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Haddam Elementary to close due to enrollment issues

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HIGGANUM  --  Dozens of parents attended the Haddam-Killingworth Board of Education meeting Tuesday night to protest the district’s decision to close Haddam Elementary School.

The board made the decision based on a report that showed decreasing numbers in enrollment.

Many parents say the decision to close one school and consolidate will lead to larger class sizes and declining test scores. In addition, parents say the school has been around for generations, providing students with a wonderful education.

“The education that I got there, my father, my brother, my uncles — it’s a great, great school,” said Jennifer Petrillo, who has a child currently attending the school.

Some parents brought their children to Haddam-Killingworth Middle School on Tuesday night to protest before the school board meeting began.

“Save H.E.S.!” young students chanted. “Save H.E.S.!”

“It feels good to be surrounded by all of my friends,” said Zach Goldfarb, a fifth-grade student at Haddam-Killingworth Middle School.

Goldfarb attended Haddam Elementary School and said he has good memories.

“I don’t like it closing because all the kids from kindergarten to third grade have to go to Burr, which is far away from HES,” said Goldfarb.

Burr Elementary School is located about 4 miles away from H.E.S.

During a public comment, parents voiced concerns about potential changes to student transportation, job loss and budget cuts.

“We wanted the best schools for our kids,” said one parent.

“There’s a lot of data to support that smart development is centered around a school building,” said Kathryn Rizzo, another parent. “It brings in business. It’s good for our center.”

“We’re creating an intermediate school in addition to closing the elementary,” said Joanne Nesti, board chair for the regional school district. “We’re going K-3 and moving the fourth graders here to utilize this building better, which is our newest structure.”

But many parents said they do not like that plan. They want to vote again and send it to town referendum so they can decide the school’s fate.

“The Board of Education has the authority and the responsibility to make a decision about its future,” said Nesti. “So the information that the board had was sufficient for them to vote for the whole restructuring.”

Click here to take a look at the report.

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