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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.

Anti Taxes June 07, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Well this voter will vote no. It's called make due with what you have and don't spend when you don't have the cash to do so (republican logic). Also, I'd be more in favor of to adding onto the high school so it can once again accommodate grades 7 & 8. If that could happen, maybe grades 3 & 4 could move to middle school which would free up space at the elementary school. These are just random ideas. East Windsor has not become a sprawling metropolis over the past 20 years, I really don't see why space is such a problem now.
kb June 07, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Perhaps, Anti Taxes, you should tour the three school buildings and see first hand the conditions of the buildings and the space limitations before you comment on something you know nothing about. I'm sure that school and/or town officials would be most happy to arrange a tour for you so you can then make INFORMED comments.
Spiff June 07, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I'm with you, Anti Taxes! That's why we're in this economic mess to begin with, too many people (as well as local, state and federal governments) spending money that they don't have. Now is the time for everyone, I mean EVERYONE, including local governments, to suck it up and live within your means! They'll be time down the road when the economy improves to make investments like this. Until that time, however, we're all in this together and we must spend our money responsibly, more so now than ever before!
Tim Pochron June 08, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Listen Kris my question is in the past 17 yrs since i was in the school system has changed. Does the school system have more students than what the schools can support. I mean i graduated with a class of 69 and by what the article states is that in the broad brook school there are 530 students, so there is pre-K thru 4th grade correct. That is 6 grades and if you do the math that is 80 students and change per grade. How many teachers per grade, because i know when i was in school there was 4 teachers per grade so on average that is 20 students per class and i know when i was there every wing had room for 4 class rooms. So my question what has been added to the schools teacher wise or jobs in the school to not having enough room with in the school its self. There was an addition added to the broad brook school back in the late 80's early 90's to make room for the influx of students with the closing of the warehouse point schoo Plus an addition on the high school in the 90's to accomodate the moving of the 7th and 8th grades to the high school. So why is there no room now and we have to deal with the ugly portable classrooms. I feel that the town needs to get there heads straight and put priorities straight on where my tax dollars go....
Anti Taxes June 08, 2012 at 03:03 AM
That was exactly my point Tim. I could understand the liberals who are spend happy if for example we had 50% more students now than in the past, which we don't. Also Kris, before you get fresh with me, were you involved at all with the genius idea to put in the portable classrooms? I personally think that was one of the biggest wastes of money given how much it was for them to already have met their useful life. Seriously, start making due. Republicans are onto the ridiculous BS budgets and it is safe to say even some of the Democrats are getting fed up (hence two shot down budgets). Also, I work hard to survive and don't care to tour the schools. Good luck getting the vote passed when the time comes. Republicans will hopefully show up in great numbers to squash the whole idea.
kb June 08, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Not really sure why a school space issue has become Democrat vs. Republican. I am merely suggesting that if there are questions regarding the Board of Education budgets or decisions, taxpayers go right to the source to get accurate information and statistics. Inaccurate information being "reported" is exactly why this town is divided and people are unwilling and unable to work together. My husband and I and our children are also products of this town and it's schools and yes, alot has changed over the years. Change is hard, times are tough and money is tight. But this is 2012 and we can't live in the 80's or 90's anymore. No one can. The same can be said for the generations before...the 1950's, 60's and 70's. Cars don't cost $1500, houses don't cost $11,000 and gas isn't 15 cents per gallon. People need to talk to town officials and get satisfactory explanations, attend meetings to air their concerns and participate in the process. Not just complain. That goes for democrats AND republicans.
kb June 08, 2012 at 06:54 PM
And interestingly, the Board of Education has a Republican majority and is led by a Republican chairman.
Tim Pochron June 08, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Kris I am not making this a republican /Democrat discussion and i give everyone in town politics alot of credit to try to come to a agreeable budget. My point was that i don't think that the portable classrooms are needed. I agree it is not the 80's or 90's but back then things were different i remeber have text books from the 80's plus having sports,band uniforms that were just as old. Now it is like keeping up with the jones'es teams need new uniforms and not just home and away jerseys anymore it is everything else that goes with it. Also when i was in school we as students were reaponsible for the books, uniforms plus whatever else we were given by the school and if we didn't return the items we had to pay to have them replaced. I think it is time to get by with what we have not keep spending every year to keep up with other towns that have. You get the same education here as you would anywhere else it is up to the students to make something of it and if you say that a childs education would be better if say they were in Suffield or Somers or anywhere else your wrong becuase thia town has some damm good teachers.
kb June 08, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I couldn't agree more. I love this town and I would put our teachers and staff up against any town. I think it's sad that parents in East Windsor feel they need to send their kids elsewhere or move to another town to get a "better" educaiton. The teachers of East Windsor are great and completely overworked with the mandates and laws and beyond-classroom requirements that they now face. The students are still obligated to reimburse the schools for lost books, school property, jerseys, uniforms, etc. in addition to pay-to-participate fees. I don't know what the solution is. I just know that we need to come together and work on the problems, not play the blame game. I'm not saying that's what you are doing, but it is done far too often. If we are not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.
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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