BRISTOL — Newfound Area School District officials were left with a lot on their plate after town voting Tuesday, including the vote by residents of Hebron and Bridgewater for a study on the viability of the two towns withdrawing from the school district and forming their own district.
Before tackling the withdrawal issue, the new school board will deal with the district-wide defeat of the proposed three-year teachers’ contract, which was reached through negotiations between the school board and the Newfound Area Teachers Association.
That proposal was defeated in district voting on Tuesday, 1,053 to 1,201. Voters approved, however, the following warrant article that provided for a special district meeting to decide the teachers’ contract. Superintendent Stacey Buckley said the new school board will have to decide whether to pursue the current contract proposal with the approved district meeting or not.
Buckley said the board will soon begin the process of studying the possible withdrawal of the two towns from the district in response to Tuesday’s votes for a withdrawal feasibility study. It is the same process the board followed last year after Danbury voters asked for a study on withdrawing from the district.
The study will again be conducted by a committee with at least one member of the school board from each town, one selectman from each town, and other members that may be appointed by the committee. The committee will report its findings to the state Board of Education within 180 days after the date of formation. The articles on both towns’ warrant stipulated that there would be no cost for the study.
Last year’s study showed Danbury would have to pay a significantly high cost to withdraw. Danbury officials decided it would be feasible to withdrawn, but not “viable.”