Ansonia school is eyed
   Marianne Lippard, Register Correspondent   August 15, 2000

DERBY — City leaders and school officials are considering using an Ansonia school building to ease overcrowding at Derby High School.

The Georgianna E. Peck School in Ansonia, which closed in June, is being examined as one option for dealing with the shortage of space in city schools.  Mayor Marc Garofalo said the old school building might offer the solution to overcrowding. 

Ansonia Board of Education Chairman Beverly Tidmarsh said a few board members suggested offering the space to Derby during a ceremony marking the permanent closing of the school. 

The Holbrook Street school, built in 1905, housed kindergarten through fourth grade and closed as part of a reorganization of the Ansonia school system. 

Tidmarsh described the building as being "in pretty good shape," noting it was well maintained over the years. 

In June, Derby voters turned down a $40.6 million school building plan and a $3.7 million package for new athletic fields.  The project called for construction of a 132,000-square-foot high school north of the current high school on Nutmeg Avenue. 

The current high school, which serves grades 7-12, would have been converted into a middle school. 

After the vote, Garofalo organized a meeting to solicit residents’ ideas on how to proceed. 

"The forum went very well," Garofalo said, adding that he forwarded ideas from the meeting, along with the Ansonia offer, to new Superintendent of Schools Martin Gottowala. 

Garofalo said he intends to schedule another public meeting after Labor Day. 

Meanwhile, a proposal to affiliate with the Amity Regional School District is also being considered. 

Aldermanic President Michael Kelleher, D-3, suggested joining Amity after learning Orange may leave the school district, which includes Bethany and Woodbridge. 

"We’re trying to look at all the options that are available," Garofalo said. 

Gottowala, who has been getting acclimated over the last few weeks, said the high school will use non-classroom space to get through the upcoming school year.  One special education course, for example, will be taught in a storage room, he said. 

As for using the Ansonia school building to address overcrowding, Gottowala said while it was kind of Ansonia to make the offer, the option would require further study. 

"Ansonia decided not to use the building for a school.  That raises questions about why and if it is appropriate for our needs," Gottowala said. 

Derby Board of Education Chairman James Gildea said using the space would be "a stopgap measure to help Derby out short term."

  ©New Haven Register 2000
  Reader Opinions
I wonder why all the politicians (Mayor, Bd. Of Aldermen, etc.)who were NOT elected to take care of the educational needs of Derby's children seem to be so intent upon "helping" the Board of Education members find a solution to our overcrowding problem.  Maybe it's because they're embarrassed by their lack of effort in support of the referendum which would have solved the problem had it passed. 
   Walt Mayhew