The Danbury City Council has once again 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. There was a technical issue that had to be cleared up. Corporation Counsel Les Pinter says the state required the motion to restate the essence of the resolution, and wanted the actual language in there before adoption. The City must send a resolution including three specifics. A school building committee must be established, the City Council must authorize schematics for the project, and the Board of Education must submit a grant application to 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.
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.