Parents Continue to Fight Decision to Close Haddam Elementary School

Parents are fighting to stop the closure of the Haddam Elementary School next year.

That’s despite little indication district leaders plan to reverse a decision made months ago to shutter it.

On Tuesday parents headed to a school board meeting to voice their concerns, even though this issue wasn’t really on the agenda.

Martha Gilmore was among the crowd that packed a meeting of the Regional School District #17 Board of Education. She is concerned how the shutdown would affect her son who is in second grader there.

“They would have longer bus rides. I’m worried mostly about the crowding in the school, about the class size,” said Gilmore.

Neighbors wonder what will happen to the school since it’s right in the middle of the Higganum area of town. Laurie Rubino fears another use for it won’t be found.

“There are so many empty buildings sitting there already and this one that will be forced on us is quite unfair,” said Rubino.

Some feel that their concerns are being brushed aside, and they think that board members rushed the vote to close the school about nine months ago, without fully thinking it through.

“I think there’s a little bit of misinformation out there about that very thing,” said Joanne Nesti, Regional School District #17 Board of Education Chair.

Nesti defends the decision, which took place after more than a year of consideration. She says there were good reasons for it, including declining enrollment and that consolidation could save $1 million a year.

“As we go forward, there will be more savings resulting from the fact that we are now four buildings instead of five,” said Nesti.

The board has said it plans to work with the town to find other uses for this building.

Supporters of keeping the school open say they will press on, though they realize saving the school won’t be easy.

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