Groton School Facilities Task Force Meets for the First Time

Group elects Jon Heller as chairman. It will meet on the second Thursday of each month and hopes to have a recommendation by August.


The group tasked with creating a long-term plan for the Groton Public Schools met for the first time Tuesday and elected Jon Heller, who teaches at the Coast Guard Academy, as its chairman.

The 19-member group appointed by Mayor Heather Somers, is expected to meet at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month in the Town Hall Annex.

Mike Zuba, a consultant with the planning firm Milone & MacBroom, said the task force would look at future school construction as well as how grades are grouped. The goal is to have a recommendation by the end of August.

He also said the firm would create a survey of residents to determine what people want, then use those results to guide it in coming up with options.

“We don’t want to spend five months doing what the community doesn’t want,” he said.

Somers said the group also plans to reach out to teachers, parents and other community members by bringing the message to the schools directly.

However, Town Manager Mark Oefinger said that even if the school facilities task force finishes its work by August, the town would not have enough time to get a referendum question on the November ballot.

Town Councilor Deborah Peruzzotti, also a member of the task force, said group members will likely have differing views, but in the end, it’s important that all are behind the plan.

“We have to be a united front to go out there and deliver this to our community,” she said.

Unanimous support is considered important because voters rejected the last school construction plan by a wide margin, and some felt it was due to fractured community support and poor education about the plan.

Milone & MacBroom has worked in many other districts, including those in Milford, Bristol and East Hartford. The company is working now with the City of Stamford on a similar study.

Bruce Flax January 30, 2013 at 02:29 PM
John Heller is a great choice as the chairman of the committee!!
augie42 January 30, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I worked briefly with John on the RTM, he will do a good job. However, with a group of that size and a project of this magnitude his efforts to guide and focus it will be a challenge. The reason why Phase II failed was due to phase I being so extravagant...Just like with Thames St. The people have ALREADY said from the first phase II, don't go over-board. Spend just what is needed, no more. I wish him good luck. Scott Aument/RTM dist 6/GATE PAC chair.
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