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North Stonington school board reaffirms commitment to keeping students in town

North Stonington — The town's Board of Education voted Wednesday night to remain committed to keeping a pre-K to 12 school district in town, and delayed approval of the school modernization proposal as the committee needed more time to revise the language.

The vote comes weeks after the superintendent of Stonington schools Van Riley presented a feasibility study for accepting Wheeler High School students, which surprised and upset many school officials in North Stonington.

The motion, made by board member Darren Robert, notes the board is "committed and unified to use existing resources available to us to maintain the current, system Pre-K to 12 meaning that grades 9 through 12 will continue to be educated in North Stonington."

It reaffirms an identical vote on May 28, 2014, stating the town should maintain a local K-12 school system, which also passed unanimously.

Similar votes on March 14, 2012, and Nov. 28, 2012, came in response to a feasibility study to send Wheeler students to other schools in the region, and a petition to close Wheeler High school, respectively.

Stonington Board of Education Chair Frank Todisco and Riley wrote Monday in a letter addressed to North Stonington's Board of Education they will not pursue the study further.

"We had hoped to open up proactive dialogue on scenarios mutually beneficial, not vitriol," they wrote. "It is obvious our study angered North Stonington's Superintendent and its Board of Education Chair. That was not our intent."

The school modernization package was postponed as the ad hoc school committee corresponds with the state Bond Commission to write the language of the motion.

Ad Hoc Committee Chair Mike Urgo said members hope to be able to present the project to a vote at the Board of Education's meeting March 29 at 6 p.m., after which it will be forwarded to the boards of selectmen and finance.


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