Parents speak out over plan to close Middlefield school - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Parents speak out over plan to close Middlefield school

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John Lyman Elementary School in Middlefield. (Facebook) John Lyman Elementary School in Middlefield. (Facebook)

Parents in Middlefield are upset over plans to close an elementary school in town.

Channel 3 learned that Regional School District No. 13's Board of Education voted on Monday to close John Lyman Elementary School.

Lyman is a Higher Order Thinking, or HOT, school. HOT schools rely on teaching concepts through arts in a democratic setting.

Parents said the board decided to skip a few steps that involved informing from the community, including a survey and an informational sheet, both of which laid out various options the board had been considering.

Parents, however, got a chance to voice their opinions after the fact during a meeting on Wednesday night.

A former Lyman student told Eyewitness News the elementary school is an asset to the community and he was devastated when he heard the board's plans. 

"I was disappointed, it's where I learned to be a person, really kindergarten through fourth grade. Those are real formative years, so it was a real disappointment to hear that," Cooper Berry said. 

Conor Driscoll is a first grader at Lyman and his brother, Kieran, is a recent grad. They both love the school, so they were devastated when they learned the Board of Education might close the school. 

"I started crying because I just love that school so much," Kieran said. 

The boys decided they needed to let the board know how the move would impact them, so they dressed up and spoke out at the meeting. 

"Anytime we have an important event in the family, they love to get out their blue blazer and bow tie, so it was an easy decision," said Jenna Driscoll, mother of Conor and Kieran. 

Jenna is proud of her sons, but disappointed in the Board of Education. 

"It drew back some of my faith that I have in the Board of Education and that does concern me," Jenna said.

Board Chair Bob Moore said it's an emotional choice, but the district desperately needs to tighten the budget. 

"You;re trying to keep the education budget balanced against the cuts to the state aid," Moore said. 

Moore said closing Lyman would save the district nearly $1 million a year, but Conor hopes the board makes a decision to keep the school open.

"The school that they might shut down is a really good school. That is one of the best schools in the district," Conor said. 

Moore expected the board will vote on the school's future at a meeting next week. The plan wouldn't go into effect for at least two years. 

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