Following years of declining enrollment in Regional School District 13 and projections for that trend to continue, in 2021, the Board of Education recommended closing Middlefield’s John Lyman Elementary School.
Ultimately, however, what to do with Lyman school – a long-debated topic in the community – was left up to residents. A referendum question on the 2021 municipal election ballot stated: “Shall the Regional School District 13 Plan of Regionalization be amended to authorize the Region 13 Board of Education to close John Lyman Elementary School in the Town of Middlefield?”
While most voters answered in the affirmative, the majority of electors in both Durham and Middlefield had to vote “yes” for the referendum to pass, and that did not happen.
Now, another referendum has been scheduled, for Tuesday, Feb. 8, where local voters will be asked: “Shall Regional School District No. 13, comprised of the Towns of Durham and Middlefield, appropriate $7,500,000 for renovations and improvements to John Lyman Elementary School and authorize the issuance of bonds, notes or temporary notes in an amount not to exceed $7,500,000 to finance the appropriation?”
According to RSD13, the recommended improvements include “repairs to driveways, parking areas and playground areas and repairs or upgrades to the exterior of the building, including door and roof replacements, windows and calking. Interior improvements include various repairs to ensure compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), the abatement of asbestos tile flooring, renovations to the kitchen, the replacement of hot water circulating pumps, expansion of the fire sprinkler system and associated pumps, the replacement of various boilers and pumps, the replacement of the air cooled chiller and ventilators, the replacement of exhaust fans and various upgrades to electrical facilities.”
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Feb. 8. The polling locations are Coginchaug Regional High School and Middlefield Community Center.
Connecticut law allows you to receive an absentee ballot if you cannot appear at your assigned polling place because of active service in the military, absence from the town during all of the hours of voting, illness, religious tenets forbid secular activity on the day of the election, duties as an official at a polling place other than your own during all of the hours of voting, or physical disability.
Absentee ballot applications can be found online at https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS. Completed applications should be sent to your town clerk.