REGION 16 — Due to procedurals errors, the Region 16 Board of Education is looking at starting from scratch on naming the new prekindergarten-through-fifth-grade school to be built in Prospect.
Last Wednesday, the board voted to name the school Chatfield Elementary School. The name was derived from suggestions from the public in honor of Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield.
School board Chair Priscilla Cretella said the board’s legal counsel reviewed how the name was reached and felt the board didn’t follow the proper procedures.
A school naming committee was formed earlier this year to take suggestions from the public and provide the board with three names. The committee finalized its three names through a secret ballot and presented them to the board last week. The board also voted through secret ballots to pick its names. Chatfield Elementary School was chosen through a secret ballot as well.
Cretella said the board was advised by its legal counsel that the board and the committee shouldn’t have voted through secret ballots because the meetings were public. She added the board was also advised it didn’t follow the naming policy, laid out by Superintendent of Schools Tim James before he took a medical leave of absence, correctly. The policy states the naming committee is to give the board its three names after the board picks its two, she said. However, the names were given to the board before it chose any names. Also, she said, the board was supposed to vote on the name in a subsequent meeting, under the policy, rather than the same meeting it picked its two names.
“We did not realize that was wrong at the time and we are trying to do it correctly,” Cretella said.
The board has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Woodland Regional High School in Beacon Falls. A revised agenda for the meeting includes discussion and possible action regarding attorney-client privileged communication concerning procedures for naming the new school, discussion and possible action on a motion to rescind the vote taken by the board to name the new school and discussion and possible action regarding revised procedures for naming the new school.
An executive session is also scheduled if the board decides to hold one.
Cretella said the board has received criticism from both towns on its process of naming the new school. She said the board will have a thorough discussion on the policy and that the board will not be voting on a new name Thursday night.