The Danbury City Council has authorized up to $490,000 to buy temporary classrooms for Shelter Rock Elementary School. About 60 percent of the cost will be reimbursed by the state.
The city's school enrollment is growing by 2.5 percent annually, but Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sal Pascarella says enrollment at the elementary school level has jumped as high as 5 percent in some cases. He noted that redistricting was done two years ago, after 18 classrooms were added. There is a sister-school agreement with Stadley Rough Elementary School as well. But Pascarella says there's no room there anymore.
Pascarella says they've converted the space inside the building by turning the stage and pockets in media center into classrooms. The average class size at Shelter Rock is 28 or 29 kids.
4th Ward Council members previously met with the Shelter Rock PTO about classroom overcrowding, and were pleased with the allocation.
Councilman Tom Saadi says this is possible because of a change in state law that now allows for reimbursement for temporary classrooms. Before, it had to be permanent construction in order to be eligible for reimbursement. Saadi says if Danbury doesn't need the temporary classrooms at Shelter Rock down the road, they can be utilized somewhere else. Prior to the change in state law, municipalities were locked in to building classrooms that may be underutilized in the future.