Norwich — The Board of Education will hold a special meeting May 29 with officials from Norwich Free Academy to hear a presentation on a proposed transitional high school at NFA.
NFA Head of School David Klein presented the proposal to the NFA Board of Trustees Tuesday. The board authorized him to enter into discussions with Norwich public school officials on a possible partnership agreement to start the program this fall and have it take the place of Thames River Academy.
Superintendent Abby Dolliver said that other than to schedule the May 29 meeting, she has not yet discussed the proposal formally with Klein.
Klein and NFA trustees Chairman David Whitehead will present the proposal. The meeting is open to the public.
A state-mandated program audit of Thames River Academy strongly criticized school management, curriculum and the learning environment and recommended wholesale changes to improve the school.
In Klein's proposal, NFA could start a transitional high school program at the start of the 2012-13 school year with the 55 Norwich students who would otherwise attend Thames River Academy. The proposed budget would be $1.5 million, with proposed tuition at $25,000 per student for regular education and $39,000 for special education.
Klein presented a second option: a larger, $1.9 million program for 80 or more students with the same tuition rates, open to all NFA partner towns and possibly to private tuition students.
The NFA Board of Trustees voted to authorize discussions with Norwich school officials. Two board committees will review the program and report back to the full board in June.
"Opening a transitional high school will allow the Norwich Free Academy to provide a more comprehensive educational program to students from Norwich, the other seven partner districts we currently serve and any other school districts in our region," Klein said Wednesday. "Educating young people is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. The academy has developed a thoughtful program concept that we are proud of, and we are confident in our ability to successfully meet the needs of students who require a transitional program."