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Board of Ed. To Release Town-Wide Survey on Ridgefield School Closure

The possible approaches are to either close one of the six elementary schools in town, to redistrict for three neighborhoods each with a K-2 and 3-5 arrangement or keep all six schools active as they are.

It's one of most hotly debated issues these days,

And in an effort to reach more Ridgefield residents and gain further perspective on views held by those who don't speak at public meetings, the Board of Education voted Monday night to distribute online a questionnaire regarding the possible closure of an elementary school in town.

The survey would ask three questions anonymously concerning the future configuration of K-5 education: whether the resident is a parent of school-age children, and of what age; whether the resident has attended any of the information sessions or read Superintendent Deborah Low's presentation; and, finally, it would ask the resident to rank the three long-term approaches the district might take.

These approaches are to close one of the six elementary schools in town, to redistrict for three neighborhoods each with a K-2 and 3-5 arrangement or keep all six schools active as they are.

Though the vote passed 5-2 to distribute the questionnaire, it wasn't without debate over the wording and statistical viability thereof.

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Board members Christopher Murray and John Palermo voted against the motion, citing a lack of scientific validity in the method of reporting results.

"This is not a valid survey," Murray said. "These questions don't get to the heart of the matter."

For that reason, Murray requested the board change the wording from "survey" to "questionnaire," suggesting the questions leaned in the direction of keeping a school open without mention of the economic benefits of closing one.

"We have to be clear that this isn't a vote," Board member Amy Shinohara said. "That this is for information purposes only."

"It's another forum to collect public comment," Board Chair Austin Drukker said. "I will not base my decision solely on this piece of information."

Other members of the board who supported the motion, though, said the survey would be for informational purposes only and that its results would be just part of the information gleaned over years of debate.

The survey would be created via the website surveymonkey.com and distributed as a link in several media outlets, such as the school website, the Ridgefield Patch and the Ridgefield Press, Low said.

"After three years of hearing about this and gathering information," said Board member Irene Burgess, "it's just one more piece of the pie."

"As long as we take responses as informational only," Burgess continued, "I don't see why this would be a bad thing."

Slmnrc April 26, 2012 at 01:42 AM
this is so funny, one article this week talks about letting kids leave school because many of them they have to many free periods that exceed 90 mins and this article about closing schools with some people concerned about re-opening/building a new school one day. i think the way to fix this problem is to have new people running these programs
S April 26, 2012 at 12:27 PM
In order to make an educated decision not emotional, the BOE should present a cost analysis of each choice.
Bob J April 26, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Yes- they are wrong to ask for this input in teh form of a "survey." If this is a financial decision (which it is) based on financial and demographic projections, then the emotional opinions of residents are irrelevant and merely cloud the issue. It is also a smoke screen because the Board fully realizes that the vast majority of folks who actually show up and/ or go out of their way to express their opinions regarding schools and school spending typically support every penny the Board wants to spend and never support spending cuts. Ever. BTW, base on the information I have compiled, I am AGAINST closing an elementary school. This is based on numbers. But my opinion should not be considered because it is just that-- an opinion.
Lynn C May 04, 2012 at 05:24 AM
The town paid a lot of money for the company that projected the enrollment numbers before the first bundle was approved, Scotts Ridge was built and they screwed that up by building a school that is too small. The town is still using the same company to base the decision on closing a school. Luca, I'm glad that you have it all figured out. @LuckyLou, you are absolutely right, the BOE is right to ask for the residents opinion. Also, regarding the "open campus" issue, they will vote before a new principal is hired, even though he/she will have to over see it. Does anyone have the link for the BOE survey regarding the "open campus" survey?
Mike Bonheim December 13, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Robert, you;re wrong. This is a town decision because it is or tax dollars that are being managed. If a majority of town agrees to one course of action, so do a majpority of those investing in the school system

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