Residents offer ideas on school crowding  
        By Marianne Lippard, Register Correspondent         June 20, 2000  

DERBY ó Portable classrooms and a phased-in building program were two suggestions residents offered Monday night to help solve overcrowding at Derby High School and to save money.  

About 100 residents gathered at the school to brainstorm after voters last week turned down a $40.6 million school building plan and a $3.7 million package for new athletic fields. 

By a 2-to-1 margin they rejected the plan to build a four-story, 132,000-square-foot school high school and convert the current facility into a middle school.  An elaborate plan to upgrade athletic facilities throughout the city also was defeated. 

Mayor Marc Garofalo scheduled the special meeting to hear taxpayers concerns. He requested that residents who commented on the problem also offer suggestions for solving the space crunch. 

Joseph Migani said while the idea of fixing all of the school crowding problems is attractive, the city should consider a phased-in approach. 

A local architect, Migani said that Notre Dame High School in West Haven is being updated using a phased-in plan.  The strategy allows the school to adopt a funding cycle that is more affordable, he said. 

Tax board member David Ahearn said portable classrooms could be an alternative to a costly building project. 

He added the classrooms might be used only for as long as they are needed to ease the space squeeze. 

John Monahan called the building project "foolhardy," adding that it didnít address the more pressing needs of the elementary schoolchildren. 

"This is Derby. It is not Greenwich or Darien," Monahan said, adding the old Lincoln School building on Minerva Street should have been considered. 

"I happen to think that building can be refurbished and used as a middle school in this town," Monahan said. 

He added some people seem to be more concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses," in towns like Oxford and Shelton.  Monahan also chided those who suggested building a sand volleyball court at Witek Park. 

"We are not Fort Lauderdale or Miami," he said.