A family is making a final push to keep their children in the school they currently attend.
Heather Murray’s children are being forced out of the Middlebury school district because their home is located on the line of Middlebury and Waterbury.
Since kindergarten, her children Alijah and Faith have been going to school in Middlebury, but a property check after years of learning is forcing them out of their school.
The Murray’s mailbox is in Middlebury and they pay taxes in both towns, but the Regional Board of Education and the state have sided with Region 15, and late Saturday night, Finance Director Keith McLiverty made it official.
“He was emailing me to inform me that they were officially ‘disenrolled’,” Heather Murray said.
Faith only got to say goodbye to her fifth grade friends at a recital on Tuesday night, which was one she was supposed to perform in.
“I started to cry at the end because I wanted to be in the concert too and I was going to miss my friends,” she said.
Her brother Alijah showed Eyewitness News a letter his seventh grade friends wrote him
“Going to the new school without them and trying to make new friends will be really hard,” Alijah said.
The Murrays have appealed the decision and a judge could hear it as soon as next week, but the family has made backup plans just in case they lose.
The children will go to a magnet school in Waterbury next year.
But for the remainder of this year, the Murrays have offered a compromise—“All we're asking for is that they allow the kids to stay in school for the rest of the school year. That's it. I said I would willingly withdraw them, withdraw the appeal in the court, I would even stop talking to the media,” Heather Murray said.
The family said Middlebury has countered, and offered the children a seat only until winter break with a promise to help with a transition to the magnet school, under specific conditions.
“We had to sign a contract that said we wouldn't talk to the media anymore, and that we would concede that we're Waterbury residents, and drop the appeal,” Heather Murray said, adding that she told them there was no deal.
“At this point, it seems vindictive,” Murray said.
Eyewitness News reached out to McLIverty and the superintendent of schools in Middlebury but has not heard back yet.
Previously, the region has argued that taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for the students, but since they’ve been attending so far, it would seem the children have already been budgeted into the school year, and the legal fees that could come could easily surpass what they’re paying now.
“I know myself, as a taxpayer, I would like to give my money to educating children rather than jeopardizing or interrupting their future,” Heather Murray said.
In the meantime, with no school to go to, the children have joined their dad in collecting signatures for a petition that would have them stay in Middlebury.
In three days, they have collected more than 300.
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