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Residents Unanimously Approve Phase I School Security Upgrades

Phases II and III to be part of 2013-14 budget discussion.

The 53 registered voters and two property owners in attendance at Thursday’s town meeting voted unanimously to approve a $70,000 appropriation from the town’s general fund for Phase I of the Brookfield School District’s security upgrade.

After a rundown of the security measures being implemented in the first phase and a few questions from residents, a hand count from a diverse room of voters was unanimous, resulting in applause.

The town’s portion will be met with $40,000 from the school’s capital fund, approved by the Board of Education (BOE).

Work will begin immediately on better securing the entry points at all four school buildings, according to district Director of Business and Technology Art Colley, and should be completed by the last week of January, early February.

This first phase includes installing double-doors at the main entrances — requiring visitors to get buzzed through the first set of doors and get a visitor’s pass before being buzzed through the second — and key-card-access locks to the teacher entrances, which will remain locked at all times.

The district will also begin putting shatterproof 3M security film on windows, which significantly strengthens the glass.

The next step in the security plan is to meet with town officials to work out financing details for Phases II and III, which are projected to cost $162,600 and $74,000, respectively.

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The school district plans to have discussions with the town in March/April to pinpoint specific funding sources, according to Colley and Superintendent Anthony Bivona, however it is expected that most of the funding will come from the municipal budget, rather than through the schools.

According to First Selectman Bill Davidson, the town’s portion of the funding for the latter phases will be worked into the 2013-14 budget.

“It’s best for everybody if we do this through the budget and not fund balance,” he said, as the entire plan calls for $347,500 for building upgrades and equipment.

“With something that’s a special issue like this, we certainly try to get it through,” Davidson said of Phase I. “It’s a classic reason to keep a good fund balance — things come up.”

John Robins January 18, 2013 at 10:05 PM
The schools are to top heavy we need to cut the fat and use that money in other places like armed guards like other school what's safety glass gonna do? This town is a joke instead lets give raises to everybody instead. lets use the money invest it in guards, update security systems etc keep the kids safe
Steven DeVaux January 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM
John, Right! Close Center School! It's a danger to itself. It the last wooden schoolhouse in the state with HUGE glass windows. It's indefensivable, it's not needed in terms of space and it would allow the town to REDISTRIBUTE it's operating resolve to core needs at Whisconier, Huckleberry and the High School. Retire Jeannie Sloan. You don't need an assistant superintendent in this sized district! Try it for a year and you'll see. Secure the schools and give kids a chance. Social workers are USE-LESS. If the town needs a social worker the TOWN should hire them rather than HIDE the expense in the schools. The schools are there to ED-U-CATE not to make folks "feel good". That's their OWN job. Why are you paying for it. They should do so in a SECURE environment, not indefensivable ones. Knock down the 40+ year portables at Huckleberry and put up a permanent brick addition at the same time removing the need for additional administration! It's time!
Bobby Caselnova January 18, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I could say a lot about the wasteful spending I saw during my time as a student in this district. At the high school, why do they need huge, high-def flat-screen TV's? Why does almost every teacher need a several thousand dollar "SMART board" in their room? They can't share them? They certainly weren't used frequently enough to warrant buying more than 1 or 2, MAYBE 3 or 4 for the whole school at most. The library had a bunch of laptops and flip cameras for student use. There were like 10 computer labs FULL of computers, so the laptops really weren't necessary at all. Why does each room need it's own telephone? It was only really used for when the principals needed to call a teacher to tell them to have a student go to the office. In a school that size, they couldn't just walk to the classrooms and pull the student out, as they had to do a few times when phones weren't working? Now the year after I left, they started issuing iPads to each and every freshman, which they got to keep over the summer, and they have been and will be giving brand new ones to each and every freshman from that point on. WHY? All this after that construction project that went way over budget which turned the school into a horrible place to try to learn or focus on anything at all. I won't even go into the construction project; which the only thing the school has to show for from that is a new science wing with a lot of expensive equipment that never gets used. So much WASTE in our schools.
bkmom January 18, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Oh dear...given the trouble you got in a few months' ago...perhaps you should spend time figuring out just what fantastic learning can be achieved via the use of the SMART boards....
Steven DeVaux January 18, 2013 at 11:13 PM
bkmom, True. Very true. But don't discount Center School's closure.
Bobby Caselnova January 19, 2013 at 12:09 AM
Oh, that misdemeanor I got? Thanks for asking about that, it's getting dropped after the prosecutor and judge realized it was stupid. I won't even be paying a fine. About the smart boards, I really don't see how my arrest has anything to do with what I know and don't know about smart boards. I went to BHS at a time when every single classroom had one, if you're a mom I'd bet that you went to a school where there was not ONE smart board. So I would think I know quite a bit more than you do about smart boards, specifically how they were and were not used at BHS. Any kid that went to BHS will tell you they were a huge waste of money. And if your kid tells you differently, then you're kid isn't very "SMART" at all. Now, if you were trying to insult my intelligence, you should find something better to do with your time instead of trying to think of the most witty way to insult a 19 year old. This is the first time somebody's parent has ever came out and insulted me. I guess everyone I meet has a little bit of decency. However, I should have known that anybody who hides behind a fake name and tries to have a presence on the Patch is a nobody and your opinion doesn't matter to me at all. If you really try to insult me by saying that because I was arrested once in my life for a very minor charge that's getting thrown out, I therefore know nothing about SMART boards, you obviously aren't important at all. I'm sorry I got in trouble once a few months ago, I should be perfect like you!
Amanda D January 19, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Bkmom, have you used a smart board? Great it shares a connection with a pc (poorly) but all it really is is an electric whiteboard... Extremely expensive for the amount of time it's not even being used.
Steven DeVaux January 19, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Albert Einstein communicated the Theory of Relativity on a blackboard to the entire world.
Steven DeVaux January 19, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Perhaps if they spend more time learning and less time on other things, more learning would occur. The schools don't need social workers. They did nothing for Newtown's students.
Michael Gianfranceschi January 19, 2013 at 07:00 PM
that comment is out of line, very nasty, at least he has the backbone to use his own name
Michael Gianfranceschi January 19, 2013 at 07:13 PM
yeah but he didn't know how to use a comb.
Bobby Caselnova January 19, 2013 at 10:43 PM
My comment disappeared? That's weird, I thought I didn't say anything that was "over the line". Oh well. Thank you for bringing that misdemeanor up, it's getting dropped and I'm not going to even end up paying any fines. Not sure what that has to do with what I do and don't know about SMART boards, though. I went to BHS when there was one in each classroom, if you're a mom, you probably went to a school with not one. I think I know a lot more about them than you do, especially how they're used and not used at BHS currently. Not only that, but you're here on Patch trying to show your wits and insult me, so why are you hiding behind a fake name? What's the matter, you can't put your own name on your own opinions? And sorry I got in trouble once a few months ago, I should be perfect like you are, right? Get real, lady.
Steven DeVaux January 20, 2013 at 12:14 PM
But he supported the 2nd Amendment after escaping from Germany!
Steven DeVaux January 20, 2013 at 12:20 PM
Teachers "struggle" with technology while private industry workers are told to learn on their own and get up to speed in a hurry or find another job. Go figure. Those who espouse lifelong education and learning struggle with the concept unless they are "taught" by others.
Steven DeVaux January 20, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Spend a few minutes reading about how dumb our educators actually are blindly supporting the Democratic party agenda. http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/01/educators_hit_by_obamacare.html
Bobby Caselnova January 20, 2013 at 09:41 PM
And we have a whole lot more than "a few" guns here in the USA. A few guns wouldn't make any difference at all, but if the citizen gun owners out numbered the military, like they do here in this country, things may have been different. We have almost 50% of all households with at least one gun here in this country. That's one group of people that no other group of people can ever throw on trains and throw in concentration camps.
Bobby Caselnova January 20, 2013 at 11:13 PM
There's currently a huge movement in all branches of the US armed forces of people committed to doing the RIGHT thing. Let me put that in simple terms for your simple mind. If the military is ordered by our dirty politicians to do anything unjust, inhumane, or just plain wrong to the American people, they will not follow orders. Don't forget, the US military IS MADE UP OF AMERICAN PEOPLE. There will always be a few people who follow orders because they think the government will always be the winning side and where the money will be, but the overwhelming majority are more motivated to do the right thing rather than stay loyal to our dirty government for a (pretty small) check every week. Waco has nothing to do with this, if you re read what I said, I said that the government couldn't throw us in concentration camps right now. (In response to your original comment saying "a few guns wouldn't have made a difference" back during the Holocaust). Not only would the majority of our military turn against our government, but there are hundreds of millions of guns out there so the people would be able to overtake the politicians and the few members of the military who stay loyal to them. Now we all know another Holocaust is highly unlikely, but what may be likely in the next 10, 20, even 50 years could be another revolution. If the forefathers were here today I think it would have already started. Taxation without representation, violations of the Constitution. Our government is dirty.
G Jenn January 20, 2013 at 11:20 PM
New Englander, I wouldn't have put it so harshly, but there is indeed the reality that who among the US military would turn weapons upon other Americans? Having served, I can tell you without reticence that, if I ever received the order to shoot Americans, I would go rogue and would join the resistance. No kidding. My oath says I swear to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic. This oath remains with me today.
Rob Gianazza January 21, 2013 at 12:26 AM
With such a defeatist attitude I clearly understand your position. Perhaps you lean more towards the French philosophy. They planted trees along the avenues because they knew the Germans liked to march in the shade...
Rob Gianazza January 21, 2013 at 12:31 AM
It is better to die fighting, than to die a starving and tortured prisoner. And if you fight, you have the opportunity to take a few of them with you.
Rob Gianazza January 21, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Steve, please explain your position on closing Center School. I have tried over several years to close the portables at both HHES and WMS without success. The reason, no place to put the students. How do you propose to close an entire building? Will you bump up class size to thirty or more students per class? Will you put music and art back on a cart? CES holds close to 400 students. You keep saying this, but how do you plan to implement it?
Steven DeVaux January 21, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Knock down the portables and put up a safe secure addition sufficient to house the population of Center School with the current class sizes. Yes the town would have to take on debt, but that debt would be far more suitable than a bike path to nowhere or a beach house on a muddy lake and would yield far more.
G Jenn January 21, 2013 at 04:09 AM
What makes you think they'll see us coming? It is common strategy to keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
Andrew Turkenkopf January 21, 2013 at 08:55 AM
Well except for any mental health related or family problem related or stuff like that.
Andrew Turkenkopf January 21, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Also we need to replace the buses with armored tanks, as they are vulnerable. And like giant force field domes/nets to catch any artillery attacks on school buildings. Also all the armed guards need to be indestructible androids (in order to actually be useful if an attack were to occur) and also have perfect morals to prevent any corruption or abuse of power. Also, everyone needs to go back to school, so perhaps they will be intelligent enough to realize that school shooting rarely happen and that it is pointless to spend funds on relatively useless (both in terms of the fact these events are rare and in terms that these increased security measures (and the even more-short sighted, "higher levels" of security proposed by some [i.e. armed guards.]) or easily bypassed (i would assume) security measures. Perhaps resources would be better spend preventing the gutting of mental health services (luckily CT has avoided the degree of gutting that most every other state has received the past few years, especially in GOP run states.) Furthermore, perhaps changes should be made in said services, where often a person needs to "fail" at the lower/entry levels of treatment several times before than can receive more effective (for their condition) treatment, or perhaps more should be done to remove stigma of getting treatment. And we could also try to strengthen and/or actually enforce some gun control laws, perhaps on assault weapons . . .
Andrew Turkenkopf January 21, 2013 at 09:14 AM
I wish I had kept myself updated about when the town meeting on this was occurring. Mainly so I could have been the lone dissenting vote on this. Also, I might have offered some opinions, but probably not, as I fear pointing out flaws or ways to bypass any security measure (especially in a public forum) would probably get one branded (if not officially) as a less than desirable/potential threat, which would just be annoying when trying to help and strengthen a system and prevent wasteful spending. Also, some things mentioned facetiously or offhandedly to prove a point or two might actually be taken seriously by those in charge and (if a suggested security measure) actually applied, when the speaker's intention was the total opposite. *side note, in 6th grade, at WMS, first year the 2 story edition with the science labs and the seminar room (i think top floor was 8th grade, bottom floor was 7th grade) during the first fire drill I commented in the line that the evac procedure had the students exiting and standing in a "courtyard" created by the new addition and the rest of the school (and extended by what was at the time the 5th grade portables) so instead of in the past, evacuating onto an open lawn that was essentially the front of the school, students were supposed to exit into a U shaped area, 3 sides (burning?) school, capped by woods. I of course got yelled at by a teacher for talking during the drill, but the evac. procedure was changed. :-p
Rob Gianazza January 21, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Steve, you know that once we "go into and existing building" we need to bring the entire building up to current code. I can only assume you would like to expand HHES. My concern is several fold. First, we'd need to run a sewer line up White Turkey because there's no way the existing septic can handle an expansion. Two, there is inadequate parking for staff and visitors. Three, the driveways are already over burdened getting buses in and out. That would require a significant redesign of the grounds. Four, our experience with the high school should demonstrate how expensive it is to retrofit an existing building. The costs of undertaking your proposal would be astronomical for our community. Five, by expanding the footprint of the building and expanding driveway and parking areas, it would significantly impact playing fields for our students recreation. Please feel free to continue this thread, I think it is very important for our community to consider these varying points we are presenting.
Steven DeVaux January 22, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Rob, You don't have to renovate as new. Besides, hopefully the district learned from the mistakes made at the high school. The town owns the Ericson farm now, so playing fields can be located there contiguous to HHES property and the footprint of the parking lot and driveway expanded accordingly. HHES hasn't been touched since the mid 1990's and is due to be revisited. Closing Center School at the same time doing HHES just makes good sense looking at the student census projections.
Rob Gianazza January 22, 2013 at 03:17 AM
You have to bring the entire building up to current code in order to receive reimbursement from the state. Fire doors, handicap access. That includes restrooms. Also it would be foolish to close Center School prior to completing the renovation. Swing space was a critical issue at the high school. Remember you left before construction began. I lived it.
Steven DeVaux January 22, 2013 at 03:39 AM
Rob, Of course! Why wouldn't parent want their children to be in the safest building possible? Bringing a building up to code significantly enhances the safety of the building for both staff as well as young children. Eliminating harmful toxanogins is certainly a worthwhile endeavor. Post SRO's at Center School until HHES is complete. With no construction going on, it won't take more than a year if they fast track it and the competitive bidding will bring it in significantly under what it would have previously cost. Fire doors save lives. Handicapp access is the law of the land. It's not a child's fault they are handicapped. Parents would support if for sure if they knew what conditions exist now then.

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