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Board of Ed may close school

WINSTED — The Winchester Board of Education voted in Susan Hoffnagle as its chairman and Christine Royer as secretary for the 2011-13 term during a regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15, at The Gilbert School, where board members continued to discuss issues at Hinsdale Elementary School, including recent mold remediation and the need to replace the school’s gym floor.Superintendent of Schools Tom Danehy has pointed to a recent survey of Winsted community members as a sign that Hinsdale may be the most logical school to close at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, as it appears to be the school with the most problems.The survey, conducted on the SurveyMonkey website, asked Winsted residents several questions related to the school system, including the following: “Short-term measures are expected to alleviate the current mold issue at Hinsdale School. To prevent a recurrence, significant capital repairs are needed. Would you favor closing Hinsdale Elementary School rather than spending additional funds?”Nearly two third of respondents — 63 percent — said they would prefer seeing Hinsdale closed, with 37 percent responding no. There were 211 total residents who responded to the survey.Asked which renovation project at Hinsdale is the most important to residents, 70.9 percent indicated mold abatement, followed by 17.7 percent responding gym floor. Seven percent said improvements to ventilation and 5.6 percent said re-roofing.The survey also indicated that if Hinsdale were to close, students would be relocated to Batcheller and Pearson schools. Batcheller would house kindergarten through second grade, while Pearson would house grades three through six. Asked how they rated this configuration, 35.1 percent said good, 28 percent said excellent, 19 percent said fair and 18 percent said poor. Asked what the timeline should be for relocating students at Hinsdale, 30.3 percent said the relocation should happen in August 2012, 26.5 percent said by the end of the current calendar year, 20.4 percent said by Nov. 30, 15.2 percent said not at all and 7.7 percent said by Jan. 30, 2012. Danehy has also submitted a list of needed repairs at the town’s elementary schools to the Board of Education. Items at Hinsdale include emergency lights, roof repairs, hall tiles, cracked kitchen tiles, a fire door, boilers, curbing and broken windows.

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