As Lamont Announces New Rules For Graduations, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Opt for June 12 Ceremonies

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Governor Ned Lamont announced on Wednesday that his office will allow in-person graduation ceremonies beginning July 6. The state-authorized ceremonies are limited to outdoors venues and to no more than 150 people, according to Department of Education Commission Miguel Cardona. Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser has decided instead to move forward with plans that will allow graduating seniors to walk across the stage on Friday, June 12. “We have 127 in the graduating class, so that would be much like the NHL or NBA or MLB playing with no fans,” said Neviaser. “We plan to continue with the graduation

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Inland Wetlands Approves Permit for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Turf Field

OLD LYME — The Inland Wetlands Commission approved an administrative permit for the proposed Lyme-Old Lyme Schools multi-purpose turf field on Tuesday evening in a 4-0 vote. The field would have a smaller footprint than the current grass field and, according to Megan Raymond, a professional wetland scientist for Milone & McBroom, will have no negative impacts on the existing wetlands bordering the Duck River. “There is a great deal of substructure to the field that encourages infiltration and minimizes runoff,” Raymond said. The proposed plan would add native wetland plants to the surrounding area and not require any fertilizers

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Meet Ron Turner, New Facilities Director for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools

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Ron Turner joined the staff at Lyme-Old Lyme Schools as the new facilities director at the end of February, just before the schools closed for COVID-19. “The first couple weeks I was off to a great start, meeting the staff and students, and then the sky kind of fell with COVID hitting,” Turner said. “I’m really hoping to meet everyone in the fall, I can’t underscore that enough. Since the shutdown, I think that’s what so many of us are struck by the most. Buildings don’t become a school until staff, students and members of the community are here. I

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Clarify Reports of Cost Savings

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This Wednesday, Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education will vote on the first budget decrease in the district’s history. The $34.9 million proposed budget is 1.06 percent less than last year’s regional district budget. The current proposal is $180,000 less than the budget originally proposed in February. “The goal was to have a zero percent increase in payments for both towns,” said Ian Neviaser, superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. “Originally, even though Lyme was seeing a reduction in cost, Old Lyme was looking at a $180,000 increase.” The nearly $200,000 in total savings from the 2019-2020 budget come from a refinancing

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Virtual School Budget Meetings Scheduled Across Lower Connecticut Valley in Wake of Coronavirus

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On March 10, as part of the state’s emergency response to COVID-19, Governor Ned Lamont signed Executive Order 7L, releasing regional boards of education from their statutory obligations to hold in-person meetings and referenda, prior to adopting fiscal year 2020-21 budgets: “[A]ny regional board of education shall adopt a budget for the July I, 2020 – June 30, 2021 fiscal year … without complying with any in-person budget adoption requirements, including but not to limited, annual district budget meetings requiring votes, referendum, and special district meetings.” The change follows a number of other restrictions on social gathering that have been

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Debt Service, Retirements, Spur First Ever Decrease in Lyme-Old Lyme School Budget

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LYME-OLD LYME — For the first time ever, the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education approved a budget with a 0.05 percent decrease compared to the previous year. The total budget decreased by $18,651 to a total of $35.07 million. “No programs were reduced, no staff members were cut, no facilities projects were shortcut,” said Superintendent Ian Neviaser. “In large part, the decrease is due to a significant decrease in debt service.” Because Lyme-Old Lyme owns the lands and buildings it uses, unlike a municipal district, it also carries its own debt service, allowing the regional district to reduce the overall

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Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Deny Claim for Overtime Compensation for Custodial and Maintenance Employees

LYME-OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education denied the grievances presented by union representatives claiming 25 hours of unpaid overtime to custodial and maintenance staff. The two grievances were brought by the employees representing a group of nine custodial and maintenance workers. The union — led by custodian Phil Fazzino — argued that any time non-certified staff are called in for, or informed about, overtime work after the end of their previously-scheduled shift, they should be paid a minimum of three hours. The contract between the union and the administration states: “When a full time non-certified employee is

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Budget Hike for Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Lowest Ever at .39 Percent

The proposed 2020-21 budget for Lyme-Old Lyme schools calls for an increase of just 0.39 percent, or less than $140,000, the lowest budget increase in the history of the district. “It’s the lowest budget increase on record,” said Superintendent Ian Neviaser. “We are still discussing and are still making a few revisions, so it might go down even more.” Compared to neighboring school districts, the modest increase is all the more striking — the draft budget for East Lyme schools includes an increase of 4.26 percent, Old Saybrook of 0.98 percent and Guilford of 2.14 percent. According to Neviaser, the

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Turf Field Compatible with Existing Geothermal Wells, Board of Education Assured

LYME-OLD LYME — 250 geothermal wells located six feet beneath the proposed site for Lyme-Old Lyme’s artificial turf field would not pose a threat to the project, according to the Connecticut Geothermal Association. “Typically, geothermal wells never have to be accessed. There is nothing mechanical in the well, just pipe,” said Guy Wanegar, the president at A&B Cooling and Heating Corporation. “On a big system like that, wells would all be connected to a vault. You do need to get to the vault occasionally, so as long as that isn’t under the field you should be okay.” Superintendent Ian Neviaser

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Editorial: Local Oversight and Regional Budgets

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It’s simply unimaginable as part of the budget, anywhere in Connecticut, that a town employee could propose a $2.5 million project, with significant, ongoing and uncertain maintenance costs, as well as ten year replacement costs, and expect to plan and approve the project without early and broad public engagement, and without the promise of a townwide vote. Whether or not a synthetic turf field is a good or bad idea for Lyme-Old Lyme schools, we’ll set aside for a moment. But let’s be clear — a good idea or not — everything about the decision-making process so far gives the

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Plans for Synthetic Turf Field Raise Questions, Emotions, at Lyme-Old Lyme Meeting

There were more questions than answers at Monday night’s meeting of an ad hoc Board of Education athletics committee on the proposed construction of a synthetic turf field behind the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and High School. Questions raised at the meeting include the choice of infill, the challenges that face the current athletic department, the use of the field for competitive games which would require lighting. A stadium and scoreboard were also discussed. Most pointed were questions concerning public support and the financial sense of a new synthetic field. “Right now we are going to be spending a million

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High Costs, Diverse Outcomes for Educational Special Needs in Connecticut

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Sarah Tyszka’s son is in sixth grade, but reads at a preschool level. He has dyslexia, a condition that typically requires one-on-one reading instruction to learn to read and write, according to the Dyslexia Society of Connecticut. Last year Tyszka’s son received one-on-one instruction, but this year his school does not have a teacher certified for that instruction. “He clearly needs intense intervention to be successful, yet they lie and say he’s getting small-group instruction, when in reality that means he sits at a table of four in a classroom of thirteen,” Tyszka said. “He’s not learning to read in

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Board of Education Candidates Debate Lyme – Old Lyme Schools

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OLD LYME — “Why are you running for the Board of Education?” was Tuesday night’s opening question to four candidates who gathered on the middle school stage to answer questions and state their positions on topics which included Region 18’s strengths and weaknesses, declining enrollment and regionalization, among others.  Republicans Suzanne Thompson and Steve Wilson and Democrats Sarah Bowman and Jason Kemp participated in “Meet the Candidates for Board of Education,” hosted by Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau (LYSB) and the Lyme-Old Lyme Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by LymeLine.com. Two candidates, Democrat Lorianne Panzara-Griswold and Republican Jennifer Miller, were unable

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Letter: Miller Makes Case for Seat on Lyme – Old Lyme Board of Education

Since 2001 I have had the great fortune to live in Old Lyme, and I am now asking for your vote November 5th so that I may serve Lyme and Old Lyme on our school board. I have a strong background to draw upon for success as a board member, including my experience as a U.S. Army Officer, a CPA and manager for KPMG Peat Marwick and as an executive director with Pfizer. All of my sons have graduated from our schools, and I am eager to give back at the board level to one of the best school regions

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Shoreline Schools Look to Foreign Students to Meet Enrollment, Diversity Goals

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IN THE REGION — For the past five years, East Lyme High School has welcomed between six and ten international students from China into their community. The students are recruited by SPIRAL International, a Vermont-based student exchange program, which pays East Lyme High School $19,000 per student. This year, however, just one student is participating in the program. “Due to the big political climate between the two countries, a lot of students are afraid of coming to the U.S. this year,” said Jia Shi, the program director at SPIRAL International. “For this year, yes it is becoming harder to recruit

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Lyme – Old Lyme Debates Crumb Rubber Turf Fields at Board of Education Meeting

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OLD LYME — On Wednesday night, the Region 18 Board of Education moved toward constructing an artificial turf field behind the Lyme – Old Lyme Middle and High Schools. The board approved $26,800 from the capital reserve fund to complete the design work and permitting process. It’s the last step before committing the district to installing an artificial turf field. “The next phase is the actual construction. This design will give us options on the kind of infill, drainage requirements and the price of the project,” said John Rhodes, facilities director of Lyme – Old Lyme Schools at the meeting

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Editorial: Sexual Misconduct, and Taking Responsibility for our Schools

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Young people are the pivot around which everything turns. In southeast Connecticut, education budgets dwarf the size of most other town expenses. Old Lyme will spend about $27.5 million of the $38.9 million FY 2019/20 budget on education. Hand me a hot button issue – whether it’s 8-30g affordable housing or the balance of revenues between property taxes and income taxes – and I’ll show you most likely that a good bit of it comes down to how and where we raise our children. Quality schools are a major driver of property values, which attract the young, but also provide

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Principal of Mile Creek School Named

“After a long and extremely thorough process that began back in February, we are very excited to welcome Kelly Enoch as the new Principal of Mile Creek School,” Superintendent Ian Neviaser said.

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