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New Canaan Delays Decision on School Overcrowding

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The New Canaan Board of Education wants to hear from more elementary school parents and get more information before deciding what should be done to alleviate overcrowding at South School.

The school board will hold another hearing April 23 for parents to have their say and for consultant John Starr to provide updated statistics. The discussion came about as projections for the 2012-13 school year put South School’s enrollment at 587. The expected enrollment at East School is 517, according to Starr’s report, and 479 at West School.

One of Starr’s recommendations would have sent children in the Avalon apartment complex and on New Norwalk Road to East School next year, except for students heading to fourth grade. But Starr said Monday he had other recommendations, including expanding the proposed shift to the lower end of Weed Street.

Chairman Hazel Hobbs said the school board is trying to understand all the information before it makes any decisions. It plans to have more information about options on the New Canaan Public Schools website, and it wants to encourage parents to follow school board meetings on local television. “We want parents to be informed of the process we’re going through,” Hobbs said. “We want every parent to know.”

The school board hopes to make a decision by the first week of May, Hobbs said.

Lindsey Heron of Putnam Road, who has two children at South School, was pleased the board held off on a decision so parents could have more time to offer their thoughts. Heron said everyone at South recognizes the need for a smaller population and said the school board is facing a challenge. “I think it’s a very difficult decision. I don’t envy them,” she said.

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