Derby high school project vote postponed
  Marianne Lippard, Register Correspondent       March 02, 2001

DERBY — The High School Building Committee has postponed an April 10 public vote on the new high school building project.

Aldermanic President Michael Kelleher, D-3, head of the building committee, said the committee has to complete a number of steps before a vote can take place.

"We don’t know if we’ll have enough time to get everything done," Kelleher said, referring to the April 10 date.

The referendum on the new high school will likely take place in mid-May, he said.

The committee is evaluating two sites for a new high school. 

One potential site is located on Nutmeg Avenue, near the current high school. Another is located on private land in another part of the city that has not yet been disclosed.

The committee is scheduled to make its final recommendation March 12.  The committee will then explain its decision during a joint meeting of the Board of Aldermen, Board of Apportionment and Taxation and Board of Education at 7 p.m. March 15 in the Derby High School auditorium.

Last year, voters rejected a $40.6 million plan to build a new high school and convert the existing facility into a middle school.  Members of the city’s top three boards have since scrapped costly plans to renovate the current high school, but endorsed an alternative plan to build a new high school.

The High School Building Committee has until June 30 to submit a new plan to the state Department of Education to qualify for 70 percent state reimbursement for the project.

Previous meetings of the committee have generated little response, but Kelleher and Board of Education Chairman James Gildea said 96 people attended a special meeting of the Board of Education Tuesday night to discuss the building project. 

Forty people spoke out in favor of a new high school to ease overcrowding.

"We talked about a game plan. 

"It was an outstanding forum for those people who are in favor of the project," Gildea said.  "It was good to see everyone together.  I think with a strong team effort, we can be successful this time around."

One idea that was mentioned for increasing the chances of passing the project was to organize a voter registration drive at an upcoming sporting event. 

Gildea said 500 parents with children in the school system are not registered voters.

Aren't all concerned citizens active, registered voters ?  -  ENM