WECA Endorses CREC School Proposal

While Frog Hollow fights the medical facility sprawl and Parkville battles an attempt to construct another gas station, much of the West End had recently turned out to debate the expansion of a school. Despite arguments against it — complaints about traffic, zoning, and bus pollution, to Superintendent Kishimoto’s statement that this competition from CREC would hurt Hartford Public Schools — the West End Civic Association’s Executive Board voted to endorse the school proposal on Wednesday evening.

There are strings attached.

In a letter from David Barrett, the President of WECA, it is noted that the motion includes the following conditions:

  • That CREC offer the neighborhood preference indefinitely for the Museum Academy and the University of Hartford Magnet School, and enroll 100 students at each school (200 total) from the West End.
  • That CREC develop a landscaping plan that ensures parking areas are not visible from the street; the plan should provide for preservation of all specimen trees
  • That the site will have no net increase in impervious surfaces
  • That there be no environmental impact on near-by properties such as increased water run-off and no degradation of wetlands
  • Underground fuel storage tanks would be prohibited to reduce the potential of contamination to wetlands, watercourses and groundwater resources, including the Park River
  • That CREC develop a parking plan for events that ensures no parking on residential streets and use of existing institutional parking lots for parking, such as the Connecticut Historical Society and the UCONN School of Law
  • That CREC guarantee no regularly scheduled athletic play activity at Elizabeth Park
  • That CREC work with a WECA-appointed neighborhood oversight committee – all site plans would be reviewed by the committee prior to submission to the city and, if city approval occurs, periodic oversight meetings would be held with the school management team to discuss noise, traffic and any other issues of concern
  • That the Hartford Preservation Alliance’s concerns about the site renovation be addressed by the architects for the project and that Hartford Preservation Alliance and the State Historic Preservation Office continue to closely supervise the project through development and construction

The expansion on the former Hartford College for Women site would increase the number of students from 270 to 435; there would also be an increase of 20 staff and four buses.

Detour Alert

Construction on Bridge Number 03624 is slated to begin on April 2, 2012. Sigourney Street between Homestead and Sargeant will be closed to vehicular traffic, except for local access. Cyclists and pedestrians will not be detoured, as temporary access will be provided along one side of the bridge.

According to the Department of Transportation, completion of this $3.3 million project is expected by June 25, 2013.

Search for New Principal at Burns Underway

The School Governance Council is seeking input from community members regarding the principal they hope will begin at Burns for the next school year.

You can leave anonymous feedback via survey, which will close on April 4th. They are seeking feedback from parents, staff, the community, and students in seventh and eighth grade.

They have invited the public to join the SGC meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 3:30 if they have any questions or concerns.

Reform Fever

In the recent frenzy over how to most effectively change education, the issue of tenure has been the focus in Connecticut. SB24 also includes provisions to boost small schools in cities while creating obstacles for them in more rural areas. If the bill passes, more public monies will be promised to charter schools, quasi-public institutions which are exempt from certain federal mandates that public schools must fulfill or else be threatened with closure and/or loss of funding.

Some teachers want to see positive changes, but believe education reform should be implemented differently than Governor Malloy has planned.

For those wanting to learn more about why charter schools are controversial, there will be a screening of The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman at the King Davis Labor Center, 77 Huyshope Avenue. The event, which runs from 5-8pm on April 5th, will be facilitated by two teachers in the Hartford and New Haven school systems.

The screening is sponsored by AFT Connecticut and the CT Federation of Young Workers.

Hear! Hear!

The public hearing at City Hall on March 19th provides an opportunity to let one’s thoughts be known before decisions are made by the City Council. One agenda item is the creation of two non-voting positions on the Board of Education which would be reserved for students from the Hartford Public Schools. Currently, students have little-to-no input on the decisions being made which impact their educations. With the passage of this ordinance, student BOE members would have one-year terms and would be appointed by the mayor. This ordinance has been introduced by Councilpersons Anderson, DeJesus, Deutsch, Kennedy, MacDonald, and Wooden.

Other items on Monday’s agenda include (more…)