Communication

School Delays and Closings

All school delays will be a 2 hour delay.

East Lyme School District uses the Infinite Campus Emergency Management System in times of delays, closings or emergency situations. This system can utilize voice and email messaging. East Lyme Schools put this system in place to enhance communication between school and parents to keep them informed of events in a timely manner.

Important information for Salem Students: As a general rule East Lyme and Salem Superintendents will make similar decisions regarding delays and or closings. There are times that different decisions are warranted. 

Signing Up for Infinite Campus Notifications

East Lyme Public Schools utilizes the Infinite Campus Emergency Management System. This notification system enables us to contact parents, faculty, or students simultaneously in the event of an emergency closing or other important announcement. This system allows us to send an immediate telephone or e-mail message that provides important information about school plans, updates, and, when necessary, logistics for picking up your children in the event of an emergency.

The successful delivery of information is dependent upon accurate contact information for each parent, so please make certain that we have your most current phone numbers and e-mail addresses. If your main telephone contact number or email address is not currently on file with the school or needs to be updated, please contact your school’s main office at the numbers listed below so we can update this important information. Please contact each school your children may attend.

Flanders 860-739-8475
Lillie B. Haynes 860-739-2922
Niantic Center 860-739-3961
Middle School 860-739-4491
High School 860-739-6946


We believe this system greatly facilitates communication between your family and our schools. If you have questions or concerns, please contact ichelpdesk@elpsk12.org.

If for some reason you receive a call and should not be on the list and would like your number removed, please call or email your school office.

Elementary Redistricting Information

Please direct any questions you may have regarding redistricting to Superintendent Jeffrey Newton at elpsredistrict@elpsk12.org

Redistricting Meetings

2018-2019 Elementary Transitioning Opportunities
(A sampling of transition opportunities for Lillie B. Haynes and Niantic Center Student and Parents during the 2018-2019 School Year)

Date   Agenda   Minutes
December 14, 2016   Agenda   Minutes
December 20, 2016   Agenda   Minutes
January 4, 2017   Agenda   Minutes
January 25, 2017   Agenda   Minutes
May 21, 2017 Community Forum   Agenda and Minutes via Board Docs     
May 22, 2017   Agenda   Minutes

Letters and Updates

2018-2019 Elementary Transitioning Opportunities
(A sampling of transition opportunities for Lillie B. Haynes and Niantic Center Student and Parents during the 2018-2019 School Year)

 

Elementary Redistricting Option 4AR BOE Approved 5/21/18

May 21, 2018 Redistricting Community Forum Presentations:  E.L. BOE Community Forum re: Elementary Redistricting  & Elementary  Redistricting Plan Scenarios

Redistricting Letter to Parents Dated 5/15/18 re: Announcement of Community Forum on May 21, 2018

Redistricting Letter to Parents with Redistricting Question Email Address (4/13/18)

April 12, 2018 Redistricting Community Forum Agenda (6:00 p.m., East Lyme High School) 

April 12, 2018 ELPS Redistricting Scenarios Presentation 

Redistricting Community Forum Parent Letter from Superintendent (3-30-18)

Draft Elementary School Redistricting Plan PowerPoint (Presented to BOE on 3-26-18)        Sketch 3A         Sketch 4A

School Redistricting Presentation and Preliminary Redistricting Scenarios (Presented to BOE on 3-12-18)
  Alternative Plan 1     Alternative Plan 2      Alternative Plan 3      Alternative Plan 4       Alternative Plan 5

ELPS Redistricting Plan (12/18/17) (ELPS Demographic and Economic Profile & Enrollment Projections Prepared by Milone and MacBroom Presented to EL BOE 12-18-17)

Redistricting Plan Presentation to the Board of Education (10/10/17)

Redistricting Update from Superintendent of Schools (9/25/17)

Recommendation from Redistricting Committee to Board of Education (2/13/17)

Letter from Superintendent of Schools: No Elementary Redistricting for the 2017-2018 School year (4/28/17)
 

Board of Education Redistricting Ad Hoc Committee (Committee Charge, Timeline and Meeting Dates)

Draft Redistricting Map (Rev. 11/1/2016)

Letter from Superintendent of Schools Regarding Redistricting Dated 11/29/2016

Letter from Superintendent of Schools Regarding Redistricting Dated 12/7/2016

Questions and Answers

 

​Redistricting Questions & Answers

November 22, 2016

Question: There have been many rumors going around about redistricting some of the children to other schools, my neighborhood being one of them.  I would just like some clarification if this is indeed true.
Answer: No final decisions by the Board of Education have occurred regarding redistricting.  A committee has just recently been formed to identify possible new school boundaries to bring equity between the schools.  The committee will also investigate the pros and cons of redistricting our schools.  A final recommendation will be brought back to the BOE for them to review/discuss/ and act on.  Additionally, the committee will discuss communication strategies and how we ensure parents and our school communities are aware of what steps are being taken.  No date has been set as of yet for the committee's first meeting, but it will most likely be during the beginning of December. Feel free to contact me at anytime if you have any further questions and thanks for taking the time to email.

 

December 5, 2017

Question: I attended the BOE meeting on Dec. 5th after receiving the letter that was sent out by Mr. Newton (which I appreciated).  I wanted to learn more about what the board was discussing and if and how it would impact my family.  I apologize that I haven't historically read the minutes from the various BOE meetings.  Since the Dec. 5th meeting I have gone back and reviewed previous minutes and watched several of the video recordings.  As a side note, has the BOE thought about adding a section to the digital backpack that all parents review (or should) with highlights and links to the relevant minutes from the various meetings?  It would be a great way to for the Board to connect further with parents in the district.  It would go a long way to keeping parents involved and aware of what the BOE is discussing.”
Answer: Thanks for taking the time to send this follow-up email and share additional thoughts and concerns.  Let me first say that I like your idea of connecting BOE meeting information to the Digital Backpack and will look into this as a possibility. 

 Question: I appreciate the concerns of the BOE regarding student numbers and now have further understanding of the reasoning behind some of the decisions being made.  I have reviewed the slides presented by Mr. Newton (a link to those slides in the letter he sent may have assisted those reading the letter that had questions) and the other details regarding student numbers, etc..  I also have been told the reasoning goes beyond student numbers and that the redistribution is also due to the fact that we will not get additional monies approved for school repairs unless we redistribute the students.  The money aspect is not something I read in the minutes but was told by another parent so am unsure of the validity of that information.  Regardless, I appreciate the situation the district is facing in regards to redistribution, but am concerned if we are moving and disrupting students now (when we have known for some time that the numbers are imbalanced) for money reasons without doing proper due diligence.  That due diligence is being pushed now into only a few meetings (over the holidays) by a very large committee. (From experience this can be challenging.) 
Answer: As you are well aware, there are many rumors going around and it’s my hope you had a chance to read both of the letters I sent out to parents regarding the Board of Education’s plan to redistrict.  The rationale is not necessarily about money, but about balance, equity, and providing the best possible education to every K – 4 student.  We have Flanders School currently at capacity with close to 350 students, and Haynes and Niantic Center have far less numbers with many open classrooms. 

Question: I also now have a greater understanding why there is a lot of confusion around this issue after I have looked at the previous meeting minutes.  The first thing I observed when looking at the minutes was the draft redistricting map in the minutes (it sticks out). This gives the appearance that the decisions have been already made and that the committee is more for "show".  In fact, during the meetings, that is what comes across as well.  I had a board member speak with me following the meeting stating that this wasn't the case, but when you review the videos and read the minutes, that is what comes across from my perspective.  I also know from experience if the committee is given that sample map, that is what will be worked from.  Therefore when I am told that there is no draft plan, and then see items labeled as “draft plan” it is disturbing to parents.
Answer: I understand parents might feel after looking at the created map with changed draft boundary lines that decisions have already been made.  This is not the case.  We needed to obtain an understanding of the feasibly of the bus runs with possible changes to neighborhoods in relation to the schools they attend.  By looking at an example of modified bus runs we were able to ascertain that redistricting is definitely possible, and in fact shortens many runs. 

Question: Moreover, when reviewing the past minutes, it was never indicated that there was actually a vote by the BOE for the redistricting.  It was discussed to form a committee (which is a good thing), but no definitive vote or decision.   At the meeting on Dec. 5th a board member commented that the issue had been voted on, and therefore the redistricting is going to happen for this school year no matter what-- then the board member/s proceeded to laugh about it-- which in my opinion was very insensitive to those in the audience that night.  I have reviewed the various meetings from the website (video and minutes) and in the Nov. 21st meeting, while there was a great deal of discussion concerning this topic, it was decided that there would be a vote on Dec. 5th.  There was no vote that I am aware of that occurred on Dec. 5th.  I understand that a vote per se isn't necessary but I am bothered by the inconsistencies within the board, the minutes and the statements being made, not to mention the lack of sensitivity that occurred at the meeting regarding the topic.  While some are "laughing" on the board, as a parent this has implications to my family and I want to understand what is going on and it is very confusing and has required a lot of my time to understand things that should be spelled out for the community.  I will have to explain any changes to my child and while, as a board member told me, "the kids will be fine", it isn't that easy (I wish it was).  I have moved previously (moving my child mid school year to a new school) and I know the consequences of doing it.  Yes my child is ok, but it took years for him to adjust to the new school- it wasn't as easy as many implied.  Each child is different, yes some adapt very easily, others don't.  Kids are very smart (more so than many adults give them credit) and I know at least my child will want to understand why he is being moved.  In addition many of the kids have just started to develop trust of classmates and teachers and this will be a difficult transition if and when it occurs.  Hence I am concerned that "aggressive timelines" (per a statement of the board) have been established.
Answer: Regarding the Board of Education vote, they have not done so yet as that will be done after we present the final committee plan to them in February.  They have charged the Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee in developing the plan and then presenting a final product back to the board.

Question: It was also discussed in several meetings that the elementary schools function right now as three separate schools. This is another reason parents are very concerned about which school their child goes to.  Many have moved to specific neighborhoods for a specific school and this is really a "tough blow".  Again, while the Board states no plan has been drafted there is a plan in the board minutes that has "draft plan" written in the title, making that a tough pill to swallow.  People are seeing they are impacted; hence strong emotions are also coming out. Has the board thought about aligning the schools better and then doing a phased redistricting? Allowing alignment and the redistricting to occur? 
Answer: Regarding the three schools functioning very differently, you are correct and we see this as an issue for many reasons.  The biggest reason being we have differing curriculum at the three schools which impacts fifth grade at the Middle School.   The elementary principals and all staff are working diligently to bring more consistent practices to the schools.  Let me mention that we do not want to take away the individual school cultures that have been formed.  Each is distinct and needs to be preserved. 

Question: I appreciate that the board has to make tough decisions that will impact people and that this is challenging (I don't envy that aspect of your job).  I am asking these questions out of general concern for my child and the community as a whole. I have had good experiences thus far with the teachers and administration (I work hard to fund raise for programs and help out the district in many ways).  I know the redistricting committee will be meeting several times, but as usual, I am unable to attend due to work. I have asked that my husband take time out of his work schedule to attend some of the committee meetings; but will we be able to contribute alternative ideas or participate, or is it simply a "we are allowed to listen" like at the board meeting?  I can think of several "phased" plans and alternative ideas that may be advantageous that I would be happy and willing to contribute if permitted.  Thank you both for your time. I will continue to sift through the minutes and do my best to try and separate fact from rumor/gossip, but I hope that you and the board also have compassion and understanding that this is challenging and I would appreciate that the board do their best to keep the community informed and not rush into decisions to "meet timelines".  I agree it has to be done, but can we do it "smartly" vs. rushing into quick decisions and potentially regretting the impact that it ultimately has on our kids and community.
Answer: The Ad Hoc Committee meetings are a designation of the Board of Education and there will be no public comment.  Parent forums are being planned for informational purposes and dialogue.

 

December 7, 2016

Question: A plan for redistricting is in the works and it seems like it is going to be determined with three meetings.  A 23 member panel was established with no asking of volunteers (parents) from Flanders, except one.  So out of 23 members, one of those members is affected.  We purposely sent our son to pre-school @ Flanders so he would meet his friends that he would spend his time @ Flanders with until the 4th grade.
Answer: Thanks for attending the Board of Education meeting this past Monday night and for sharing your thoughts.   Volunteers for the committee were solicited through the PTA's at the schools.  I charged the Principals with identifying two volunteer parents from each building.  With the need for varied stakeholders working together on this process, and forming a committee that was of manageable size, we worked to identify participants in the best manner possible.  We understand that many people would like to partake in the decision making, but to do effective committee work a group of this size (23) is optimal.

Question: Also it seems a little biased that 2 BOE members are on the redistricting committee. They are going to be voting for the final plans of the redistricting, so it seems the vote is already ahead by 2.  My wife and I have written a letter voicing all of our concerns and we would like to know where to send this to.
Answer: This committee is what you call an 'Ad Hoc' Board Committee.  It is designated by the Board of Education and, whenever done, there are board members that take part. This is the same as the other sub-committees of the board that meet regularly.  Feel free to send your letter addressed to myself or the Board Chair, Tim Hagen. We will add it to others that we have received.

Question: It has been brought to my attention that there are a number of children that go to the three different elementary schools that do not live in those specific areas, where the parents provide transportation. I think that should be the first action taken before any redistricting.   I do not think it is fair that a child has to switch schools because someone from another district is coming into their school.  If that is not going to change than we would be able to provide our own transportation and pick which school our child will go to.
Answer: There are a handful of parents that do request intra-district transfers between schools. Any approved transfers usually occur over the summer after we have done final review of class sections at each school.  If an intra-district transfer is granted, parents are fully responsible for their child's transportation to and from school as you mentioned.  I can assure you that after redistricting any requested transfers would most likely be minimal as we make sure the numbers (approximately 300 students) remain balanced across the three schools.

Question: I am hoping the committee meetings will be more of an open forum where we can voice our concerns. After all we are taxpayers and our children need to be heard.
Answer: The three committee meetings are not an open forum. They are posted committee meetings of the Board of Education and do not allow for any public comment.  There will be the opportunity for parent forums in the near future to allow for discourse with the community.  I agree that this is not an easy task, and balancing our three elementary schools is in the best interest of all children to provide every K-4 student in East Lyme with fairness and equity in their educational experience.

 

December 15, 2016

Question: First, we are disappointed to learn this second hand, and as a family that is within the draft affected region of the district, we feel we should have been notified by the BOE directly.  We understand the communication has been improved via the website and thank you for that, but there still a lot rumors circulating throughout the district (we suggest adding an FAQ page which would be helpful to parents to understand rationale and ongoing discussion).  We question why this was discussed months ago and was only recently announced?  In addition, can you clarify how the committee was selected?  As interested parents, we would have definitely been eager to participate, but it seems we were not afforded the opportunity.  We wonder how varied are the opinions on the committee?  Is everyone in support of the initiative?  As you know, it is important to have a diversity of ideas for a committee to develop the best plan possible.
Answer: It’s my hope you had a chance to read both of the letters I have previously sent out to parents regarding the Board of Education’s plan to redistrict.   If not, I would encourage you to go to the main page of our district website and access the link that is present.  You will find information that may be helpful with additional questions that you have.  Redistricting has been discussed previously by the Board of Education, but was never acted upon over recent years, as the district worked to decide whether a school should be closed or not due to enrollment.  Now that three elementary schools will remain, the Board of Education is moving forward with redistricting.  You asked about the committee that was formed.  The Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee is a group of over 20 members consisting of teachers, para-professionals, administrators, board members, impacted parents, and the Transportation Director.  For parent participation I asked the schools to reach out to the PTA’s and identify participants. 

Question: We understand there are many competing interests within the district and that you must attempt to make the best decision for all.  Above all, we feel that the well-being of the students both academically and emotionally is of utmost importance.  Unfortunately, it seems the students’ well-being didn’t seem to be the top priority as we heard about bus routes, finances and infrastructure during the most recent BOE meeting, but not much mention about the well-being of the impacted students other than having equitable class sizes.  There were some instances during the meeting that led me to believe the BOE is not taking this issue as seriously as it should as there was laughter when asked if the redistricting was negotiable.  Obviously this type of reaction was disappointing to see as a parent.  Secondly, friends of ours were told by a BOE member that the children will “deal with it just fine; the parents are the ones with the issues”.  We found that completely insensitive to the concerns we have and whole-heartedly disagree with that position.  We know all too well the stress that this change will have on our children.  How do you plan to address the impact on the children?  It will be important to have adequate communication to the children along with a well-designed support system to enable them to cope with the changes.
Answer: The rationale for redistricting is about balance, equity, and providing the best possible education to every K – 4 student.  Student well-being is the top priority and having balanced schools and experiences is the groundwork for the full K-12 experience that our children receive here in East Lyme.  You asked how we plan on addressing the impact on children, and that work is something that our committee is focused on.  Additionally, you may or may not be aware, but we currently have Flanders School at capacity with close to 350 students, and Haynes and Niantic Center have far less numbers with many open classrooms. 

Question: We have seen the draft map on the website as well as powerpoint slides indicating enrollment numbers across the schools.  Those slides indicate up to 200 students would be moved to a new school.  Compound that with friends left behind and that means almost every student in the district is impacted in one way or another.  We also heard rumors that certain neighborhoods might be picked for redistricting (again ours was mentioned), which could lead to longer bus rides and is not an ideal way to distribute the population.  We understand the population imbalance across schools, but is that really enough to warrant redistricting immediately?  Are two or three more students in Flanders classes negatively impacting their education?  We also ask you, what other options are you considering?  We feel the best option if redistricting is truly necessary is a phased approach, where students already enrolled would remain, but any new students starting would then be put into the redistricted school?  That would minimize the impact to existing students and teachers.  Additionally, does East Lyme really need three elementary schools?  If BOE goal is to balance students and curriculum, it would be easier to accomplish in two instead of three schools while saving money (reduced footprint) at the same time.  Have you considered eliminating enrollment of out of district students or putting them all at the underpopulated schools?  Have you considered preventing students in current NCS region from attending Flanders or vice versa? 
Answer: Regarding rumors that certain neighborhoods might be picked for redistricting, the committee will study changed route options while working with the bus company to identify the most prudent boundary lines that balance our schools and ensure bus routes are not extended in duration.  In fact, many runs should be shorter in duration with newly adjusted boundaries.   We are not simply picking certain neighborhoods as you mentioned. 

Question: We have already been negatively affected by the BOE policies when in 2015 we were denied enrollment into Flanders because of a BOE policy that stipulated residence within 90 days of enrollment, even though we were actively building our home and willing to self-transport our child.  Our first grader was forced to not only change schools but had to do so mid-year, putting unnecessary hardships and stress on her.  We saw this firsthand.  The proposed redistricting will undoubtedly do the same, potentially worse, as her newly made best friend is on the opposite side of the line.  She is becoming aware of the potential new school for next year and is already showing and expressing signs of angst.  Both of these situations are similar in that the outcome is not in the student’s best interest.  We are not saying the BOE has no regard for the well-being of students, but we think it needs to move to the top of the priority list and be the main consideration during any discussion of redistricting. Of course as parents, we want what is best for our children, but this by no means infers we are opposed to any change, we just ask you really consider the pros and cons of any proposed change.  As you know, each school has its own personality and culture. We chose to live in East Lyme for the schools and specifically chose our neighborhood to attend Flanders as it has for the past 30+ years.  Our girls our excited to part of Flanders and we can’t think of them attending anywhere else even only being here for a short time.  They have made many friends and the teachers have been so welcoming.  They truly are part of the school.  The impact of redistricting and stripping my daughters of friendships and sending to another school (3rd school by grade 3) where we have no acquaintances and making them start at ground zero again, would have a profound impact on their emotional well-being and obviously affect their academic progress.  We can barely handle the thought of telling them that we have to change schools again and they will have to leave their friends again.  There will be many tears shed.
Answer: The Ad Hoc Redistricting Committee is considering all aspects of this most important and emotional venture.  Their work will be diligent and we will propose a plan to the Board of Education by February 28th, 2017.
 

 

April 25, 2018

Question: I am writing as a parent of two Flanders students and a member of the Orchards community (we live at 3 Hickory Ct).  I want to urge you and your board to reconsider your choices for fairly redistricting our town.  I know that redistricting is a complex task, and that you and the board have discussed the many issues at length, but I would strongly encourage the board to weigh more heavily the stated goal of having boundary lines that are are as natural as possible, as they engender a sense of fairness, which is so very important.  Other than "Alternative 2" in the March 12 presentation by Milone and MacBroom, the lines around our neighborhood are very clearly "gerrymandered" (if you will) to exclude us from the Flanders side.  I know the reason for this is in order to optimize various metrics that Milone/MacBroom was asked to prioritize, but in doing so, I think the most important goal, which is to draw relatively natural boundary lines, was pushed too far down the priority list.  By having such a deep and awkward concavity drawn around the Orchards, for the sake of balancing projected numbers for future households that may or may not one day exist in our neighborhood, a community of real families who are already here right now are feeling quite targeted and unfairly treated. I hope you and the board will take this note into consideration and at least reconsider something more like "Alternative 2" in your ongoing deliberations.  (BTW, the redistricting website that you linked from your last letter seems to be down at the moment.) Thank you for your very hard work on this matter.
Answer: Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this matter.  We will be sure to share this information with the Board of Education. 

 

Question: I am writing with some questions and concerns regarding the redistricting plans. I attended and spoke at the community forum but feel as my questions regarding bussing weren't answered. The response was that bus routes were going to be considered at a later date. In your presentation as part of the BOE Redistricting Criteria you stated "Limit student travel time to conform to Board policy". I live in the Spring Rock Road/Green Valley Lake Rd neighborhood. Our neighborhood is at the edge of town. We are currently 3.7 miles from Flanders Elementary. Last year we were told that the proposed bus route would be similar to the Middle School bus route and our children would be bussed down Route 1, past Flanders, right on 161 and to Lillie B. Haynes. As proposed, our bus route would extend to 5.7 miles or 35% longer. Redistricting without considering bus routes is not acceptable. Our bus stop is the exact mid point of the bus route and my children get home at 4:07. When will they get home with the longer bus route? The bus is an unstructured environment and the town should be looking to shorten bus routes, not lengthen them. I- 95 is a dangerous stretch of highway with multiple traffic accidents every year. This then puts all the highway traffic onto Route 1, our bus route. Our neighborhood bus is always significantly impacted by highway accidents. This again lengthens the bus time for our children. Other bus routes, north on Rte 161 doesn't have the same traffic concerns that Rte 1 has. Yet those neighborhoods were never considered to be redistricted. Why is this?  
Answer: Millone and McBroom’s redistricting recommendations are based on comprehensive studies for current and future enrollment and growth rates across town.  Additionally, larger ‘community based’ neighborhoods were looked at to keep children who might be moved together, rather than a version of one side of the street goes to a different school than the other side. 

Question: Neighborhoods such as "the Birds", Egret Lane, etc are only 2.1 miles from Lillie B., even Darrows Ridge is 4.4 miles from Lillie B. These bus routes are significantly shorter than ours would be. And my next point is those neighborhoods bus routes wouldn't drive the children past the front door of Flanders. 
Answer: The proposed areas (i.e. Spring Rock and the Orchards) would not be driving past Flanders School.  The proposed busing route would travel down Dean Rd.

 

Question: I've been hearing again and again about keeping "community schools". Again in your BOE Redistricting Criteria you stated "Ensure neighborhood school communities". Having to drive PAST a school to get to another one is the opposite of feeling part of a community and more of being isolated from one. A few questions I would like answered:

  • How much longer will my childrens' bus route be when redistricted to Lillie B.?  Answer: Proposed route times are being generated and will be shared in the near future.
  • What will their bus route be?  Answer: Proposed bus routes are being generated and will be shared in the near future.
  • Why was our neighborhood, which sits on the edge of town, and already has a longer bus route chosen to redistrict and other neighborhoods closer to Lillie B not chosen?  Answer: Spring Rock has been identified based on the recommendations of the firm that did a comprehensive review of enrollment, births, and future trends across the town. 
  • Please explain how driving past a school, for both the children and adults, will allow us to feel as if we are part of a community school?   Answer:This is not proposed to occur as stated above. 

 

Question: Our neighborhood is set to be moved from Flanders to Lillie B.  I was at the redistricting meeting a few weeks ago and have some concerns. First . . . I was informed by some peers at the meeting of what our bus route would be.  The gentleman at the meeting from the company that was hired to make recommendations did not seem to be knowledgeable of the bus routes, and it didn't appear that there was a representative from the bus company there.  We are about as far out to Old Lyme as you can get, with the town line practically being in our back yard.  Apparently our bus route would be straight down Route 1, pass right by Flanders, and then a right onto 161 to reach Lillie B.  That makes no sense.  Considering this route, practically every neighborhood off of 161 north of the four corners is closer to Lillie B than we are (some significantly), yet in not one scenario were any of those neighborhoods considered to be moved.  Why not?  I am concerned that our new potential bus ride is too long for elementary school aged children.  And on a side note, how horrible that these kids would see their old school every day on the way to their new school - I imagine that would be very tough on child who doesn't want to leave his/her school and friends.  
Answer: The proposed areas (i.e. Spring Rock, Tanglewood and the Orchards) would not be driving past Flanders School.  The proposed busing route would travel down Dean Rd.

 

Question: Second . . . couldn't there be some way to grandfather in the current kids and their siblings to let them finish out elementary school where they are and begin the new redistricting rules with new families?  Can't it be a gradual change?  Why does it have to be all at once?  Doing it the way it is planned now, our kids will have some tough years ahead - challenging times with remodeling and then immediately starting at a new school the next year.  East Lyme is an outstanding school district, that fact is known in CT.  I hope that you are making the psychological well-being of our children your first priority in trying to achieve the goal of making the numbers even at all elementary schools (and just another thought - since we are remodeling, why couldn't Flanders get an addition to accommodate all of its students rather than moving kids out to a school that is farther away?). 
Answer: An addition to Flanders School was not part of discussions with the renovations.  Additionally, grandfathering and phasing this in could be problematic with Flanders School currently being at its max for student enrollment. Additionally, the main goal of this process is to equally balance our three elementary buildings. 

Question: The map is confusing. We live on Webster Rd. My son currently attends Flanders- will this change?
Answer:  With the current draft map, Webster Rd. will remain at Flanders School.

 

May 17, 2018

Comment:  I am writing as the parent of a student who will be starting Kindergarten in 2019 and also as a member of "The Orchards" community (we live at 10 Hickory Ct).  I want to urge you and your board to reconsider your choices for a fair redistricting in our town.  It is indeed a complicated task in which many factors should be considered and I have no doubt that you and the board have discussed all of those at length and continue to do so.  Nevertheless, I would strongly encourage the board to weigh more heavily the stated goal of having boundary lines that are as natural as possible, as they engender a sense of fairness, which is very important.  Other than "Alternative 2", during the last presentation on March 12, the lines around our neighborhood are clearly "gerrymandered" to exclude us from Flanders.  I know there are reasons to do so, but during that process, a very important goal, which is to draw natural boundary lines was pushed too far down the priority list.  By having such a deep and awkward concavity drawn around "The Orchards", for the sake of balancing projected numbers for future households that may or may not one day exist in our neighborhood, a community of real families, are feeling targeted and unfairly excluded.  I hope you and the board will take this note into consideration and at least reconsider "Alternative 2" in your ongoing deliberations.   Thank you for your very hard work on this matter.

 

Elementary Schools Projects/Renovations

 

Board of Education Meeting Updates from January 8, 2018

Phasing Plan for Flanders School

Phasing Plan for Lillie B. Haynes School

Phasing Plan for Niantic Center School

O&G Design Development Estimate (Rev. 12/22/17)

Jacunski Humes Proposed Project Scope (12/15/17)

RFQ Packet for East Lyme Public Schools Elementary Alteration Projects June 5, 2017

RFQ  -  Construction Management at Risk Services for Flanders Elementary School,
Niantic Center School, and Lillie B. Haynes Elementary School

RFQ Questions and Answers from O&G

Flanders Elementary School Floor Plan

Lillie B. Haynes Elementary School Floor Plan

Lillie B. Haynes Elementary School Site Plan

Niantic Center Elementary School Floor Plan

AIA Document A133-2009 Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Construction Manager as Constructor

AIA Document A201-2007 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction


Elementary Schools Project Documentation/Notifications


Letter from Superintendent re: Renovation Update (February 13, 2018)

Town of East Lyme Existing and Proposed Debt Service - School facilities Projects (January 17, 2017)

 Elementary School Open House for Proposed Alterations on Saturday, February 11, 2017

Community Presentation: Alteration Proposal for All Three East Lyme Elementary Schools (January 17 & 19, 2017)

Elementary School Facilities Update Presentation to Elementary Staff October 3, 2016

Elementary Schools Project Update - September 12, 2016

Elementary School Project Questions and Answers

Memo from Superintendent to Elementary Schools Design Steering Committee Re: Status - 7/21/2016

Elemtary Schools Project Presentation to Board of Finance and Board of Selectman - 5/25/16

Elementary Schools Project Fact Sheet - April 7, 2016

LBH Conceptual Pland and Design Estimate
     LBH Conceptual Space Function Floor Plan (March 24, 2016)
     LBH Conceptual Site Plan Layout (April 4, 2016)
     LBH Conceptual Design Estimate (Februay 25, 2016)

Message from the ELPS Superintendent of Schools & BOE Chair re: Elementary School Project Update - March 30, 2016

Elementary School Projects Update from the Superintendent to the Board of Education - 3/14/16

Message from the ELBOE Chair and Superintendent Re: Elementary School Project Update 1/20/16

Elementary School Facilities Community Forum - Wednesday, November 18, 2015
        Community Forum Powerpoint Presentation  and  School Renderings

Conceptual Budget Costs, Site Renderings and Site Plans 10/26/2015 

Elementary Schools Timeline Presentation to the Board of Education 9/28/15

Elementary Schools Design Committee Timeline Update 09/25/15

Elementary Schools Design Committee Timeline Update 04/20/15

Design Committee's Recommendation to Board of Education 11/17/14

Results of Survey from Elementary Community Forums on 9/23, 9/24 & 9/25.


Design Steering Committee Agendas and Minutes

Meeting Date
 
Agenda
 
Minutes
 
Attachments
May 21, 2014   Agenda   Minutes   Attachments
June 4, 2014   Agenda   Minutes   Attachments
June 17, 2014   Agenda   Minutes   Attachments
August 21, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
September 4, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
September 18, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
October 2, 2014   Agenda   Minutes   Attachments
October 21, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
October 28, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
November 12, 2014   Agenda   Minutes    
Janaryy 28, 2015   Agenda   Minutes    
February 12, 2015   Agenda   Minutes    
March 26, 2015   Agenda   Minutes    
June 15, 2015   Agenda   Minutes  

Traffic Study Report

Design/Site Plan Presentation

Square Footage Presentation
 

September 9, 2015   Agenda   Minutes  

 

October 26, 2015   Agenda   Minutes  

Conceptual Budget Costs, Site Renderings and Site Plans 10/26/2015

November 18, 2015   Agenda   Minutes  

Community Forum, Flyer 6:00 p.m., at ELMS

Community Forum Powerpoint Presentation

School Renderings

November 30, 2015   Agenda   Minutes  

 

December 1, 2015       Minutes   Informal Informational Meeting
December 14, 2015   Agenda   Minutes    
January 14, 2016       Minutes   Informal Informational Meeting
January 26, 2016       Minutes   Informal Informational Meeting
February 4, 2016       Minutes   Informal Informational Meeting
Februrary 10, 2016       Minutes   nformal Informational Meeting
March 9, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
August 18, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
Sept. 7, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
             
September 20, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
October 27, 2016   Agenda       Meeting Cancelled
Nov. 1, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    Draft Conceptual Cost Estimates Dated 11/1/16
Dec. 8, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
Dec. 21, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
Dec. 29, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    
Jan. 17, 2017   Agenda   Minutes   BOE Community Presentation #1
Jan 19 2017 4:30   Agenda   Minutes   Design Steering Committee Meeting
Jan 19 2017 6:00   Agenda   Minutes   BOE Community Presentation #2
April 6, 2016   Agenda   Minutes    


 


Design Steering Committee Documentation

Charter for ELPS Design Steering Committee

Committee Membership for ELPS Design Steering Committee Meeting

Community Forum Elementary Schools Presentation 6/24/13

Facilities Vision Task  Forum Findings Report to BOE 4/23/13

     Appendix A - ELPS Priority Action List (2/13/11)
     Appendix B - ELPS Mission Statement (8/22/11)
     Appendix B - ELPS Long Range Plan Goals and Objectives (9/24/12))
     Appendix C - ELPS Facilities Vision Committee Summary (10/19/11)
     Appendix D - ELPS Feasibility Study Facilities Options (4/4/13)
     Appendix E - ELPS Community Forum Findings (10/3/12)
     Appendix F - Elementary Student Survey Findings (10/12/12)
     Appendix F - Middle School Student Survey Findings (9/5/12)
     Appendix G - Elementary Teacher Survey Findings 6/18/12



Elementary Schools Design Committee Questions & Answers
 

Elementary Schools Project Fact Sheet - April 7, 2016

Question:   What is the rationale for only looking at two school options in our town?  Whose mandate is this?
Answer:   The Design Steering Committee spent countless meetings over the years looking at the various school options.  You can access all of the information, meeting minutes, etc., on our website under the elementary school projects.  There is no mandate with a two or three school option.  It was the final recommendation of the committee to go with two schools mainly due to elementary enrollment numbers of 800 students.  

Question:  Have plans ever been considered for a three school option?  If so, why isn't this not an option?
Answer:  All options, number of schools, etc., were thoroughly vetted through the committee work over the years.  
 
Question:  Do you believe the priority is to have newer buildings rather than the ideal educational setting?
Answer: The priority is both and we can provide an ideal educational setting with two schools. Additionally, we are being fiscally responsible and finding a balance between need and cost.

Question:  The website only discusses parent parking spaces, not total parking and our student count includes LEARN and Creative Playschool. We include those students because this is an issue of small school culture versus large school culture. Would you like to clarify your position about whether these programs will remain in the remodeled LBH building? If you do, we will adjust the website accordingly.
Answer:  Regarding the parking spaces, if you reference the single handout that was provided at Monday night’s BOE meeting showing the new parking and car/bus drop off arrangement, you will see down in the lower right hand corner that the total proposed number of parking spaces is 218.   Regarding programs such as LEARN and Creative Playschool, there is no decision that has been made as to where they will be located.  As I’ve stated, those are discussions and decisions that need to be made collectively in the future, and could change pending any interest from LEARN or other educational organizations in obtaining space at NCS.  Additionally, we don’t know what our future enrollment will look like.  At this time, we are using this year’s K-4 population numbers (463 students total – combined NCS and LBH).  The other programs may or may not be present at LBH in the future, but renovating our largest structure continues to provide us with the best options to make very important decisions that are in the best interest of our students and the future of our schools, programs, and partnerships with organizations such as LEARN.    

Question: What is the rationale behind moving children to LBH before construction is complete versus leaving them at NCS until construction is complete? The second question concerns play spaces on the LBH rendering. Since Integrated Pre-K requires a separate play space, is one of the two on the rendering for Integrated? Can you also tell us the square footage of the two play spaces?
Answer:  Regarding the rationale behind moving children to LBH before construction….first and foremost this is one of the ideas that will be discussed and vetted.  As I stated this past Monday evening, no decision has been made on this.  It warrants further discussion.  It is an option that can be done due to the current available space at LBH (101,819 sq ft).  It has to be weighed against the other options of using portables, or attempting to split LBH children between Flanders and NCS for two years while LBH is completely empty and undergoes renovations.  By doing this last option, you still would require portables at either Flanders or NCS to house all children.  Remember that we need 160,000 sq. ft of space for a combined 813 students (today’s numbers) and the current Flanders and NCS structures combined only have a total of 117,570 sq. ft of space.  That leaves us with a need for an additional 42,000 sq. ft of needed student space if LBH is emptied for two years during construction.  Regarding the pre-k play space there is a designated area in the rendering you received Monday night for children to use, which would also be in the area that K students would be located.  I don’t currently have the sq. ft. number, but the existing play area that is present in that location does not change in sq. ft.  As for other play spaces, with the information I have at this time there is no change other than the idea of a 44 car overflow parking area taking up some grass space.  That could become a paved area which could be plowed and used during the winter (and other warmer months as well) for children to play outside.  Therefore, having that new space would actually add play space to the existing footprint during the winter months because it could be chained off as a play area and only used for school events when necessary (obviously no play would be allowed when used as a parking area).  It also could be eliminated from the proposal as the senior center parking and the church across the street can be used as overflow.    

Question:  You have mentioned your experience in Montville. Was that a folding of an existing school into a school under construction? Or was it renovating a school with the original students in it? As I am sure you are aware, many parents move to East Lyme in spite of high taxes to attend our schools. Montville may not be a perfect analogy.
Answer: Regarding Dr. Charles E. Murphy School in Montville where I was a principal for 6 years, it was not a folding of an existing school into that school.  It was a school of 500+ students that went through a complete building renovation as proposed with LBH. 
 
Question: What exactly will be presented to the BOS and BOE? I would think that they would like to see a school closed ASAP, so have you actually already decided portables will be used, or is there still a chance NCS will remain opened during construction? When I asked the architect about portables versus keeping NCS open he said that he had been at most of the steering committee meetings and was under the impression that Mr. Nickerson wanted NCS closed ASAP. 
Answer: No decision has been made yet as to whether NCS would be closed beginning in 2017-2018. As I mentioned last night, discussions on the construction process will be the next step and would be a collaborative effort to identify the best option out of the many scenarios that we have available to us.

Question: How to you plan to get this through referendum. There will not be support from people in Niantic who do not have children because they will not want to see NCS turned back to the town for whatever the town wants to do with it. You will not get support from Flanders parents who will not be guaranteed any changes to their school that they wouldn't get without the referendum. 
Answer: I disagree. I have received multiple emails from community members who do not have children in the schools supporting the newly proposed plan. Our entire East Lyme and Niantic community needs to fully understand what could transpire if this does not pass at referendum (NCS would eventually be closed and students would move into LBH with no renovations occurring in the near future). All parents across our district also need to understand that we are in desperate need of renovations, and with the newly adopted project plan we have the best shot at this passing at referendum. 
 
Question:   What is the justification for keeping a school open that will need to be knocked down and rebuilt entirely (Flanders) over one that could be much less expensively remodeled and expanded? By keeping NCS on ELPS could retain a school at a lower cost and gain more field space when Flanders is knocked down.
A: Answer: The Design Steering Committee and previous Vision Committee have thoroughly vetted all scenarios, taking into account State reimbursement and needs of the district. I would suggest you take a look at our website, as all minutes from past meetings on the elementary projects are present. Reading this information might help provide a clearer picture of the decisions that committee members have made.

Question:  Can you please tell me why you feel we need to move the NCS children to Lillie B Haynes in 2017 while renovations are on going and a plan hasn't even been put in place or voted upon? I don't understand why you would not consider leaving the school open and operational until the plans and renovations are complete.  How can you make a decision based on what might occur?
Answer: As I stated last night the next step is to engage in conversations around what will be the best scenario for the renovation process.  No decision has been made yet, as we have many options that need to be considered.  LBH is large enough to accommodate all of NCS.  Closing NCS at the start of the 17-18 school year remains one of the many options that will be discussed through this process. 
 
Question: What is the reason for the apparent and sudden accelerated pace of your planning? It took six years to arrive at this point, but now there seems to be a rush with a whole new approach. Will you present evidence to the town of your due diligence?
Answer: The planning, discussion, and vetting for the different school project scenarios is work that has occurred over the last few years. The recent board adopted plan is based on the fact that the cost to do two schools at once is not financially feasible and the town has no plans for the use of Lillie B. Haynes. The collaborative work that now needs to occur is how we go about renovating Lillie B Haynes (phased approach, use of portables, vacate Lillie B Haynes splitting kids between Flanders and NCS with portables). 
 


Question: Who has ultimate responsibility for deciding how to dispose of school properties – the BOE or the BOF? This is unclear.
Answer: All school buildings are the property of the town. Therefore, they have the ultimate responsibility for deciding how to dispose of a property. 
 


Question: How many additional classrooms will need to be constructed at Lillie B. Haynes to support our students at their current class sizes?
Answer: None. Lillie B. Haynes is double the size of Niantic Center School, and we have many open classrooms at NCS currently. Additionally, we have many open rooms at Lillie B. Haynes and can easily accommodate all of NCS without adding any additional classrooms. 

Do you plan to house children at LBH in portable classrooms during construction? If portables are used, instead of NCS remaining open during construction, what provisions will be made for these children to travel between them in inclement weather multiple times a day? What security measures will be in place?
Answer: If we only have LBH students in that building when renovations take place we would not need portables and can phase the construction process. We can also combine NCS and LBH in the LBH structure and still do a phased approach. That is one scenario. Regarding the use of portables, students would need to travel outside to access the school during lunch, specials, etc. It would be similar to when they go outside for recess traveling in and out of buildings. Inclement weather can and would be an issue we would have to contend with. We would implement the same security measures that we use when students are outside of the building for any reason (i.e. recess). 
 


Question: Given the increase in enrollment at Lillie B. Haynes, what impact does this have on support services such as art, technology, PE, and cafeteria? How will those classrooms, the gymnasium, and cafeteria handle twice the number of students?
Answer: We would not be adding twice the number of students to LBH, as their current population is sitting at 290 and NCS is 170. Regarding support services we would adjust schedules and staffing as necessary and adjust lunch waves. Class sizes would remain the same, and there would be in increase in grade level sections. The Lillie B Haynes structure can easily accommodate the combined number of students between schools.
 
Question:  What were the driving points with the new plan?
Answer: Driving points with the new plan consisted of the following:

  • The cost of doing two schools at once (over 80 million before state reimbursement) was substantially impactful to tax payers and would double the town debt

  • The town no longer has a vision or use for the Lillie B. Haynes structure

  • The Niantic Center property provides the most options if returned to the town

  • There remains a need for two schools that represent a combined 160K Sq. Ft of space

  • Renovating our largest structure (LBH) provides a new school building for the most elementary students first (combined NCS and LBH population)

  • We maintain a ‘campus setting’ with LBH in walking distance to the Middle School.  This provides increased opportunities for sharing student activities, sharing staffing between buildings, and in the case of an emergency either school can be evacuated and students can be housed in the neighboring building.

Question:  Who were the parties that developed the new plan?
Answer: Let me be clear that there was never an ‘Ad Hoc’ committee that was formed. I brought a recommendation back to the Design Steering Committee who reviewed the changed plan.  My recommendation was based on the Board of Education’s directive to investigate a cheaper option for our school projects, as doing two schools at once (NCS and Flanders) was too much money.  At various times I informally met and talked with different individuals including Dr. Tim Hagen, Bill Derry, Dr. Jack Reynolds, Wayne Frazier, Dr. John Whritner, Mark Nickerson, Camille Alberti, Lisa Picarazzi, Kevin Seery, John Rhodes, Holly Cheeseman, and Anna Johnson.  This was done to better understand how we were able to pass the new Middle School years ago, and also understand what our town and tax payers could feasibly afford.  Upon informally gathering information, ideas, and thoughts I brought forward a cheaper alternative that immediately meets the needs of the most elementary students and is fiscally responsible.  Additionally, I felt that this revised plan was something that has a solid chance of passing at referendum.  We must keep in mind that the Middle School building (which was much cheaper than the two-school option we previously had) passed by only a few votes and the economy was in a much better place back then.  Additionally, due to the fact that the town now has no plans or use for the Lillie B. Haynes structure, we have reverted back to what was the first original plan created by the Facilities Vision Task Forch to close Niantic Center School.  

Question: How will this new plan actually roll out?
Answer: The plan will roll out with it being presented to the Board of Selectmen (May).  We will initiate community and parent input into the construction process.  Many parents have voiced concern with portable classrooms.  That is one option, and we have the other options of renovating LBH via a phased approach with only LBH students present or with a combined LBH and NCS student base.  We will collaboratively look at these options, take in continued feedback, and make a decision that is in the best interest of all children.  

Question: What environmental studies have been done on hazardous materials at LBH? 
We would like to see a printed copy of that report and how those hazardous materials are going to be mitigated.  If there is friable asbestos we want to know the plans for containing it and the plans to ensure the students in the building won’t be exposed.
Answer:  There have been no environmental studies associated with a renovation project that have been done on hazardous materials at LBH as of yet.  That would all take place prior to and during construction.  Please remember that friable asbestos can only be abated when no students are present.  
 
Question: How do you plan to properly vet all construction workers and delivery persons?  Will they all undergo background checks and fingerprinting?
Answer: School security remains a top priority.  When a phased approach to construction is done, the area under renovation is sealed off so there is no access to the other parts of the building.  The school remains secure and a locked facility at all times.  The only individuals allowed in the building would be the construction manager if/when he/she was coming in for a meeting.  That individual would follow the normal protocol of signing in and showing ID as necessary.  Additionally, any delivery person entering the building would also need to follow current protocols that are in place. 
 
Question: Can you provide the analysis of current enrollment versus projected enrollment and whether it accounts for all the new subdivisions and their placement within the current districts?
Answer: Regarding the analysis of enrollment, if you contact my assistant she can provide you with a sheet showing our current enrollment across the district as well as the NESDEC report we have that shows future projections.  You cannot necessarily factor in new subdivisions because there is no way to tell if young families that have school-aged children are moving in or older individuals with no children.  It would purely be an assumption.    
 
Question: The architect mentioned that LBH is high in square footage. Was the old plan reimbursed at a higher percentage?
Answer: Any and all plans we have looked at were at the 43%.  I don't have an answer specific to the square footage, but I do know that the two school option was looking at enrollments of 400 students.   
Question: Regarding your question earlier this week about the collaborative meeting minutes that you referenced:
Answer: There are no minutes as the informal discussions with various constituents across our district and the town were just that...informal. There were no agendas, there was no decision making or action, it was informational only for me to do as the Board of Education had directed me to do. That was to investigate a cheaper option for our school projects as doing two schools at once was too much money. Upon informally gathering information, ideas, and thoughts, along with using the previous six years of work and studying of various school configurations, I brought forward a cheaper alternative to the Design Steering Committee that immediately meets the needs of the most elementary students first and is fiscally responsible.

 
Question: Can you provide the analysis of current enrollment versus projected enrollment and whether it accounts for all the new subdivisions and their placement within the current districts?
Answer: Regarding the analysis of enrollment if you contact my assistant she can provide you with a sheet showing our current enrollment across the district as well as the NESDEC report we have that shows future projections. You cannot necessarily factor in new subdivisions because there is no way to tell if young families that have school-aged children are moving in or older individuals with no children. It would purely be an assumption. 
  
Question: The architect mentioned that LBH is high in square footage, was the old plan reimbursed at a higher percentage?
Answer: Any and all plans we have looked at were at the 43%. I don't have an answer specific to the square footage, but I do know that the two school option was looking at enrollments of 400 students. 
  
Question: Do you have an open space comparison between FL and LBH (prior and post renovation)?
Answer: Open space comparison meaning playground area? Interior of the building? Which are you referring too?
 
Question: Are we maxed out on magnet school enrollment, if not do you anticipate more families will enter the lotteries if they are unhappy with the new plan?
Answer: Regarding Magnet Schools we are not maxed out. No - regarding more families entering the lotteries. I think it is the complete opposite, and if we don't renovate our schools parents may look elsewhere. 
  
Question: There are rumors of a shift in principals due to Dr. Miko's impending retirement, if true this information should be released to parents asap in the interest of transparency.
Answer: I will release any and all information regarding David Miko's replacement at the appropriate time.  
 
Question: This is the most important one- the CIP includes 34 million for the schools project, the architect estimated LBH at 34-35 million - where is the 1.5 million for FL coming from?
Answer: CIP would most likely need to be adjusted. Thanks for sharing this as I will look into it.
 
Question: With only 1 gymnasium how will all classes get PE? - Our district is already very low in minutes per week as compared to state BOE recommendation.
Answer: As mentioned during the tour of LBH we will need to look at the entire school schedule and adjust as necessary to ensure we maximize student time within PE, Art, Music, etc.
 
Question: If enrollment were to continue to decline and FL only has a need for say 250 students in 5-7 years what will the BOE do? - I imagine we cannot have a tiny school and an enormous one.
Answer: The BOE would need to assess any enrollment changes and make decisions years down the road to work at maintaining as close a balance in populations as possible.

Question: You reverted back to the original school plan which is now the revised school plan. Who decided on this original plan and when? Were the other scenarios which were vetted through the community evaluated and ranked in order to select the next best option?
Answer: The Facilities Vision Task Force and Design Steering Committee have been the groups that have made final decisions on the school plans. The Design Steering Committee forwards final plan recommendations to the Board of Education. All plans and variations have been discussed over the years. If you look at the ELPS ‘Fact Sheet’ on our website you can see some of the key dates where decisions were made, ranked, and moved forward.

Question: You indicate that Plan A to renovate Niantic Center School (NCS) and rebuild Flanders was found to be too expensive and that every possible scenario was vetted. When and with whom were every possible scenario vetted? I cannot find any information on that process. Was a scenario that involves phasing construction at NCS and Flanders considered? This scenario will be less expensive and may be completed with minimal tax increase (depending on reductions in the debt burden over the next several years). Wouldn’t this scenario meet with less resistance and also maintain a high standard of education in town?
Answer: The Facilities Vision Task Force and Design Steering Committee vetted all different scenarios and possibilities as well as impacts on state funding for the projects. You can go to our district website and click on the link for the elementary school projects. All meetings, discussions, and actions are there from the years of discussions.The concept of Flanders and NCS is not what the board has chosen to move forward with. The reasons for this decision are noted in my PowerPoints and the Board of Education meeting minutes. There are multiple reasons noted for moving forward with LBH rather than NCS.  

Question: You state that the town no longer has a use for LBH. This seems contrary to our town needs. As the town population continues to grow, town government will grow as well. With this in mind and given the fact that the town needs new offices, as well as a new police department, why doesn’t the political will exist to repurpose LBH? LBH is an ideal location for community services. In addition to preschool, LEARN, and coastal connections, other town services may also be considered for location at LBH. Such services include another gymnasium for parks and recreation programs, expansion of the senior center and/or library. Wouldn’t offering an option that many town residents will benefit from increase the chance of a positive outcome at referendum?
Answer: The town has indicated that there is no plan for use of LBH. At our Community Forum back on November 18th, 2015, this was a major concern voiced by many, as the town could not articulate a future use for LBH. Tax payers want a plan and options for a school building’s potential return to the town. NCS provides multiple options. I can’t speak for the town on why there is no political will to repurpose LBH. I do know it would cost a substantial amount of money to turn LBH into town offices, etc. and it has been stated that there is no need to move the current town hall from its existing location.  

Question: You state that the revised school plan has a good chance of being approved at referendum based on the middle school referendum. Have you considered the fact that there were more children enrolled in the public school system at that time, and the older population that lacks school-aged children has increased? The demographics have changed and what impact will this have on the referendum?
Answer: Good question, and yes, I’m well aware of what you have stated and that is why I researched the previous project (middle school) cost and process. The change in demographics (older population that now exists) is one of the precise reasons why we are going with a cheaper alternative. We have a better shot at passing the referendum with the Board of Ed. adopted plan that is in place.  
 
Question: Since the town will be embarking on a long term capital improvement plan, shouldn’t renovations to the schools be included in order to address other town needs? Once the NCS property is sold and redeveloped, that will reduce the availability of space for the town to consider when developing its long term capital improvements plan.
Answer: There is currently 34 million projected for the elementary school projects in the Capital Improvement Plan for the year 2019-2020. This is in preparation for the proposed project. That number will be adjusted as necessary next year when C.I.P. is reviewed again. It is not my intent to have to sell or redevelop NCS. I would like to see it repurposed by an outside organization such as LEARN or another educational group, which might also allow for our Coastal Connections Program to move into the building.
 
Question: How do you plan to support the unique programs that NCS has developed which enrich the lives of the community in addition to the students? These programs include reading at Crescent Point, celebrating veteran’s day at the memorial, ACES at the beach, and the district-wide stormwater classroom for third graders.
Answer: Once LBH and NCS combine it will be the job of the principal (Mrs. DeLoreto) and her staff to determine which programs will implemented. I’m confident that a combination of both will come forth. Hence, my rationale for moving Mrs. DeLoreto to LBH so she understands both schools, staff, and programs and can bring forth the best from both schools in the years to come.
 
Question: Has anyone ever considered the impact of the programs identified in Q6 on the student’s test scores and overall state ranking of NCS (9th ranked elementary school)?
Answer:   All three of our elementary schools are schools of distinction and run outstanding programs that directly correlate with student performance and engagement. As stated above, Mrs. DeLoreto and her staff will determine the best combination of programs that continue to meet the needs of all children providing unique experiences in all facets.
 
Question: Has anyone considered the relative value added by the programs identified in Q6 to the town’s investment in education? For instance, these programs which get students out and active, and are part of the curriculum don’t require an additional expense for transportation. Wouldn’t this type of in-kind service be seen as a co-match since it increases the value of education with no increased cost to the town?
Answer: We as a district consider the value of all programs (those that are part of the curriculum and the many that are not), and our principals and staff put forth activities that provide varied experiences for all children. I believe our town sees that and understands the inherent value given the success of our school district.
 
Question: Will the BOS have a similarly short time to review, hear deliberations, and vote on the plan as the BOE did? How much time will the BOS have between hearing public comment and voting on the plan?
Answer: We are still working on the timeline for presentation to the BOS and BOF. Also a Community Forum will need to take place, which will be planned and a date will be articulated in the near future.
 
Question: If there are no plans for the NCS property, why does the town take every opportunity to close the school (examples: through the budget process for the last 5 years, deals made without public input, and a threat to close NCS even if the referendum does not pass)? Why is closing NCS worth creating a plan that is not the best option for educating our young learners and one that will cost the taxpayers more in the long term? In the past, the town estimated that closing NCS would save about $550,000 per year. That is only 1.2% of the total education budget and does not account for those costs that would transition with the students.
Answer: I can’t speak for the town and threats to close NCS over the last 5 years. What I can tell you is there is a current surplus of 25 available classrooms across three elementary schools. We have a need for 160,000 square feet of space within two schools. We currently have three schools and over 200,000 square feet of space. It is not fiscally responsible as a district to continue to maintain so much extra square footage that is not needed. Additionally, the estimated dollar figure in closing NCS is approximately $822,000.
 
Question: You state that this decision to close NCS and renovate Lillie B. Haynes was made based on “informal” meetings with a number of elected officials. Since there are regulations that prohibit town government from interfering with education, how can the public be assured that the town government did not persuade the decision to move forward with a less popular revised school plan?
Answer: The Board of Education directed me to identify a cheaper project alternative as doing two schools at once (NCS and FL) was too expensive. As the Superintendent of Schools I gathered relevant information from multiple sources, used all of the work and vetting of school scenarios that the Vision Task Force and Design Steering Committee previously put together, and made a logical recommendation that makes sense for the reasons I put forth in my PowerPoints and discussions with the Board of Education. At no time did town government persuade a decision. It’s my job and that of the Board of Education’s to move a plan forward that is in the best interest of our school district. That is why the plan going forward is a plan that our board voted on and approved.  
 
Question: The revised school plan was expedited through the BOE, why is it taking so long now to schedule the community forums?
Answer: As stated above, we are still working on timelines and a referendum date.
 
Question: The renovated LBH plan included on the website does not seem to account for an increase in cafeteria size? With additional students at LBH, how will they cycle through the cafeteria for lunch at lunch time? The students should not start lunch so early or so late, that they are hungry during learning time.
Answer: The cafeteria at LBH is the largest of the three schools. The building was a former Middle School that once provided lunch for over 800 students. A developed cycle of lunch waves will be created in the future to accommodate the combined NCS and LBH student population.
 
Question: There does not appear to be open space around the renovated LBH plan included on the website. Both NCS and Flanders have open fields for the students to run, and play soccer and football. Currently, NCS third and fourth graders are completing a marathon over the course of several weeks by running laps within the playground space. Having open space also allows for outdoor PE should the teacher choose. How will LBH accommodate for these activities?
Answer: There are two different field areas for play at LBH, and additional playground space. The proposed plan provides ample play space for children, and will actually provide additional space going from an existing 23,600 sq ft to 27,267 sq. ft. That’s an increase of 3,667 sq ft of outdoor play area for students.
 
Question: If LBH is currently too large per square foot of students and the town will receive less state reimbursement because of this, will consideration be given to demolishing a portion of the building to allow for increase outdoor play space?
Answer: We will be receiving the maximum 43% state reimbursement for LBH through this project, and renovating the largest amount of elementary school building space (101,000 sq ft). There is no plan to demolish any portion of the building. Classrooms constructed within the structure through renovation are slated to be larger than they currently are, providing more ample space for teachers, students, and programs.
Question: Why was the presentation different last night compared to the info that you had given to the BOE on Monday 23rd 2016 at the BOE meeting? You told the public at the meeting that you waited to give the info to the public until after the BOE had it in hand. I am not sure as to why it was changed.
Answer: The exact PowerPoint/packet I provided to the BOE on the 23rd was also previously given to the BOF/BOS (we sent them down from our office).  I modified the PowerPoint to fit what I wanted to present last night.  I will do the same (modify as necessary) for the Community Forum that will be set soon. 
 
Question: Why was the $22 million dollar figure used for the cost of repairing the Elementarychools (Kaestle and Boos report from 2011) when the public addressed this issue with the Board and yourself this past Monday at the BOE meeting? I also sent you and the Board Members a email with the chart and a link of the study? The proper figure for all three schools using priorities 1 - 5 (1- urgent, 2- high, 3- moderate, 4- low and 5- long term) was $14,251,000.00. You had time to fix this incorrect info.
Answer: We were in receipt of your email (myself and BOE) regarding the 22 million dollar figure.  Frankly, the more feedback I receive (and thank you for what you provided) regarding that slide it does not do any of us justice.  The numbers are from 2011, and being that it is 5 years later the numbers and building issues have grown, so the slide is misleading which I think you would agree with.  
 
Question: Why was it referenced in your slides last night that this is in the best interest of the students? While you also had a hand out in green paper (your fact sheet) that say's the BOE said that this is not in the best interest of the students. This is conflicting info for all! So which is it?
Answer: As the Superintendent of Schools and the individual who developed the PowerPoint, I believe that the plan adopted by the BOE is in the best interest of students, our district, and our future school budgets as we will be facing significant state cuts in the years ahead.   
 
Question: Why wasn't NCS broken out into its own plan to present to the boards (which I would like to remind you that the property was deemed to be the safest of all three schools by our Police Department, and also was the best to be fiscally responsible coming in at roughly $26 million)? This project might be able to be done without the reimbursement of the State and if it was done it would cost the tax payers $10 million less. Curious as to what the rationale is on this?
Answer: The BOE adopted the plan to Renovate as New LBH, and refurbish FL.  That's the plan that was presented to the joint boards last night.  
 
Question: The architect confirmed last night that all three schools separately could be sent in with applications of there own to the State for reimbursement. I urge you to send in all three as this will leave options on the table if needed. What are your intentions with the filing of these projects?
Answer: You misinterpreted what he said.  He stated that we can only file one plan with the state.

Question: Can you answer a few questions about Plan B?  If the NCS students join LBH without the renovation, how many additional students will LBH and FL be able to absorb while maintaining class sizes?  Does the plan allow for growth of Integrated Pre-K? How many students can be enrolled at any one school before you need to add an assistant principal to help with federally mandated teacher evaluations?
Answer: Obviously future discussions would need to take place regarding your questions before anything was decided upon, but Flanders School is currently at capacity.  LBH would potentially absorb all of NCS, but again that’s a question for next year and if the referendum does not pass.  As stated before, maintaining current class sizes is a priority of mine and that of the BOE.  Integrated Pre-K would need to be discussed in the future, as well as any need for an assistant principal.  There is no set student number for when an assistant might be needed.  We would factor in a number of different components such as teacher evaluation requirements, special education needs and programs, pre-school, and other programs that might be present within the building.  The BOE is aware of a possible need for this as am I. 

 

Question: If enrollment dips to 770, how will the FL project be paid for when we will exceed the 129 square foot/student formula with just the mega LBH? Is it in consideration that the students from FL will be folded into the mega school?Answer: I would never support one large elementary school. As discussed in the past the Design Steering Committee and Vision Committee eliminated one large school as an option. This is not something that the community is interested in. Additionally, you cannot fit one large school for all students on the LBH site. Determination on how Flanders will be paid for will be discussed when we begin plans for that structure.

 Question: I would like a copy of the district's long-term school building program.Answer: Not sure what you are referring to here? We do not have a long-term school building program. Is there a different document you are thinking of?

 Question: Won't a 550 student school (including Pre-K) need an assistant principal?Answer: The correct number of total students K- 4 and Pre-K using current enrollment is 517. Not sure where 550 is coming from. There has been no discussion about having an A. Principal. That conversation is something that would need to take place in the future if we feel it is warranted.

 Question:Will class sizes be the same as they currently are? Or will they only be in line with your recently approved class size guidelines?Answer: As previously discussed, there is no plan to increase class sizes at any grade level. The board is adamant about working hard to keep them low, and I support that as long as it is fiscally possible. The class size guidelines will continue to be used to maintain an acceptable range.

 Question: How many people can the auditorium at LBH hold? How will school concerts be affected?Answer: I don’t have the exact capacity of the gym (where the stage is), but keep in mind that school used to be a MS with hundreds of students and the gym size never changed and will not change with the proposed plans. That school has the largest gym of any of the elementary schools, and can easily accommodate what is planned for. If you would like to have the exact capacity feel free to give Dr. Miko a call in the LBH office and they can provide it for you.

 Question: Why has there been no public statement concerning the false information provided by Mark Nickerson that the LBH property could not be repurposed? Why is it in the power points that NCS is the best fit to give back to the town when Mark Nickerson insists he doesn’t care either way?Answer: That is not false information, as there are varying opinions on the meeting minutes and documents from 1955 regarding the use of that land and space. NCS is the best fit to give back to the town, as it was deemed that building provides the most options for future use. Additionally, I have stated previously that having a campus setting provides additional safety for our students as LBH children or MS children can (in close walking distance) utilize the other building if an evacuation occurs.

 Have LEARN and Creative playschool been offered other placement in our schools? Have they accepted alternate placement? How will it financially impact the district if they choose not to stay in district? Why are you considering leasing classrooms to Perkins in NCS if you plan to shutter it? Do you think it is in the “best educational interests” of blind students to be offered classrooms in a school you plan to close in one year?Answer: At this time we are focused on what is in the best interest of our EL students. We will not make decisions about placements for outside organizations until after we have finalized what’s best for our own children. There is no financial impact on our district with Creative, and LEARN provides a yearly tuition of 61K which goes directly to the town. Keep in mind that we are working to expand partnerships with LEARN at our current MS and possible use of the NCS structure in the future. It is not my hope to simply close down NCS, but to use if for other educational purposes. I’m not opposed to partnering with LEARN or other educational organizations such as Perkins. We want to explore all options. Perkins is not the ‘Perkins for the Blind’ that you are thinking of. This a program for special needs children which is very similar to what LEARN currently runs at LBH. Any organization or school program would be well aware of their options with the building and we would not plan on closing it if they were leasing it. As I’ve said the hope is to leave NCS as an educational building.

 Question: Do you have proof of a requested retraction submitted to both The Day and the Lyme Times for the recent article that presented the old elementary plan?Answer: I don’t know what you are referring to here. What requested retraction and who made the request?

 Question: Who will be on the committee needed to oversee the new school construction?

Answer: This is something that will be determined in the future (next year) and to my knowledge it would be a town/district developed Building Committee that would be in place to monitor the project. Question: Why do you think you will save on a librarian when closing NCS? Can a single librarian serve 500 students at the current level of education? A custodian? Won't LBH need additional help when adding 170 students and running more lunch waves? Cutting two teachers? From which grades? Water? NCS children will use just as much water when at LBH. Chartwells? Planning to still feed the 170 students? Library books? Won't the LBH library expand to allow the same amount of choice the students have now? Communications? Will we be less informed than we are now? Utilities? If you sublet NCS you will still be paying those.
Answer: The cost estimates for savings in closing NCS are just that…estimates. We cannot at this time exactly predict each of the items you listed above. With that being said, you base custodial staff on square footage of a structure, not on student numbers. A single librarian can serve 500 students. There might be a need for a support staff to work with that individual. We have factored in additional help in the cafeteria, it’s too early to tell exactly which grades two teachers would be cut at….that was ascertained from the class size projections, some library books would probably go from NCS to LBH, communication would remain the same, and as for utilities and subletting, it would be worked into a lease agreement on who would be responsible for paying them (most likely the organization leasing the structure).

Question: Have you looked at the increased costs? Transportation? You will be doubling and tripling bus routes. LEARN and Creative rent?
Answer: We will not be doubling or tripling bus routes, as the NCS buses would be incorporated into LBH and all routes would be reconfigured. We currently pay for buses for both schools now.

Question: How many classes per grade will be at LBH and what is the projected square footage of each classroom?
Answer: This has not been finalized yet. I hope to have numbers and final square footage of classrooms within the next few weeks.

Question: I am sure you have a sense of how strongly I feel that young children need time and space to run about and have free, imaginative play. I do wonder if the larger amounts of continuous open space at Flanders and NCS have a correlation to the higher test scores at those schools. I think it is well worth the BOE touring all three schools during recess with the architect to see similarities and differences. Perhaps some input from our district PE teachers would be helpful as well. When my daughter was at Creative I picked her up during LBH recess on many days. It did not seem as lively and open as the two other schools, more like a middle school recess.
Answer: I believe there is ample space for play at LBH, and if we are able to incorporate an indoor play space as discussed at a previous board meeting we would be providing students with more physical activity than we currently do at any of the schools (especially in the winter months). Having the PE teachers involved is something that we would do, as well as all teachers as the plans come together.