At Wednesday’s special BOE meeting former BOE member Dr. Gaetane Francis, a Democrat, was voted back onto the board to fill the remainder of Meghan Olsson’s four-year term, which expires in November. Ms Olsson, a French teacher, plans to relocate out of town with her family. The vote was 4-0-3. The three who abstained were Republicans Peter Sherr, Karen Kowalski and Joe Kelly.
Sherr and Kowalski abstained because they were unable to attend executive session held the evening before the vote. Kelly abstained because “his vote wasn’t needed” and also because he felt he didn’t know her well enough although he had attended the Exec session.
Starting in the fall, the upper grades of North Mianus School (grades 3-5) will relocate to Trinity Catholic High School at 926 Newfield Ave in Stamford where there are 20 classrooms available, plus offices.
Grades K, 1 and 2 will remain at North Mianus School.
Trinity Catholic, which enrolled students in grades 9-12, opened in 1958 and ended its run at the end of 2020 in response to declining enrollment.
This year, as a result of the February 13 ceiling collapse and flood at North Mianus, grades 3-5 and ALP were relocated to Parkway School, where there was available space. Now their classrooms are being packed up for the move to Stamford.
The Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the lease for the alternative site for NMS and give the superintendent authority to sign the lease.
Dr. Jones said the district was advised not to post the full contract on the town website because it includes information such as maps that would create a safety risk.
The price of the lease is $765,000. An additional lease for parking and the sidewalk area out front was added for $1.00. Another $1.00 will result in access to a huge baseball, softball and softball field.
“We are thrilled with the space,” Dr. Jones. “Technology infrastructure is all there. We also have access to offices.”
A video slideshow of the school entrances, hallway, sample classroom, auditorium, gymnasium, etc was shared.
Dr. Jones said, “Having two sites will be a piece of cake. Compared to what we were doing with nine buses going to other schools – Old Greenwich School, Cos Cob and Parkway. They will drop off at North Mianus and then buses will take them to the alternate site.”
The superintendent said as far as she knew, the school hours would remain the same, but if issues arise they will be adjusted with the bus company.
Joe Kelly asked whether the 15 minute anticipated bus ride to Newfield Ave from the school’s Palmer Hill Rd location in Riverside might be a low estimate considering traffic.
Dr. Jones said it was hard to anticipate what traffic would look like in the fall, since this school year was unique with Covid and so few children rode the school buses, but that NMS principal Angela Schmidt lives in the area and was knowledgeable of the commute.
Asked how specials would operate given two locations, Jones said specials (art, music, PE) would be easier than this year was with students farmed out to three additional schools.
The vote on the lease was unanimous, though Gaetane Francis abstained, given that she was just voted onto the board.