Tom Butterworth

Recent Articles

First Selectman Breaks 6-6 Tie To Advance Demolition of ‘Mead Park Brick Barn’

Though some argued that it makes little sense to rush an irretrievable decision when a viable alternative has emerged, members of New Canaan’s legislative body and the first selectman on Wednesday pushed forward the demolition of a widely discussed brick structure on Richmond Hill Road. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan broke a 6-6 tie on the Town Council to preserve $65,000, as part of a larger proposed bonding package, for razing the “Mead Park Brick Barn” or “Richmond Hill Garage.”

New Canaan Baseball has said it’s interested in using the 1901-built, two-story structure, opposite the bottom of Grove Street, for meetings and storage. Yet some on the Council questioned the organization’s ability to make the structure usable and maintain it. “I am totally in favor of giving [New Canaan Baseball] a reasonable amount of time, but I think the building should be taken down unless there is a credible plan,” Moynihan told members of the Town Council as he cast a vote in favor of preserving the money for demolition. It wasn’t immediately clear what are the criteria for “a credible plan,” or how long “a reasonable amount of time” is, though Councilmen noted that a 90-day delay is likely from the time the town applies for the demolition permit. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: School Budget Cuts—Testing the Rhetoric

In public meetings and media reports, it’s becoming clear that the New Canaan Board of Finance will act this week to approve a school budget for 2018-2019 that’s as much as $1 million less than requested by the Board of Education. In April, the Town Council will decide whether to make additional reductions. These are important decisions, so it’s worth scrutinizing the logic behind these moves. Premise #1: Major cuts can be made from administrative and back-office functions with no impact in the classroom. The problem with this premise is that virtually all administrative functions have a direct and important impact on the performance of teachers in the classroom. Continue Reading →

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Op-Ed: School Success and School Budgets

Breathtaking accolades for our schools continue to roll in. On Feb. 9, the Connecticut Department of Education released its annual statewide school ratings. Drum roll: New Canaan is the number one district in the State once more. Remarkably, we’re among only 27 percent of districts whose rating improved. Continue Reading →

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Town: Former Outback Building Will Not Serve as Home to Alternative High School; Market Value of Building To Be Gauged

The former Outback Teen Center downtown is off the table at this point as a possible future home for an “alternative high school” program envisioned by the school district, the town’s highest elected official said Tuesday. In order to maximize the value of the shuttered, centrally located building, New Canaan first must find out whether it can be rented or sold, according to First Selectman Kevin Moynihan. “And in order to do that, you have to expose it to the market,” Moynihan told NewCanaanite.com following a full day’s worth of meetings on the fiscal year 2019 budget, which now moves to the Board of Finance. Moynihan said the decision was informed by a committee of the Town Council. Members of the Council’s Education Committee, and Moynihan himself, met Jan. Continue Reading →

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Town Council Members Mull Using ‘Outback’ Building To House Alternative High School Program

The superintendent of schools on Wednesday night presented a subcommittee of New Canaan’s legislative body with details of a proposal to create an “alternative high school” program for students with specific health challenges in New Canaan to be housed at the former Outback Teen Center behind Town Hall. Dr. Bryan Luizzi and Assistant Superintendent of Pupil and Family Services Darlene Pianka outlined their vision for a program to replace New Canaan High School’s current Afternoon Instructional Program, or ‘AIP,’ which is held in the school’s media center. AIP is currently only available to four to 10 upperclassmen at a time, while Luizzi’s proposal will potentially provide full- or half-day instruction for six to 12 students in grades 8-12 based on their educational and therapeutic needs, they told members of the Town Council’s Education Committee. The idea of locating the alternative high school at Outback had been broached with a town committee in November and the program itself was presented to the Board of Education on Monday as part of the approximately $90.7 million proposed budget for New Canaan Public Schools next year. Throughout Luizzi and Pianka’s presentation, Education Committee members Tom Butterworth, Rich Townsend, Joe Paladino and Christa Kenin raised questions about the potential costs of the program and the suitability of the Outback as the program’s physical site. Continue Reading →

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