Penny Rashin

Recent Articles

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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Praise (and Surprise) from District Officials with New Crosswalk Installed at High School

School officials said Monday that they were both surprised by and pleased with a new crosswalk at New Canaan High School that some had called for two years ago. The New Canaan Department of Public Works tore up the area just outside the high school’s main entrance the day before school started and “we were all surprised,” according to Bob Willoughby, the district’s manager of facilities operations. “But [DPW Assistant Director Tiger Mann] was able to get it done,” Willoughby told members of the Board of Education during a meeting Monday night, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS. “He poured the concrete, I think, a couple of hours before school started to get it finished. We are hoping that it’s going to really help some of the issues with the students crossing that road, taking their lives in their hands at times. Continue Reading →

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‘I Think It Is Chilling’: Board of Ed Rejects Proposed Change to Bylaws Regarding Public Comments at Meetings

Saying they shouldn’t risk the perception that questions, suggestions or thoughts from the public are unwelcome, members of the school board this week rejected a proposal that would have limited the scope of comments from attendees at their meetings. The Board of Education also softened some new language regarding behavior at its meetings, changing two instances of the word ‘boisterous’ to ‘unruly’ in defining conduct that is not allowed, after school board member Penny Rashin flagged it. To the suggestion that a member of the public who wishes to address the board present his or her thoughts ahead of time for inclusion on the agenda, Rashin said, “I think it is chilling, actually, to require somebody in town to think they have to get a board member on the side in order to speak.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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