Town Officials Tour Broad Brook Elementary School

A town-wide referendum in East Windsor will be held later this month on the proposed purchase of permanent classrooms.

East Windsor Superintendent of Schools Theresa Kane led a tour Tuesday morning for Board of Finance members to learn more about the proposed purchase of permanent modular classrooms at Broad Brook Elementary School.

Members of the tour were able to see the condition of the current portable modular classrooms, as well crowded conditions in other areas of the elementary school. The proposal is to replace the current modular, which has eight classrooms, with 14 new permanent modular classrooms. Ten of the classrooms will be in the front, where the current ones are located, and the four additional would be in the north courtyard area, officials said.

“This is not a luxury request,” Kane said of the additional classrooms. “We need the space.”

First Selectwoman Denise Menard, who also joined the tour, said the town meeting will be on June 20 and the referendum on June 27. The total cost of the project is estimated not to exceed $3,770,000.

Currently, the school system pays $7,738 per month for the eight portable classrooms at the school and, at the end of the lease, $287,000 for their removal. 

The permanent modular classrooms qualify for the state’s School Building Assistance reimbursement program, officials said. With a bond interest rate of 2.79 percent over 20 years, a reimbursement rate of 56.79 percent, the system would pay $8,864.20 a month.

Board of Finance Chairman Jason Bowsza said the town’s building committee took a similar tour Monday night.

“Once people see it, they can’t help but understand the necessity of the project,” he said.

After he toured the school a few weeks ago, he suggested school officials host tours for the Board of Finance members and selectmen. Kane said they also will be making a presentation at the Senior Center on Thursday.

Marie DeSousa, a member of the Board of Finance, said it has been about five years since she was inside the school.

“There is a lot I wasn’t aware of,” she said, noting one closet that is being used as a space for occupational therapy. “From a learning perspective, I think this is something we need today.”

If the bond is approved, then a proposal would be sent to the state for the reimbursement assistance. The permanent modular would be built and ready for use for September 2013.

Kane said she has heard some concerns about whether enrollment is decreasing, but she said it is not and studies indicate enrollment will increase or remain flat. Currently the school has 530 students, and officials said projects are there would be 570 students in 2020.

The Broad Brook School was built in 1951 and opened in 1952. The current eight portable classrooms were added under a lease agreement in 2002, which expires in June 2012. This lease has been extended for one year. Richard Labrie, of Futures Education, a consultant on the project, said the units were more than 10 years old when first leased and are now in need of replacement.

In the past several years, the town has approved a new roof and a new heating system, so Labrie said the town has invested in the building. A new building project would be a longer-term project and much more expensive, he said.

He said this is a good time for the project, with interest rates low and construction rates competitive. The project, if approved by the voters, would go out to a public bid.

Tim Pochron June 08, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I agree very much i guess when everyone lives high on the hog for the years that we have it is tough to cut back on anything. I just think people are losing sight of being them selves and spending too much time on what other people have. As a town we need to all get on the same page.
N.Wandzy June 10, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I'm with you and will vote no also. The town needs to make things work with what they have and stop spending. They need to be SMARTER with our tax dollars.
Janet Goode June 25, 2012 at 03:15 PM
The project we are about to vote on has not been studied thoroughly. Teresa Kane and the Board of Ed. have pushed it through since February. School building projects need considerable research and evaluation before making a commitment. Concerned Citizen
Tim Pochron June 25, 2012 at 04:10 PM
You are correct. It is easier to spend and spend than work with what we have. I think that there is alot of wasted space with in the school. Why doesnt the B.O.E let tax payers into the school and take questions on how the space is used plus why it is used that way. I feel that the B.O.E is so used to getting there way and just spend spend spend that they really dont care about education. They don't because i have never heard them say well lets freeze pay raises so the students can have things. All I see is the students loosing and the people that are supposed to teach them getting cost of living inceases and bonuses every year and them crying how they don't have supplies. I have to buy work boots to work so if students need supplies to be used in the classroom then teachers should pay for them and i mean supplies ie paper pencils pens markers supplies like that.
Dave Corrado June 25, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Mr Pochron. There have been various meetings and discussions involving the portable classrooms for a few months now. Some meetings took place with in the last two weeks if not sooner. My suggestion is to contact the Board of Ed or the superintendent directly and have a indepth discussion about your concerns. I am sure they would even be willing to give you a tour of the existing class rooms to help you better understand the overall need in the first place. Perhaps at this same meeting, you can share your ideas of ways to better use the current lay out of the elementary school. I do not say this with sarcasm, but conveying your ideas to an actual board of ed member may help you to get a better understanding of what is going on. To paint with the broad brush that the board of ed is used to getting their way and that they just want to spend is quite naive on your part. Instead of being a "knight of the keyboard" go out and do some fact finding before you generalize everything. For what it is worth, you buying work boots for your own foot attire would actually equate to the students buying their own pencils, pens, markers etc. Most if not all teachers are more than happy to provide these supplies to their students without any type of complaint. And all teachers that do provide these supplies to their students do so without so much as a thank you from those that think they know better. Walk a mile in someone elses 'workboots' for once before your characterize them.


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