MERIDEN — About 75 parents came out to Thomas Edison Middle School Thursday night to hear ACES administrators talk about the magnet school’s future.
The forum by ACES was in response to the Meriden Board of Education’s decision to form an ad hoc committee to study projected increases in its middle school enrollment in the next two years. Meriden owns the 20-year-old school on North Broad Street and hires Area Cooperative Educational Services to staff and operate it. That agreement ends in 2020, as does the city's deal with the state to run Edison as a magnet school with students attending from partner districts.
One of the options city school officials have discussed is having the Meriden Board of Education operate Edison.
“ACES is committed to the magnet school and committed to the parents and committed to the staff,” said ACES Executive Director Thomas Danehy. “We are committed to making parent choice something that is real.”
Danehy told parents that this is the first time in 20 years that ACES has heard that the Meriden Board of Education may want to operate the school. Talks between ACES, the city school board and partner districts will begin before the contract with ACES expires on June 30, Danehy said.
“Our eyes are wide open to what is happening,” Danehy said. “But Thomas Edison will continue to be a magnet school.”
Thomas Edison educates 700 students from the towns of Meriden (512 students), Wallingford, Waterbury and Middletown. The school is known for its concentration on science, math, engineering and technology.
Principal Karen Habegger told the group of parents gathered Thursday night that Edison can accept more Meriden students to help the city meet enrollment increases, but must also accept more students from participating districts.
Habegger touted student achievement that showed overall improvement in core subjects in the past four years. She also shared the per pupil costs that appeal to municipalities. Cities and towns pay $4,913 per student to send students to Edison, compared to per pupil costs of $13,723 in Meriden, $17,992 in Wallingford and $19,646 in Region 13.
“The program here is outstanding,” said Barbara Verstergaard, a grandparent. “I work in a private school and I understand what a good education is... I see it everyday.”