The gross politicizing of the decision to close Pettibone School reached its apex with the recent letter in the News-Times from outgoing School Board Member David Shaffer.
Mr. Shaffer was a Member of the Facilities Utilization Committee, a hand-picked group of 25 that considered the closing of JPS and the redistricting that has been a success. Among others, it included Superintendent Paddyfote, former Board Chair Wendy Faulenbach, Frank Wargo, Tom Esposito, Beth Falder, Mike Crespan, Walter Bayer and me, Tom Pilla.
The Committee voted unanimously to close JPS. Mr. Shaffer's failure to disclose that he voted to close JPS is hypocritical and disingenuous.
Three studies over the past many years predicted with uncanny accuracy a significantly declining enrollment that is also being experienced in all the surrounding Towns except Danbury.
We salute Town Councilman Walter Bayer who on October 27, 2015, called JPS a "dinosaur." The facility is decrepit and declining. Among other problems, he noted that there's asbestos in the roof, a leaking boiler that should be replaced and miles of pipe that must be inspected. There are concerns for safety and security.
Ideas for the use of the facility range from the ridiculous to the sublime but all come with a hefty price tag...where will the money come from to pay for these ideas? No one has addressed that issue and they ignore the cost-savings to the taxpayer that result from the closure and redistricting. The savings recognized are better utilized in the classroom.
The decision to close JPS shouldn't be a political issue. It's common sense.