Madison Releases a $61 Million Plan for a New Elementary School

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MADISON — A project to build a new elementary school for the local school district is expected to cost about $61 million, according to a recently published budget document. Chuck Warrington, the director of project management from the firm Colliers International, which the district contracted to oversee the project, explained the cost of the project at a Board of Education meeting last Tuesday.  In September, school officials released the first draft of a plan for the new Jeffrey Elementary School, which would have space for about 600 elementary school students, from kindergarten to fifth grade. The new building is part

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Door to Door with Madison First Selectman Peggy Lyons

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MADISON — Walking along Forest Hills Drive, a wooded and winding residential road just two miles from Hammonasset State Park, Madison First Selectman Peggy Lyons went door to door, making her case for reelection.  Lyons said it’s different campaigning as an incumbent. “People now have specific things that they want to ask the incumbent about, rather than just trying to learn who you are,” Lyons said. “Usually it’s positive things, but sometimes it’s not, and then it’s a good way to get a perspective on what problems are affecting voters, and get out of the bubble of just focusing on

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Bruce Wilson Goes Door to Door in Madison First Selectman Race

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Bruce Wilson, the Republican candidate for Madison First Selectman, said he has been knocking on doors since July, and is now ramped up his door knocking to seven days a week.  On a sunny, 75-degree Monday, Wilson walked up and down the streets off Neck Road, a neighborhood once mainly made up of summer homes and now populated year-round by families. With the beach just steps away, Wilson said that more families have chosen to tear down the smaller older cottages, combine lots and renovate family homes as the value of the land has increased. Stopping at one smaller lot,

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Candidates for Madison Board of Ed Weigh $85 Million School Plan

MADISON — All six Republican and Democratic candidates for the town’s Board of Education agree that the district’s school buildings need a major upgrade. The current Board of Education has outlined a four-part, $85 million school infrastructure plan, which includes constructing a new pre-kindergarten to fifth grade elementary school, closing Jeffrey and Ryerson Elementary Schools and the Town Campus Learning Center, converting Brown Intermediate School into a kindergarten to fifth grade school and renovating Polson Middle School. That plan will be put to a vote at a February 2022 townwide referendum. In interviews with CT Examiner, the candidates voiced support

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Madison Releases Plans for New Elementary School

MADISON — School officials released the first draft of a plan for the new Jeffrey Elementary School building at a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.  The plan is part of a $85 million building project that includes constructing a new pre-kindergarten to fifth grade elementary school, closing Jeffrey and Ryerson Elementary Schools and the Town Campus Learning Center, converting Brown Intermediate School into a kindergarten to fifth grade school and renovating Polson Middle School. According to the document, the building will include space for 600 Pre-K through fifth grade students. Dan Hansen, an independent educational consultant and former assistant

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Madison Police to Appeal Release of Evidence from Barbara Beach Hamburg Murder

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The Madison Police Department is appealing a court ruling upholing an order by the state’s Freedom of Information Commission that the department release all records — except signed witness statements — related to the unsolved murder of Barbara Beach Hamburg. Her death in 2010 was the subject of an HBO true crime documentary series produced by her son Madison Hamburg.   In a meeting of the town’s Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday evening, Police Chief John Drumm said that if the courts ultimately ruled in favor of releasing the records, it could create a precedent that would affect police

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Madison Students Buck Statewide Trend, Show Gains in Learning Last Year

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New standardized test data for students enrolled at public schools in Madison buck widespread declines by school districts across the state, when compared to 2018-19 test scores. According to state data from the Smarter Balanced Assessment, 69 percent of students in grades 3 to 8 in Madison performed at grade level in English in the year 2018-19. Remarkably, that number rose to 73.2 percent for students learning fully in-person for 2019-20. The number of students learning at grade level in math rose as well, from 66.8 percent to 69.2 percent last year.  Craig Cooke, superintendent of schools in Madison, said

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$2.3 Million Offer Wins Endorsement of Madison Selectmen

MADISON — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend the sale of the former Island Avenue School to Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy in a meeting Tuesday night. The academy, which has been leasing the building since 2019, offered the town $2.3 million for the purchase of the 9.3 acre property, with plans to use the property as the permanent home for the kindergarten through eighth-grade Catholic school.  The academy was one of three organizations making offers on the former school. The other two, Newport Realty Group and Beacon Communities, planned to develop the property into rental apartments. 

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Board of Finance Gives Preliminary Approvals for Tax Incentives, Debates Limits

MADISON — The Board of Finance gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to two developers who would become the first beneficiaries of the town’s Tax Incentive Program.  The program was developed in 2018 as a way to encourage new businesses to come to the town, according to First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons. Lyons said at the Board of Finance meeting that the Board of Selectman had received these applications before COVID, but had not been able to move forward because they could not hold a Town Meeting.  Developers who are approved will receive a temporary deferral on taxes accrued from the increase

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Madison Plans Referendum on Several Long-Term Projects

The Town of Madison is preparing to hold a referendum on several long-term projects, including the development of the former Academy School into a community center, the sale of the former Island Avenue School and a building project that will overhaul the schools in the local district.  First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons said that she wanted to move the projects forward as soon as possible. She said she wanted to get all of these issues on a single ballot.  “I think it would be the right thing to aspire to that. We need to make decisions and move on and allow

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Peggy Lyons Makes Her Case for a Second Term

Madison First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons is running for a second term in the town’s top elected office, facing challenger Republican Bruce Wilson, a Republican and member of the Board of Selectmen. Lyons was elected first selectwoman in 2019, upsetting Republican Tom Banisch by a few hundred votes. Lyons sat down with the Connecticut Examiner to discuss her goals for a second term.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What have you’ve learned from your time as First Selectwoman?  We have an incredible staff that is so dedicated to serving our community, and there is a huge support

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Bruce Wilson Makes His Case For Madison First Selectman

Madison Selectman Bruce Wilson is challenging Democratic incumbent Peggy Lyons for Madison First Selectman. Wilson, a Republican, seeks the town’s top elected job after years serving on the Madison Board of Selectmen and a previous stint on the Board of Education. Lyons was elected first selectwoman in 2019, upsetting Republican Tom Banisch by a few hundred votes. Wilson sat down with the Connecticut Examiner to discuss what inspired him to join the race.  This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.  What are some of the biggest issues facing Madison right now?  We don’t seem to get a lot

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A 6-3 Vote Gives The Ledges a Green Light in Madison

MADISON — In a 6-3 vote Thursday night, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved a special exception for the building application of The Ledges, a seven-unit residential complex at 856 Boston Post Road, within the the town’s zone of cluster housing.  The project has drawn controversy partly because blasting will be needed to clear space for septic systems and for a water main, especially because water service could be disrupted to neighboring properties  The complex is named for the Ledges, the 5600-square foot home built in 1903 on the site and calls for rehabbing the house into two condominium residences. Two

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Madison Debates Four-part $85 Million School Project

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MADISON — School Superintendent Craig Cooke presented plans for an $85 million building project for the school district that will go to the town in a referendum in late 2021 or early 2022.  The project includes four parts: constructing a new pre-kindergarten to fifth grade elementary school, closing Jeffrey and Ryerson Elementary Schools and the Town Campus Learning Center, converting Brown Intermediate School into a kindergarten to fifth grade school and renovating Polson Middle School. Completion of the project is aimed for 2025.  Cooke said in a presentation to the Board of Education on Tuesday night that the disctrict expected

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Schools Across the Region Outline Varying Ideas for Spending Federal Dollars

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School districts across southeastern Connecticut are in the process of drawing up plans for how they intend to spend millions of dollars of federal funding that will be available over the next two years. The money comes in the form of two anticipated grants, known as ESSER II and the American Rescue Plan.  The proposals include a variety of projects, from outdoor classrooms to bilingual therapists, summer enrichment and chromebooks.  Here is a rundown, district by district:  Lyme-Old Lyme Ian Neviaser, superintendent at Lyme-Old Lyme schools, said the district won’t be using the combined $1.48 million in federal aid for

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Madison the Site of a Rally for Local Control of Housing and Zoning

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MADISON — In front of Town Hall Saturday, about 45 people, including local and state legislators and members of CT169Strong, rallied against several proposed housing and zoning bills that they said will transfer local control to Hartford.  “The issues that really resonate in Madison are local control — we’re a very engaged community here, people come out and they have opinions. We are really good at problem solving in a way that works for Madison, so I can’t support anything that takes local control away from us,” said Madison Selectman Bruce Wilson, who was among the speakers at the rally. 

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Madison Police and University of New Haven Plan to Pilot Counselor Ride-alongs

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The Madison Police Department is developing a pilot program with the University of New Haven to arrange for graduate students in the school’s licensed professional counseling program to accompany officers on calls when a social worker is needed.  “I think the next generation of police officers is going to be somebody, he or she, who involves themselves with a social services background, maybe in college,” Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm said during a meeting of the town’s Board of Police Commissioners on April 8.  The program comes in response to a mandate in the police accountability bill passed by the

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Cottage Road Housing Development in Madison to Break Ground in 2022

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MADISON — The 1808 home of Henry Josiah Meigs at 131 Cottage Road is slated to become part of Wellington at Madison, a 31-unit housing complex with 24 affordable and 7 market rate units situated on 2.6 acres.  The project is a collaboration between HOPE Partnership, a Connecticut nonprofit that develops affordable housing, and the Caleb Group, a nonprofit that has created affordable housing communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.  “The way it’s designed is smaller buildings that really actually do give you that community and village kind of feel to it. It isn’t a five-story building. It

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