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Superintendent Jeff Simons addresses parents in the Bell Top gymnasium

Superintendent Jeff Simons addresses parents, staff and community members in the Bell Top gymnasium regarding the proposed boundary changes on Monday evening.

Superintendent Jeff Simons provided an update to the proposed rezoning plan for Bell Top, Genet and Red Mill Elementary Schools at Wednesday evening’s Board of Education meeting in the Genet Auditorium.

The updates to the proposal followed two community meetings that the district hosted earlier this week for staff, parents and residents that initiated more discussion on the issue. The district is hosting a third community meeting on Monday, January 14 in the Genet Conference Room.

The updates include:

1) CTAEP will move from the basement of Bell Top Elementary School to Genet Elementary School for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

  • The district completed a space review of classrooms on the second floor of Genet on Wednesday morning including Mr. Simons, Assistant Superintendent Lawrence Edson, Pupil Personnel Services Director Helen Squillace, Bell Top Principal Martin Mahar, Genet Principal Ana Yeomans, incoming Genet Principal Wayne Grignon and the school district’s architect Steve Wyckman.
  • The space at Genet was deemed appropriate for the CTAEP program and equivalent to what is currently provided at Bell Top. Three classrooms will be utilized, the same number currently in use at Bell Top. Restrooms for the sole use of the high school students are adequate and accessible for now. Further improvements to the restrooms are scheduled to be completed within the planned capital project in the summer of 2020.
  • Genet would continue to have space to maintain one MakerSpace room for their students.

2) Implement all proposed attendance zone changes for the 2019-20 school year with the exception of the Dutch Acres North neighborhood.

  • Even with moving the CTAEP program, Mr. Simons is recommending boundary changes to alleviate enrollment growth in the Bell Top zone.
  • Dutch Acres North, which includes Brinker Drive North, Van Dyke Drive North, Van Leuven Drive North, Holland Drive and Mountainview Terrace, would remain in the Bell Top zone. From discussion at the community meetings, Route 43 is a natural boundary which makes Dutch Acres North a separate neighborhood from Dutch Acres South.
  • Please note: the proposed rezoning would not affect current students at any of the three schools, nor would it affect any incoming kindergarten students in 2019-20 who have older siblings in one of the schools. View Initial Proposal here.

3) Commission the Budget Review and Advisory Committee with additional representation from our respective towns and parents to complete an expanded enrollment study which would include a complete analysis of attendance zones.

4) Schedule the Board of Education vote on the proposed rezoning plan (with these updates) after Kindergarten Registration.

  • This will give the district an opportunity to confirm enrollment projections and have preliminary information on class sizes and grade level sections for all schools.
  • Kindergarten Registration for these three schools are as follows:
    • Bell Top – Wednesday, February 6 (9:30-11:00 a.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m.)
    • Genet – Tuesday, February 12 (9:30-11:00 a.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m.)
    • Red Mill – Thursday, February 7 and Monday, February 11 (9:30-11:00 a.m. for both dates)

Any questions or concerns about the updated proposal can be addressed at the final community meeting which is scheduled for Monday, January 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the Genet Conference Room.

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