Submitted by See list of 333 signatures representing 189 families (79% of the NMS families) below
We, the community of North Mianus School, respectfully ask the Town of Greenwich to act with urgency to get our school building repaired and reopened as quickly as possible.
We have become concerned in recent weeks that some in town government aren’t acting as if this is an emergency. This void in a crisis should be of concern to our entire town.
We applaud the heroic efforts of the Board of Education, Superintendent Toni Jones, GPS Facilities Director Dan Watson, Principal Angela Schmidt, and our teachers. In the last two months they have managed the immediate fallout of the ceiling collapse: finding space within GPS buildings to house half the NMS student body, commissioning engineers to understand what happened, providing regular updates to our community, proceeding with demolition work, working the town government process to secure funding, commencing design work on the repairs, and looking at alternate facilities for the fall 2021 semester.
We understand they have been working day and night to get this done and we are grateful. That said, there is significant work remaining until we can use the entire North Mianus building: finishing the demolition and design work, completing construction documents, getting qualified bids from contractors, and the construction to repair the building. We would remind the town that North Mianus is the town’s largest elementary school, serving 491 students, and one of its most accomplished, named a 2019 Blue Ribbon School by the US Department of Education and currently home of seven Greenwich Distinguished Teachers of the Year recipients, one of whom was a semifinalist for the 2020 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Award.
Despite the above, we have noticed that other elements of town government are not proceeding as if this is an emergency or a priority. We wonder if they are considering what might have happened if the ceiling had collapsed 72 hours later, while school was in session.
We respectfully ask the following from our town government:
● First Selectman Fred Camillo should ask all town departments to expedite all approvals and permits to facilitate the repairs of the school. They should be working in coordination with Mr. Watson through all phases of this process. We must not have one day of delay.
● The Board of Estimate and Taxation (BET) should approve the interim appropriation and bonding resolution required to sign construction contracts and proceed with the repairs as quickly as possible. We were disappointed last week that some BET members were only willing to approve one quarter of the estimated funding and ignored constructive suggestions for a funding condition requiring more detail on construction costs. This will slow the process down, delay getting our children back into North Mianus, and add costs to the project. We hope the full BET will ignore this recommendation and approve the full appropriation at its Special Meeting on Friday April 16th.
● The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) should approve the interim appropriation and bonding resolution at its meeting on Monday April 19th. We understand that all RTM committees have approved the funding and that RTM District 12, which represents the majority of the North Mianus community, will advocate for the full appropriation. We thank them and hope the RTM will act decisively and constructively at its April meeting.
● The Board of Education and Dr. Jones should secure an alternate facility for fall 2021 that either places our entire school community together in one place – or at worst case in two facilities. We certainly appreciate the speed in getting our children back in school, but four locations for one school community is not sustainable beyond the current school year.
We thank everyone in advance for their hard work and for listening to our concerns. We stand ready to support Dr. Jones and Mr. Watson and everyone else to get this done. This will take alignment and leadership at all levels in Greenwich. We hope all of town government shares our goal that North Mianus School must be fully repaired and reopened no later than December 2021, if not sooner.
List of Signatures
333 signatures representing 189 families (79% of the NMS families)
Karen de Sousa
Rudi de Sousa
Cristina T Fabbri
Pieter Van Hoecke
Laura Bennett Heavey
Vesna Jaksic Lowe
Stephen Summerton Jr
Dirk van der Pijl