UPDATED: Groton School Board Votes To Close Fitch Middle School

Board votes 7-0, with 2 members abstaining, to consolidate from three middle schools to two and keep Cutler and West Side open.

The Groton Board of Education voted 7-0 Monday night to consolidate from three to two middle schools and to keep Cutler and West Side middle schools open.

Fitch Middle School would close, but the building would be used as swing space during construction at other schools.

Board members Rita Volkmann and Shelley Gardner abstained from the vote. failed 4-5.  Board members Volkmann, Gardner, Beverly Washington and Chaz Zezulka voted in favor of rescinding.

Financial worries

Board members said they felt compelled to close one of the schools because keeping all three open would result in a shortfall of $1.5 million in the coming fiscal year, forcing cuts to other programs. The school department still expects to be $1.5 million short if Representative Town Meeting wants another year of zero percent increases in school spending.

But Superintendent Paul Kadri said that gap may be closed due to two factors: Groton will not need money it spent this year on software for a new literacy program and schools may see savings in health care. He said he could probably spare programs and close a $1.5 million gap, but not one double that.

“If we keep up with three schools, I have no plan for that,” he said.

The plan

Kadri said he would recommend dividing the roughly 1,000 middle school students equally into six teams at each school, if the school board opted to close a building. The plan would require portables at West Side and Cutler.

Wes Greenleaf, director of buildings and grounds for Groton Public Schools, at the southwest corner of the building. City officials are expected to meet with LLR Architects Friday morning to determine if this is possible.

If it's not, or if the district cannot meet the requirements of racial balancing, transportation and redistricting, Kadri said he would recommend five teams at West Side and seven teams at Cutler.

This scenario would place 433 students at one school and 597 at the other, with class sizes about the same, with a student to teacher ratio of a little more than 21 to 1.

Survey results

The , followed by facilities and the impact on taxpayers.

The board received 660 responses to the survey, including 114 from people affiliated with West Side, 254 from Cutler and 98 from Fitch Middle School.

Fitch Middle School was built in 1928, with separate elementary and high school entities before merging together in the 1950s as a junior high school. was a factor in their decision.

William December 27, 2011 at 09:05 PM
Mystmom, Mr. Kadri is not an educator, does not have the skills or mindset necessary to manage a public educational system, is not doing a good job, and needs to have his contract terminated before he does any further damage to our school system. Ask anyone who works for GPS- they will all tell you he is not good for our kids or our community. There. No personal attacks to dilute the message. Willy
C.J.Boa December 28, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Ok, for the real reason why the school is being closed. The RTM cut 2.2 million from the education budget for no reason but to lower taxes. If you don't like whats happening to your town call your district reps.http://www.groton-ct.gov/town_gov/Groton%20Town%20Register.pdf
Kg Trejo December 28, 2011 at 02:24 PM
To clarify, the RTM did not cut the EDUCATION BUDGET. The RTM didn't let them raise their budget, they were looking for an increase. Also they (Superintendent & BOE) manged to recieve monies to keep programs moving forward without closing a middle school then.
mom2x's December 28, 2011 at 04:59 PM
they also found $$$$ to hire very expensive new central office staff. Noone seems to question that though.
William December 31, 2011 at 10:32 AM
But never men! Apparently only females can do CO jobs.


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