Frustrated parents in Hamden are fighting to keep their schools open after the district decided to close two locations Thursday night.
The Board of Education unanimously voted to close and repurpose the Church Street and Shepherd Glen schools, moving sixth grade to the middle school and incorporating Wintergreen Magnet School into the public school system.
This will impact more than 1,000 students.
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Redistricting for Hamden schools has been on the table since last fall.
“When we've come to our decisions it is something that has not been made in haste,” said board member Melissa Kaplan.
Many parents were upset with the decision, calling it a mistake and threatening to move out of the district if the schools close.
Board members argue that this benefits all Hamden students. They say declining enrollment, budget concerns and making sure schools are racially balanced all played a role in the changes.
“Any transition is difficult but the other alternative is cutting opportunities and curriculum and programming and to me that is doing a disservice to every student,” Kaplan said.
It’s still up in the air how much money this will save the district. It could be millions if Wintergreen students who live in Hamden transition to the public schools.
Those who spoke at the meeting said that won’t happen.
“You will not recoup the funds you expect from us or others as your math estimates because you underestimate our commitment,” one parent said.
The school closures will happen in phases, with the hope to have all this completed by the 2022-2023 school year.
And because the Wintergreen building is owned by the town, the board must petition the council to transfer it to them.