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School Board No Longer Wants to Maintain Nathan Hale School

Board of Education members don't want to be responsible for the costs associated with maintaining the now closed Nathan Hale Elementary School.

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. 

Nutmegger February 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Nice job with the attendance, school board. Between your votes on this issue and your apparent lack of interest in doing your jobs, you're really winning my votes for anyone opposing you in November.
Joel Mrosek February 14, 2013 at 01:12 PM
I could be off base, but it seems the Board of Ed wags the dog. I recall a rash of school closings 20 years ago. When the projected demographic shifts did not occur the Board of Ed ran back to the Town to fund the "educational crisis". It is one thing for the Town to have to shoulder the burden of whatever the BoE negotiates with the teachers it is another for the BoE to be allowed to dump and then request physical assets at what often times appears to be a whim. I think the BoE should find the funding internally. And 2 questions they should be required to answer are, "Why weren't these costs considered and resolved PRIOR to the closing of Nathan Hale? What happened to all the savings that resulted from the closing, were they returned to the Town?"
George Beauregard February 14, 2013 at 01:49 PM
Why not just turn the building over to the Town? Surely they'll be able to fill it up with new offices and added personnel!
Bob Hetzel February 14, 2013 at 02:09 PM
I think it is long past time that the town take over the control and maintenance of all public education facilities, including the budget, personnel, equipment, utilities and supplies required. This will probably require a change in state laws. Then, the education budget would be entirely for education, not real estate. The town already supplies plowing, mowing, trash pickup, recreation facilities, traffic control, public safety, etc., and these don't come out of the BOE budget.
tina bourke February 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM
I've come to terms with Nathan Hale's closing. If it is a "minimal cost" to maintain as the article states from Mr. Kisiel, and it is deemed closed but the town is using it anyway for recreation, charge them rent to cover the minimal cost? Whatever the decision outcome, we still have to consider the building's repair needs in deciding the fate of Nathan Hale. I thought it would of made a great location for the library but thought Mr. Crockett's consideration of a Magnet school wasn't a bad idea either? The back of it could be turned into parking?
tina bourke February 14, 2013 at 02:54 PM
whoops, for the library.....
Neal Leon February 14, 2013 at 03:27 PM
This meeting was rescheduled on short notice due to the snow storm. Thus, 3 BOE members were unable to attend. BOE members volunteer their time and have families and jobs. We spend many hours each week away from our families working to improve our school district. Personally, I spend an average 12 hours per week on matters related to BOE business or school events. I have no problem accepting criticism for my view points or how I vote on issues. However, I take issue with your comment about "lack of interest".
Edie February 15, 2013 at 03:27 PM
I agree with you, I want to know where all the saving went from the closing of this school. Also 20 years ago when a few of the schools were closed it ended up being real costly for those of us that pay taxes in this town. Parents begged the school board not to close these schools but they did anyway they thought they knew better than the people of the town and they ended up being wrong the town was still growing but they couldn't see it. So between the costs of closing the schools, moving all the children around to other schools, etc. and than years later reopening schools after bringing them up to code, etc. The cost was tremendous. As tax payers we cannot afford this kind of ignorance from our school board or town.
tina bourke February 15, 2013 at 04:04 PM
@Neil, thank you for your service!!!! I think I finally understand Ms. Ouellette and Ms Kidd?. I'm wondering what happened to our town with the snipping turf battles and pitting the town folk against the town hall and vise versa? I think it was Ms., Kidd speaking about lack of attendance from towns folks at these formal meetings to discus the problems facing ALL of us. And yes her frustrations did get the best of her but that doesn't negate their were real issues contributing to it. Are these snipping turf battles? What the hec happened to our town????
tina bourke February 15, 2013 at 04:18 PM
David, I bookmarked your other patch page. I access it the same way every time. Sometimes I can access it to post and see the comments and sometimes I only see the page but can't post?
Christine M joyner February 18, 2013 at 09:06 PM
We are devastating the neighborhood. First the Library in the center within walking distance, then let go and dump our responsibility to Nathan Hale, now ECHN Medical will attract a mob at the new proposed??? Dollar Store. Why weren't neighbors polled or at least notified of a Planning and Zoning meeting? We are abandoning the center of Manchester! Do you wonder why the young people do not stay in our home town?
Christine M joyner February 18, 2013 at 09:08 PM
We can not financially support more of these town employees unless we keep up the taxpayers and keep this a town people come to, not leave.
Mark LeClair February 20, 2013 at 02:12 PM
We have to assume that Nutmegger his or herself is volunteering without pay to sacrifice up to 20 hours a week for the town of Manchester. Otherwise, what reason would he/she have to imply impropriety of those who do?
Mark LeClair February 20, 2013 at 02:14 PM
How much property and businesses are you willing to purchase and sustain with your own money? It's too easy to sit at home at your computer and think about ways other people should be spending their money, isn't it Ms. Joyner?
Edie February 22, 2013 at 06:25 AM
I would like to add the Post Office to your list along with the smaller ones that closed on Main Street, making it harder for people to get to a post office because of where it is now located and for some business they need to go a lot further to pick up their mail. I agree with you it seems like the center of town is being abandoned.
tina bourke February 22, 2013 at 12:41 PM
^ I read they are opening a couple of new businesses on Main so it is looking up. Also looks like the MCC Arts building which was donated has a lot of traffic....... Mail has decreased since cyber world etc., and they may even close mailings on Saturday's I read.

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