On Monday, a change.org petition was created by Waterbury resident, Precious Price, in order to prevent the closure of Macdonough Elementary School. Macdonough Elementary School is a vital part of the Middletown community, and provides education for 240 students in kindergarten to fifth grade. The closure was proposed by the Ad Hoc School Closure Committee in order to resolve budget issues. However, members of the community have expressed their fears that the loss of Macdonough will have a negative impact on local children and families who rely on the close proximity of the school to their homes.
Here is the text of the petition:
“We Need Your Help TODAY!!
The Middletown Connecticut Board of Education, in attempts to reduce a budget shortfall, is discussing closing Macdonough Elementary School! The Ad Hoc School Closure Committee, formed by the Board of Education, was tasked to objectively discuss several options for elementary school closures, and their recommendations were as follows:
- Don’t close any school
- IF you HAVE to close a school, close Macdonough
- Factors to consider before making a decision (how this could affect residents of the North End and all of Middletown)
Macdonough Elementary is located in the North End of Middletown, Connecticut where some of the most economically disadvantaged residents of Middletown live. It is so central to the community that most of the parents walk or drive their children to school. This makes it easier for parents to be actively engaged in their children’s learning. Macdonough is also home of the oldest school-based health center in Connecticut, and is the only one in Middletown.
If Macdonough Elementary School is closed, over 240 kids will be displaced to Spencer Elementary School, and many students at Spencer will be dispersed to other schools in the Middletown public school system.
This school closure will have an effect on all of our Middletown Public School Children and families!!
Please stand with us on the North End of Middletown as we fight to save our school!!!”
The closure of Macdonough could lead to possible overcrowding in surrounding schools, as well as a disruption in the educations of hundreds of Middletown children. It is estimated that over 200 children would have to travel by bus or be driven by their parents to other schools. This change could complicate the lives of many families with one or more working parents who do not have the time to drive their children to a school that is further away.
This year the Macdonough community has said goodbye to a former principal, Jon Romeo, who was involved in creating connections with the wider Middletown community. Steve Woznicki has assumed the position of temporary principal for the 2016-17 academic year. It is expected that the Board of Education will decide to close either the Spencer School or Macdonough Elementary in the following year.
Wesleyan University and Macdonough Elementary have forged a relationship based on academic collaboration, where current Wesleyan students visit Macdonough in order to tutor children in math and science. The two schools are united through a series of different programs, such as: the Wesleyan Tutors through community service, Wesleyan Mentors and the Wesleyan University ASCEND program. Macdonough also has partnerships with local businesses such as the 21st Century Learning Center Grant that is partnered with Oddfellows Playhouse, Typhoon Restaurant, It’s Only Natural, La Boca and the Middletown YMCA “Kids Corner”.
According to a comment by Steve Collins on the change.org petition “Macdonough is a school that works in defiance of the economic challenges in the neighborhood.”
The petition now has 628 signatures and requires another 372 in order to reach its goal of 1000. You can sign the petition by clicking here.