The Stratford Board of Education appointed Newtown’s Assistant Superintendent of Schools Linda Gejda for its new assistant superintendent during a meeting on Monday, April 27. Dr Gejda responded to the news on Wednesday, April 29, saying the decision, “was a very difficult one for me. Newtown is obviously a very special community… very supportive of its school district… and I’ve been extremely privileged to work with skilled individuals…” Dr Gejda said the educators and administrators she has worked with in Newtown have always had their primary focus on the education of Newtown’s students. Sharing her excitement for the new opportunity, which she said she applied for before going through the interview process, Dr Gejda said the new position will be “a journey.” Dr Gejda was hired to serve as Newtown’s assistant principal by the Board of Education in April 2007, and she began her duties that July.
The school district and town budget proposals both passed with overwhelming support on April 28, thanks to the 3,207 voters who turned out including 75 who opted to cast absentee ballots. The final vote counts are as follows: Town budget request: 2,379 Yes vs 814 No; and School budget request: 2,246 Yes vs 939 No. According to local registrars, the budget turnout Tuesday represented 18.8 percent of the 17,099 eligible voters in town. Those voters were empowered to accept or reject a town request of $40,142,567 which includes all capital borrowing debt service for the coming fiscal year, along with a proposed school district budget of $71,587,946.
Four hours into today's budget balloting at Newtown Middle School, Republican Registrar JoAnne Albanesi had logged only 522 votes. Any registered voter or Newtown resident with at least $1,000 in taxable property on the current Grand List is eligible to vote on today's split budget proposal. Polls remain pen until 8 pm, and Ms Albanesi said that if an unregistered property owner is motivated to head to the polls, they should make contact with the moderator to arrange to cast a ballot. If approved as presented to voters at referendum, the new spending plan would represent a net reduction in taxation of 0.71 percent, with a new tax rate of 33.07 mills, down from the current rate of 33.31. A mill represents one dollar for every $1,000 in taxable property.
The antiquated Route 34 bridge positioned atop Stevenson Dam, which links Monroe to Oxford, will be closed to traffic for a 90-hour period to allow for maintenance work on the hydroelectric dam at the Housatonic River, which has been in service for nearly a century. The bridge’s closure will require that detours be used while maintenance work is underway. The bridge atop the dam will be closed to traffic starting at 6 am on Saturday, May 2. It is scheduled to reopen to traffic at 12:01 am on Wednesday, May 6. Traffic will be detoured using Route 111, Route 110, and Bridge Street in Shelton
Friends of Newtown resident and American Legion Auxiliary Third District President Alice Saxton are planning a benefit dinner to help Ms Saxton with medical expenses. Ms Saxton is recovering from esophageal cancer treatments and now needs surgery. A pasta dinner is scheduled for Sunday, May 17, from 2 to 7 pm, at American Legion Post 2 in Bristol. Tickets are $20 and they must be purchased by May 10. Tickets will not be sold at the door. Donations to help Ms Saxton, from those who would like to help but cannot attend the pasta dinner, are also being accepted.
The Board of Education heard a long-term/five-year spending plan presentation from the district’s Director of Technology Carmella Amodeo at its Tuesday, April 21, meeting.
“This is the continuation of the flattening or smoothing of technology spending over a five-year period,” Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, said near the start of the presentation.
Ms Amodeo explained the plan takes the district’s practice of replacing obsolete equipment and makes some adjustments to estimate an average expenditure of $545,307 instead of different costs each fiscal year.
Volunteer firefighters from all five local fire companies responded at about 6 pm on Thursday, April 23, to a raised-ranch house at 101 Castle Hill Road, where a fire had broken out, heavily damaging the structure. There were no injuries in the accidental blaze, according to Fire Marshal Bill Halstead, who is investigating the fire. Hook & Ladder Fire Chief Ray Corbo was the fire incident commander. Chief Corbo said that about 40 volunteer firefighters responded. Firefighters used approximately 2,500 gallons of water carried on fire vehicles to put out the blaze, he said. Fire companies from Newtown Hook & Ladder, Hawleyville Sandy Hook, and Botsford were sent to the scene at 5:53 pm. At 6:03 pm, Dodgingtown firefighters were dispatched. Firefighters remained at the scene for about 3½ hours.
Newtown taxpayers who may be otherwise engaged Tuesday, April 28, or who anticipate difficulties getting to the Newtown Middle School to cast their budget ballots, may do so in a special Saturday voting session in the town clerk’s office April 25 from 9 am to noon. Otherwise, per local charter directive, polls at the middle school gym will be open Tuesday from 6 am and 8 pm for taxpayers to render their split or bifurcated votes on an overall 2015-16 budget request of $111,730,513, which represents a 0.6 percent increase over the current year. If approved as presented to voters at referendum, the new spending plan would represent a net reduction in taxation of 0.71 percent, with a new tax rate of 33.07 mills, down from the current rate of 33.31.
Superintendent of Schools Joseph V. Erardi, Jr, told the Board of Education during its Tuesday, April 21, meeting the district administration would like to launch a transportation survey.
The first draft of the survey was presented to the school board during the meeting, and by the end of the meeting, Dr Erardi said he would draft another version of the survey, reflecting the board’s responses from the meeting.
“This we believe will offer us a decent number of parent responses,” said Dr Erardi, “and at least give us a baseline of what that looks like regarding how many would be willing to waive the rides with transportation next year.”
It was a long time coming, but on Wednesday, April 22, Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighters finally celebrated the start of construction of their new firehouse at groundbreaking ceremonies held at the 12 Church Hill Road worksite. The event marked the fruition of the fire company’s long-running pursuit of new quarters to replace the antiquated, structurally unsound town-owned firehouse at 45 Main Street, which the company has been using since it was built in 1929.