Board of Education

Recent Articles

NCHS To Live-Stream Sports Contests at Dunning, Gym with New System

New Canaan High School Rams fans soon will have the ability to watch significantly more sports contests online, as district officials work with the broadcast arm of an Indianapolis-based organization that helps develop standards and rules for interscholastic activities nationwide. Starting no later than this fall, some 200 games and matches at Dunning Stadium and the NCHS gym will be streamed live, according to Athletic Director Jay Egan, through the High School Sports Network, a service of the National Federation of State High School Associations. “I think it’s an expectation that our parents have that this is a service we can provide for them and I think people are really excited thinking about being able to do this,” Egan told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting, held Monday night in the Wagner Room at NCHS. The service costs user a fee in the range of $25 to $50 per year, and involves installing camera equipment at the NCHS facilities, Egan said. The approximately $6,500 it costs to get up and running is being paid for by the Booster Club, he said. 

The coverage will complement and expand about 55 to 60 games already streamed online each year through an excellent student-operated NCTV 78 YouTube channel. Continue Reading →

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‘Internal Pressure from Other Places’: Superintendent of Schools Shouldn’t Lead Effort To Study Later Start Times, Parents Say

Because he must pay attention to people in the district who are opposed no matter what, the superintendent of schools isn’t in a good position to lead an internal working group looking into starting school later in the morning, according to members of a parents’ group that wants the change. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi is expected some time in June to share the administrative group’s thoughts on starting school later in the morning, but he should be arriving at a recommendation with input from the wider community, lifelong resident and New Canaan Public Schools parent David Rucci told members of the Board of Education at their most recent regular meeting. “It is very difficult, [according to] all the research that we have done, for the superintendent to be in charge of this,” Rucci said at the meeting, held May 21 in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “He is going to get a lot of internal pressure from other places and we understand that that is a problem for him. And it’s not easy for him to sort of negotiate through that. Continue Reading →

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‘The District Is Always Looking for Ways To Rationalize Costs’: Board of Ed Spotlights Money-Saving Efforts

Through contract negotiations, competitive bidding, new carrier agreements and shifting retirees to a state health plan, New Canaan Public Schools has saved nearly $1.6 million annually in the area of employee benefits, district officials said last week. About 80 percent of the district’s operating budget is devoted to staff salaries or benefits and that is an area “we can be creative in and have some good thoughtful conversations is around the type of health benefits that we offer our employees,” Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, NCPS director of finance and operations, told members of the Board of Education at their regular meeting May 21. Public schools officials looks especially at plan design changes, such as those in other districts, and cost-sharing options, Keating said at the meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. Together those components “do generate quite a bit of savings for the school district.”

“And it is really the one thing that we are able to use to offset our salaries, because salaries grow at a much lower rate than health insurance does,” Keating said. “You have close to double-digit increases with trends in some years whereas salaries lower percentages.”

Specifically, she said, the district is saving $747,000 per year through contract negotiations (by replacing a PPO with a high-deductible plan for both certified and non-certified staff, and a 1 percent savings through cost-sharing), $326,000 through competitive bidding (stop loss insurance changes that significantly increased the threshold, creating risk, but saved money as fewer claims came in, and life and long-term disability), and $506,000 through carrier agreements such as pharmacy rebates and performance guarantees, as well as transitioning retirees from Cigna to the state Teachers’ Retirement Board or ‘TRB’ plan. Continue Reading →

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Parents Call for Board of Ed To Open ‘Formal and Public’ Study on Later School Start Times

Eight months after hearing that they would be part of a working group dedicated to the task, parents in plain language on Monday night called for the Board of Education to open a “formal and public study” to evaluate later school start times in New Canaan. Saying she represented more than 600 New Canaan Public Schools parents who have signed an online petition advocating for later start times, Megan Steele said the group respectfully requested “that the Board of Ed members put to vote the immediate formation of a ‘School Start Time Committee’ to be formally and publicly created, per the bylaws, so that we the public can have full knowledge of any meetings, process and progress, and additionally provide meaningful input into this outcome.”

“It is a very important decision and we know it is a complicated one,” she told members of the Board of Ed at their regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. “We know we need to understand the costs, the logistics and possible solutions. But we believe we must put our teens’ health first and take a holistic, creative approach to making this work. As parents and registered voters, we are entitled to this from our Board of Ed and school administration. Continue Reading →

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Letter: Last Week’s School Start Times Survey Lacked Context

On April 19, New Canaan parents and students were asked by New Canaan Schools Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi to take an unannounced School Start Times Survey. Many adults and children who attempted to respond to the survey found it to be confusing, especially the parents of Saxe students. Furthermore, the survey was conducted before the district made any effort to inform parents about the important impact that school start times have on student health. Thus, many parents and students felt that they did not have enough knowledge of the issue to answer the questions in an informed way. Thanks to the New Canaan League of Women Voters, there is a great opportunity next week for the community to learn more about why the district is evaluating school start times: because decades of research has shown that a 7:30 a.m. start is detrimental to student health; it is harmful to such a degree that every major medical organization in the country has recommended that middle and high schools start at 8:30 a.m. or later. Parents, students and others in the community are invited to a panel discussion on adolescent sleep on May 3 at 7 p.m. in NCHS Wagner Room. Continue Reading →

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