BERLIN – The firefighter course at the high school will not be offered in the fall due to low enrollment.
“I don’t like to see the course go,” said Superintendent of Schools Brian Benigni. “We don’t have the budget to support these low enrollments. At least double digits for enrollment is needed.”
Nine students enrolled for the class, which teaches firefighting skills to juniors and seniors. It has been offered for the past eight years.
As part of the proposed $43.9 million school budget, two teachers were reduced at the high school including a technology education teacher who taught the firefighting course.
“This poses a great danger to well rounded children as well as the future firefighters in this town,” Kensington Fire Department Lt. James Wall said Tuesday.
Wall said he and members of all four town fire departments are planning to attend Monday’s Board of Education meeting to show support.
“We feel as if the public needs to know about this,” Wall said.
The course description reads: “The course is correlated to the 2002 edition of NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, Levels I, widely accepted as the standard of knowledge and skills measurement for all firefighters in North America.” reads the course description online.
The course is also listed on the Berlin Fire Department website under “cadets.” The department collaborated with the school for different training opportunities involving the students in the past.
Students will choose their classes for the fall starting next month. Depending on the projected enrollment per class, Benigni said other courses may be considered for elimination.
Though the firefighter course will not be offered in the fall, Bengini said there is a chance it could be offered in the spring.
“At this point we don’t have the course,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t have it again.”
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