BOE Admits School District Failed to Conduct Regular Fire Drills

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 24, 2018 8:16 am

Sally E. Bahner PhotoBoard of Education (BOE) Chair Michael Krause admitted last week that the BOE failed to monitor the absence of fire and safety drills in the Branford public school system for years. This will now change.

At a meeting of the BOE’s Communications Committee earlier this month, Krause updated parents and teachers on school safety issues that have arisen in the aftermath of the shootings at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in February.

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Perrotti Appointed to BOE Vacancy

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 19, 2018 9:11 am

Sally E. Bahner PhotoAfter deliberating in executive session, the Board of Education (BOE) voted to appoint Dawn Perrotti to fill the vacancy left by the death of longtime member Judith Hotz in January.

In going into the executive session earlier this month, Krause said, “The board is committed to selecting a candidate that has a strong record of supporting all children and to working collaboratively with others to serve the community in the important endeavor of educating Branford’s children. We recognize each candidate brings their experience, expertise and willingness to the interview process.”

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Girls Tennis Runs Into a Guilford Buzzsaw

by Bill O'Brien | Apr 18, 2018 9:48 am

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe Branford girls’ tennis team started off the season winning three of their first four matches. They lost the first match to Sheehan by only one game (3-4) and then went on defeat Shelton (5-2), Law (6-1), and avenged their loss to Sheehan, 4-3, in their rematch.

Bill O'Brien PhotoLast Thursday, on a cool and blustery afternoon, the young Hornets knew they were going up against a conference power. The Guilford Indians came to town riding a five-game winning streak and winning all their matches by lopsided scores ranging from 7-0 to 5-2. They actually won 38 of the 42 matches played.

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‘Lunch Ladies’ Determined to Keep School Jobs

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 16, 2018 8:57 am | Comments (8)

Sally E. Bahner PhotoThe Board of Education is terminating its contract with Chartwell Food Service at the end of the school year and the 22 “lunch ladies” employed by Chartwell may be out of jobs. They will have to reapply for new jobs at various public schools under a different contractor.

They made their concerns known at last week’s meeting of the Board of Education’s Personnel and Finance Committee meeting, standing with signs as Renee DeAngeles, a 26-year Chartwell employee and Branford resident, addressed the committee.

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State Bond Commission Approves $1M Grant for Blackstone Library

by marcia chambers | Apr 14, 2018 8:56 am

With PermissionFor Blackstone Library leaders, Friday was one of those great days. In the morning, Library Director Karen Jensen and Blackstone Board Chair Andy McKirdy were on hand in Hartford with State Rep. Lonnie Reed (pictured) when the State Bond Commission formally approved a $1 million library construction grant.

Bill O'Brien PhotoIn the afternoon, they were back at the Blackstone to announce that individual donations to the library’s capital campaign reached the amount needed to qualify for the Branford Community Foundation’s (BCF) match of $100,000. The $100,000 grant, to be distributed over four years, is the largest single contribution to an organization in the history of the BCF.

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Branford’s $112M Town-School Budget Arrives at RTM

by Marcia Chambers & Sally E. Bahner | Apr 11, 2018 8:52 am

Sally E. Bahner PhotoA $112M town-school budget approved by the Board of Finance (pictured) formally heads to the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight with a tiny mill rate increase, following the pattern of a number of shoreline communities this year.

The RTM will examine the RTM budget as it seeks to find additional ways to decrease it. The formal process begins at the RTM meeting tonight at Fire Headquarters at 8 p.m. But the RTM “cannot increase it,” Joseph Mooney, chair of the BOF, said late last month when the BOF unanimously adopted it. Under state law, the BOF consists of three Democrats and three Republicans. At this point, the mill rate would increase a smidgen from 28.47 mills to 28.67 mills over the previous rate. But it might go lower.

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Building Commission Signs Off on Walsh Costs

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 4, 2018 9:31 am | Comments (1)

Sally E. Bahner PhotoUPDATE—The Public Building Commission (pictured) last week unanimously approved $68,471,807 as the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for the Walsh Intermediate School renovation and expansion project. The next and final step takes place before the Board of Selectmen.

The difference between the GMP and the $88.2 million total cost of the renovation – approximately $20 million – is for “soft costs” such as furnishings, architects’ fees, legal fees, and owner’s representative (Colliers) fees. The state is providing $30 million toward the project, which is expected to get underway in June.

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Blumenthal: Biggest Threat is Loss of Civil Liberties

by marcia chambers | Apr 3, 2018 8:04 am | Comments (2)

Bill O'Brien PhotoU.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told the junior class at Branford High yesterday that while some might say North Korea is the biggest threat to our country, he believes the biggest threat “we have is to the rule of law, to our civil rights. I think we are in greater danger than at any point in my lifetime of losing critical rights and liberties.”

Bill O'Brien PhotoBlumenthal was responding to a question from one of 200-plus students who turned out for a Town Hall meeting in the BHS auditorium. The Town Hall meeting, which Blumenthal helped to arrange, took about an hour. Afterwards he answered numerous questions from students individually. Some were concerned about safety at their school, which they said had improved. The event was live-streamed so that teachers and students in classes elsewhere in the building could watch it.

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Public Updated on Ins & Outs of Walsh Renovation Project

by Sally E. Bahner | Apr 2, 2018 8:20 am

With  PermissionParents and Board of Education members gathered in the Walsh Intermediate School cafeteria recently to learn the latest updates about the school’s $88.2 million construction/renovation, including new drop-off entrances and bus routes into the school. One issue yet to be fully resolved is getting enough space to line up the vehicles for pickup and drop off.

Parents also learned that from this June to August the school itself will be closed while site work is underway. Construction will be contained, separate from the day-to-day functioning of the school.

An additional outreach session will take place Tuesday, April 3, 7 to 8 p.m., at the Mary R. Tisko School gymnasium.

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Opening Night: Shrek Dazzles Branford Crowd

by Bill O'Brien | Mar 24, 2018 9:09 am

Bill O'Brien Photo“Shrek,” the fictional ogre character by American author William Steig came to Branford this week in the form of a play by the same name.  From all indications, the performance dazzled the mixed crowd of adults and children.

Bill O'Brien Photo“We lit up the theater tonight” (known as the Cathyann Roding Auditorium), said play Director Colin Sheehan. It was packed because Wednesday performance was cancelled because of the weather. Many people with tickets exchanged them for other performances.There are performances tonight and tomorrow.

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