The next phase of school construction in Groton should focus on middle schools, the school board decided Monday.
The five members present at Monday’s board meeting said they do not want three middle schools in Groton, but would be satisfied with one or with two. They said there are no deal breakers in terms of where that school or schools would be built.
Their decisions on further specifics for the next school construction plan will depend on the outcome of a survey of town residents asking why the “Phase II” referendum failed and what they want to see in the future, board members said.
In May 2011, called “Phase II" that relied on state subsidies and had an anticipated reimbursement rate to reduce the cost to $65.8 million.
The referendum over the cost of the project, the size of the proposed middle school, the location of the school, the reconfiguration of elementary grades and the investment in early childhood education.
The proposal also saw the creation of a political action committee opposed to the project and seeking a different approach.
Interim Superintendent Randall Collins said he would speak to Town Manger Mark Oefinger today about how the survey about Phase II should be done.
The district may use the University of Connecticut or a consulting firm under contract with the school department. The survey may be paid for using part of the $75,000 allocated by Representative Town Meeting this year for the next school construction project.
Board member Beth Gianacoplos said middle school construction should be the priority because Groton consolidated middle schools this year with the promise it would plan for the future.
“We sold that to people that this is a short term, and then we would look at long term,” she said.
Board members plan to call the proposal “The Middle School Improvement Project” and will forward their thoughts to the town council.
Town Mayor Heather Bond Somers is assembling a task force of residents to develop the plan for future school construction. The members of that group have not yet been named.