After first voting to take Nathan Hale Elementary School "offline" last year, then voting earlier this year to formally deem former Spruce Street school closed, the Board of Education said Wednesday that it no longer wants to be responsible for the costs associated with maintaining the building either.
Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel told the Board of Education during its meeting Wednesday night that the district had been paying minimal heating, utilities and custodial costs associated with the school, but that up until several weeks ago it still had supplies and equipment in the building. Kisiel said the district now has "no use for the building," while the town has been using the gym and the cafeteria for recreation activities.
"It's reaching a point right now where we don't have money in the budget to cover for heating in the building, and we're heating it," Kisiel said.
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Kisiel suggested that the school board could vote to formally turn the building over to the town, or try to work out some arrangement where the town reimbursed the school board for costs associated with the building.
Michael Crockett, a Republican member of the school board, said he didn't want the district paying to maintain the building any longer, but that he feared turning the building over to the town might mean the school system would not be able to use it in the future. Crockett noted preliminary discussions about possibly establishing a charter school in town have noted that Nathan Hale might be an ideal site.
"I am quite scared that if we do turn it over, we might not get it back," Crockett said.
But Neal Leon, a Democratic member of the school board, said he thought the board should relinquish the property to the town, because he was confident that town leaders would return the building if the district had use of it in the future.
"I don't think that town officials would hesitate to give that back as a magnet school," Leon said.
Ultimately, the school board decided to table a decision until its next meeting because several members were absent.