The Board of Finance voted unanimously August 27 to adopt additional criteria to Newtown’s Debt Management Policy, which helps inform and guide officials on the issuance, management, evaluation, and reporting on municipal debt obligations. The amendments to the policy were made by Finance Director Robert Tait following a lengthy review of past and present debt analyses, as well as an attempt to predict future borrowing patterns. The debt policy ensures that Newtown not only exclusively utilizes borrowing and the taxation for debt service or interest on that borrowing for capital projects that cannot be otherwise funded from existing revenue, but creates a system to measure the impact of that debt service and proposed borrowing on a one-year, five-year, ten- and 20-year basis.
All town offices will be closed on Monday, September 7, in honor of Labor Day . Newtown Senior Center, the schools, and C.H. Booth Library also will be closed. The transfer station on Ethan Allen Road will be closed. The offices of The Bee Publishing Company will also be closed on Monday.
Newtown’s Recovery and Resiliency Team (RRT) recently learned that a federal grant sustaining the six-member community support and intake system for those suffering posttraumatic issues following the Sandy Hook tragedy has been extended for an additional three months. RRT Community Outreach Liaison Melissa Glaser, LPC, told The Newtown Bee this week that If new grants or funding streams become available, the RRT may be able to continue its work beyond that date, or may reconfigure its personnel or scope of services to maximize its ability to serve those most in need of assistance beyond March 31. Ms Glaser also shared the results of a one-year survey of 87 families or individuals receiving services from or through the RRT.
For the second meeting in a row, the Board of Education postponed a decision on its five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) on Tuesday, September 1.
A decision is expected during the board’s next scheduled meeting, September 15.
The motion to pass the proposed CIP with additional funds in its fourth year for a boiler at Hawley Elementary School, “for redundancy and to take care of the 1921 building,” as the district’s Facilities Director Gino Faiella explained, was tabled during the meeting. The board directed Mr Faiella to determine the costs for ventilating work that was previously going to be completed with the boiler installation before the September 15 meeting.
During the Board of Education’s meeting on Tuesday, September 1, Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, shared updated enrollment data.
Dr Erardi compared enrollment information from the last day of the 2014-15 school year, June 17, and the first day this school year, Thursday, August 27, with the board.
Using Head O’ Meadow Elementary School as the example, Dr Erardi said it closed the 2014-15 school year with 316 students and it started this school year with 297 students.
Geralyn Hoerauf of Diversified Project Management presented the sixth phase of the new Sandy Hook Elementary School building project before the Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, September 1.
“As you might recall, every time we submit a phase to the State of Connecticut, we have to have that phase of construction documents and budget approved first by the Public Building and Site Commission as the building committee then you bring them to the Board of Ed,” said Ms Hoerauf.
The Phase 6 construction documents were unanimously passed by the Public Building and Site Commission during its meeting on August 25.
Police Commission Chairman Paul Mangiafico said this week that the town’s search for a person to replace Michael Kehoe as police chief is proceeding well. “It’s going very well,” Mr Mangiafico said at a September 1 Police Commission session. An executive-level personnel search committee has reviewed the ten applications for the job that were submitted, he said. Interviews will be conducted with the job candidates during September, Mr Mangiafico said. The Police Commission’s plans to hire a new chief by mid-November are “on target,” the chairman added.
Following lengthy discussion at a September 1 session, Police Commission members, serving as the local traffic authority, rejected a request from Newtown High School officials to allow limited staff access to the school in the morning via a gated emergency accessway extending from Oakview Road. NHS Principal Lorrie Rodrigue and NHS Director of Security Mark Pompano presented the proposal to Police Commission members at a heavily attended meeting. Many of those in the audience were Oakview Road area residents who expressed strong opposition to allowing limited school staff access via the emergency service road. Although the high school campus at 12 Berkshire Road covers more than 37 acres, unlike other high schools in the area, the campus has only one access point for vehicles, which extends from the west side of Berkshire Road. The campus also has a gated accessway extending from Oakview Road, but it is designed to provide emergency vehicles with alternate way to enter and exit the campus, if needed.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, responded to the state’s release of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) exam results on August 28, by calling the results “baseline data.”
The superintendent said on Monday that the new exam has no correlation with the Connecticut Mastery Test and the Connecticut Academic Performance test, which were administered in previous years.
“The SBAC test is a different assessment. It just is,” said Dr Erardi.
After reviewing the results, Dr Erardi said Newtown’s schools are “competitive with performance,” which he said indicated to him, “The district continues in a very positive way to rebuild and to recover.”
The lineup for Monday’s 54th Newtown Labor Day Parade has been provided by the Newtown Labor Day Parade Committee. The theme of this year’s parade is “Celebrating the Fine Art of Newtown,” and longtime resident and artist Ruth Newquist will serve as grand marshal.