Your Questions Answered: Master Planning Q & A
This Q&A is an effort to provide you with an overview of RSD17’s activities in regard to the long-range mastering planning for the school district.
Q: What is the RSD17 Master Plan?
A: The Master Plan is a long-range plan to repair, rebuild or replace the school buildings. RSD17 has been in existence for over 50 years, and many of the buildings are older than that. The buildings are outdated, costly to maintain, and make it difficult to deliver up-to-date learning strategies. Many structures are deteriorating at a faster rate than we can repair them. Our schools were designed in the 20th century but as we are now in the 21st century, we need to create safe, accessible, learning spaces to support educational experiences that will help our students go out into the world and compete in the global economy.
Q: What is the process for developing the Master Plan recommendation to the community?
A: A subcommittee of the board of education, the finance and facilities subcommittee, meets regularly to address repairs, maintenance and improvements to our school buildings. Additionally, as the district was developing the Strategic Plan, hundreds of community members were surveyed, and many of the questions were about the school facilities. Based on the subcommittee's reports on the conditions of our school and the feedback from the community, we have begun the process of understanding how Haddam and Killingworth residents want to address the current conditions.
RSD17 is making every effort to raise awareness of the needs of the schools and give every resident an opportunity to have a voice in the process before a final recommendation is made. The information residents provide will be used to identify a long-range school facilities plan that meets the educational needs of our students while also addressing the expectations of the community. Several options are being considered and discussed with residents now. Once a final plan is developed it will be shared prior to a referendum. The schools are a shared resource, so any major decision to improve them needs to be approved by the towns.
Q: What opportunities does the community have to participate and learn about the Master Plan?
A: There are multiple community conversations planned to provide for public discourse regarding the development of the plan. The first two took place in May and June. The community was also surveyed. The full recordings, presentations and survey results can be found on the project website, sites.google.com/rsd17.org/masterplanproject.
Upcoming community conversations are scheduled for September 13 and November 16 at 6 p.m. at Haddam Killingworth High School. There is an open house at the high school at 4:30 p.m. prior to the event on September 13.
If you are unable to attend these events, we encourage you to attend a regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting, send an email to email@example.com with questions or suggestions, or visit the project website to learn more.
Q: Why doesn’t the board just address the known mechanical, safety, and accessibility issues and hold off on other renovations?
A: The community may decide to simply repair the current facilities, rebuild the buildings or build as new. It is important to note, that due to the age of many of our current facilities the availability of parts needed for repairs is sometimes limited and can be very expensive. Whatever plan the community decides on in the future, it is important to begin having the conversations now. Any decision will mean a community investment and will take years to complete.
Q: How will this affect my taxes?
A: The final Master Plan recommendation will determine the tax implications for residents. At the November 16 community conversation the final plan will be presented. Prior to that, we will share the estimated costs for any options that are being considered. We anticipate holding a referendum in 2024 to implement the final plan.