Starting in the fall of 2021, Regional School District 13 will have a “one building track for all” system, ending the decades-long practice of offering different programs at its two elementary and two middle schools.
The board Wednesday approved a new grade configuration: pre-school through second grade at Brewster School, grades three through five at Memorial School, and keeping grades six through eight at Strong Middle School and nine through 12 at Coginchaug Regional High School. The estimated costs of this new configuration are $2.2 million.
Regional School District 13 covers Durham and Middlefield.
The vote comes after years of debate over how to address declining enrollment. The new configuration effectively closes John Lyman Elementary School, deemed the most logical choice due to the building’s condition.
“The issue has been very well vetted by the board, the population projection trends have been studied thoroughly, they've been examined by professionals,” Middlefield board member Lucy Petrella said.
She said there have also been many opportunities for public input, and the one track for all approach was clearly favored in a recent resident survey.
Board Chairman Bob Moore said a survey in December received 640 total responses, indicating support for the plan approved Wednesday over an alternative that called for two elementary schools and one middle school.
“I think it did change a couple minds (on the board),” Moore said.
Before implementing the new configuration, district administrators and the board will seek feedback on programming from teachers, students and the public. Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Veronesi said the process will begin this month.