). First Selectman Rob Mallozzi and Selectman Nick Williams, both Republicans, announced last month that they intend to seek a fourth term on the board. Continue Reading →

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‘This Is a Wonderful Community’: New Canaan Public Schools’ Facilities Director Bob Willoughby To Retire

Saying his wide knowledge, calm manner, diligence, conscientiousness and collegiality has served the kids, faculty and staff of New Canaan Public Schools well through some of the district’s largest capital projects in memory, officials on Monday night honored Director of Facilities Bob Willoughby, who will retire after this academic year. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi recalled that on being hired as New Canaan High School principal six years ago, he made an official visit to the town with his wife and daughters and “we jumped into the elevator to go meet the superintendent, Dr. David Abbey, and there was Bob in the elevator.”

“I always knew there wasn’t a problem you couldn’t solve or figure out, and I always looked to you for your experience and wisdom to do what’s right. It’s going to be hard to fill your shoes but you also taught all of us quite a bit, so we are better off than we would have been without you.”

The board presented Willoughby with a gift and he earned a long ovation from its members as well as about 20 people in attendance at the meeting. They included New Canaan’s highest elected official. First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who has said he was so impressed with Willoughby’s role in the school district that he created a counterpart position for the town, called the facilities director “a real pleasure to work with.”

“We hit it off immediately and it’s one thing for me to hit it off immediately with him but honestly everyone I know in town has hit it off immediately with this gentleman, and I will miss you incredibly,” Mallozzi said. 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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‘We Have Had Children Injured’: District Reviews Capital Needs at New Canaan Public Schools

Children using playground equipment at New Canaan Public Schools have been injured because there’s been no proper drainage system installed for the mulch that surrounds it, district officials said this week. Playground restoration work is “at a critical stage” where additional work must be done in terms of drainage, new mulch and curbing, according to Bob Willoughby, the district’s manager of facilities operations. While the district inspects its playground equipment annually and makes repairs as needed, “the town supports us with the mulch that goes down, the curbing around them,” Willoughby told members of the Board of Education at their meeting Monday night. “We think we need to more forward on it rather quickly,” he said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We have had some children injured because of the condition of the mulch.”

Willoughby continued: “We did the South [School] playground and replaced all the curbing and mulch. Continue Reading →

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‘Sustained, Stable Enrollment’: New Canaan Public Schools Sees Increase of 36 Students in 2016-17

New Canaan Public Schools is seeing an increase of 36 students year-over-year in 2016-17, though the district’s overall figure for the current academic year—4,210 students, K-12—came in below what had been projected, driven in part by fewer-than-expected kindergartners enrolled, officials said Monday. At 273 kindergartners, this year’s total is 44 under projections and down 12 from last year, according to Gary Kass, the district’s director of human resources. Even so, NCPS is projected to see consistently high overall enrollment into the foreseeable future, as the district enters “a period of sustained, stable enrollment,” Kass said during a meeting of the Board of Education, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “In looking at the projections in the analysis of those projections, it looks like we are on a pretty steady course, and fairly stable in terms of where and when this will be in the coming years,” Kass said. The comments come as Saxe Middle School undergoes an expansion that will be finished next fall—a project that gained support on the strength of an already-overcrowded facility with no enrollment relief on the horizon. Continue Reading →

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