Police Chief: ‘High Likelihood’ of Drug Possession, Possible Dealing in New Canaan Schools

Getting a drug-sniffing dog access to public schools ranks high among  New Canaan Police Department priorities for this year, Chief Leon Krolikowski said Thursday. Police officials “are hopeful we will be able to get some folks in line” and finalize an agreement with the district so that the department’s K-9 unit can do its work inside schools, Krolikowski said during a budget hearing before the Board of Selectmen. 

“Because we do know as we sit here today that there’s a high likelihood that there are some kids in the school in possession of drugs and maybe distributing it,” Krolikowski said during the Board’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “And what are we going to do as a town to prevent that from happening and frankly make our kids safer?”

Asked by Selectman Nick Williams where New Canaan is in the process, Krolikowski said “stalled.”

“It’s been tabled, I believe, by the superintendent and Board of Education,” he said. “It’s been a years-long effort to try to move that along and we are login to continue to do that and be a little bit more aggressive in trying to push that along. Get something in place that we are at least comfortable with.

Board of Ed Backs $92.8 Million Spending Plan; Final Recommended School Start Time Schedule Still To Come

The Board of Education on Tuesday night voted 6-1 to recommend an approximately $92.8 million spending plan for next fiscal year. The budget brought forward by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi and endorsed by the school board during its regular meeting represents a 1.47% increase over current spending—within Board of Finance guidelines. 

It includes about $950,000 needed for new transportation costs that would come with a revised school start times schedule, though it is unclear which of two equally expensive start time scenarios the Board of Ed ultimately will recommend. 

The first scenario, studied and discussed extensively for months, would see the three elementary schools start together at 7:45 a.m., followed by the seventh and eighth grades at Saxe Middle School and all of New Canaan High School at 8:30 a.m. with the fifth and sixth grades at Saxe starting together at 9:15 a.m.

Major advantages of that schedule include starting school late enough that adolescents get sufficient sleep, district officials have said, citing established medical data and recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. It also would see all three elementary schools get onto the same start and end time schedule and avoid having those young kids in school late into the afternoon, when anecdotal evidence says they tire out, officials have said. Yet based on strong feedback from the community, including families with kids in elementary school, Board of Ed Chair Katrina Parkhill said the elected body may consider another scenario that “flips” the first and last “tiers.” In other words, the fifth and sixth grades would start at 7:45 a.m. while the elementary schools would all start at 9:15 a.m., she said. “This scenario may more appropriately balance schedules, in response to family and community needs,” Parkhill said during the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at NCHS.

New Canaan Teen Charged in Connection with Threat Made Through Social Media [UPDATED]

Update 2:30 p.m. Friday

Police arrested a 17-year-old juvenile in connection with the threat made through social media targeting students at New Canaan High School. The teen, a New Canaan resident, was charged with breach of peace. Police withheld the teen’s name because of his or her age. The threat was determined not to be credible, police said. Update 12:30 p.m. Friday

Police say they received word at 6:50 a.m. Friday regarding a “potential threat to the students at the high school” that had been made on social media.

‘I Am Being Put in a Very Difficult Position’: Board of Ed Divided on Proposed School Start Times Scenario

Board of Education members are divided as to whether they have enough feedback and information on a revised school start times schedule to recommend this month that hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending for additional buses be included in a proposed budget for next fiscal year. No one disagrees that starting grades seven through 12 at 8:30 a.m. as opposed to 7:30 a.m. would benefit students in important ways—established medical research recommends later start times for adolescents. 

Under a favored scenario that district officials have developed, New Canaan’s elementary schools would start at 7:45 a.m., though because morning buses could start their routes from the geographically distributed neighborhood schools rather than New Canaan High School, the first student wouldn’t need to be picked up until 7:06 a.m. (currently 6:27 a.m.) when it’s sufficiently light outside that flashlights aren’t needed. 

Yet that proposed new schedule also forces a bus usage system that’s far less efficient than the one New Canaan Public Schools now employs, and it would require about six or seven additional buses—at a clip of $100,000 in additional annual spending, per bus—to make the favored start times scenario work. Board of Ed member Dionna Carlson at the elected body’s Dec. 16 meeting called it “a very expensive option that will go up 3% every year, in perpetuity.”

A similar start times scenario garnered low levels of support in surveys conducted earlier this year, she said, and there are unanswered questions about just how it will affect students seeking extra help from teachers, among other concerns. To include funding for the busing system as part of the school board’s Jan.