School board approves name for new school

An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED
An artistic rendering of the new elementary school to be built in Prospect. –CONTRIBUTED

REGION 16 — For the second time this year, the Board of Education has given a name to the new pre-kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school to be built off of New Haven Road in Prospect.

During a special meeting Monday night, the board voted, 4-2, to name the school Prospect Elementary School.

Board members Wendy Oliveira and Robin Wright voted against the name. Board Chair Priscilla Cretella and board member Sheryl Feducia weren’t at the meeting.

The name was selected out of three names submitted by the naming committee. The other two suggestions for consideration were Hillcrest Elementary School and White Oak Elementary School.

The board could have added two more of its own names, but when the floor was open to board members to make suggestions none were made.

The new school is the largest part of a three-pronged school building project in the region, which also includes renovations to Laurel Ledge Elementary School in Beacon Falls and a new district office.

The school board originally voted to name the new school Chatfield Elementary School in February, but rescinded the vote nearly a month later due to procedural errors.

A controversy over the idea of naming the school Chatfield Elementary School, which was suggested as an honor to longtime Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, followed the vote in February.

The naming of the school after a person led to a public outcry from residents. The region oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospects and residents from both towns spoke against using a proper name for a region school.

Chatfield subsequently requested the naming committee remove his name from consideration.

After Prospect Elementary School was approved, Oliveira said naming a school after one town in the region isn’t fair to both towns.

“I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

Before the meeting adjourned, board member Robert Hiscox made a motion for the board to send a letter of apology to Chatfield. Hiscox felt the board’s actions earlier this year created emotional turmoil for Chatfield and his family.

Wright said the board can’t control how the public will react to its decisions.

“We didn’t intend for anything to happen,” she said.

Board member William Fredericks said sending a letter is a nice thought, but added all the board did was act on the naming committee’s suggestion when it chose Chatfield Elementary School.

“I’m sorry it turned out the way it did,” Fredericks said. “It’s a name. There’s a lot of things in the world more important than a name.”

The motion was rejected, 4-2, with only Hiscox and board member Nazih Noujaim voting in favor of it.


  1. What’s done is done. OH WAIT. This is the Region 16 BOE, so not really.

    From Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary:
    proper noun
    plural ? nouns
    a word or group of words (such as “Noah Webster,” “Kentucky,” or “U.S. Congress”) that is the name of a particular person, place, or thing and that usually begins with a capital letter —called also proper name; — compare common noun.

    It seems the people in charge of educating our children (wait – that’s a slam on teachers and simply not right at all)…

    It seems that the people running the show in Region 16 (that’s more accurate) should sit in a middle school class and ask the teacher to review “PROPER NAME” – what it is and what it means (and how you tell them from other words).

    If this is what has come of the PARTNERSHIP of Region 16, then I propose limiting signage to 3×5.

    INCHES. Quantity 1. Yes, put the name on an index card, SPEND THE MONEY to get it laminated (hire a consultant to determine the best method) so it can sustain the harsh New England weather, and duct tape it to the wall (again hire a consultant to determine the best location). Anything less simply wouldn’t be befitting of such an honorable name. Oh – don’t forget to hire a consultant to tell you what the verbiage of the sign should be and then make sure you pay the lawyer to revew it.

  2. It seems that the Prospect members of the BOE simply just lack any sense of decency and class. Maybe we should reconsider this entire project and petition to no longer fund and cancel this project all together.

  3. I, too, am disheartened by the Board’s decision. When Mayor Chatfield withdrew his wish to have the school named after him, I assumed the Board would do the right thing. Unfortunately, as I said at two Board meetings, many Beacon Falls’ residents are very likely to take this action (i.e., naming the new school as if it were owned by Prospect) in a very negative way. Doesn’t the Prospect Board members believe, or care, about your ‘partners’ in Beacon Falls?

  4. “Wright said the board can’t control how the public will react to its decisions.

    “We didn’t intend for anything to happen,” she said.”

    Unfortunately yes you can. This is how my mom taught me to accomplish just that. Think about what you are thinking of doing from the other side and if you find it objectionable then it would be a good bet that someone else would fell the same.

    You and the rest of your board should be ashamed.

  5. I am sorry but I find this is totally despicable as usual . For once I would love to see the Board of Education not go out of its way to prove that they are not in bed with Prospect. Might as well continued to call the school “Chatfield Elementary School” since calling it after the town it is in when it is part of a regional is just as wrong. Either Hillcrest Elementary School and White Oak Elementary School would have been fine because is not town specific. But it is obvious that the intention was to just keep rubbing Beacon Fall’s nose in it.

    They control the budget bleeding Beacon Falls completely dry and not being able to operate. Bottom line, being in a Region with Prospect is nothing more than having a bully for a big brother – nothing but grief, being bullied to get what they want and TOTAL DISRESPECT!!

    Both Prospect AND THE COMPLETE Board of Education owe Beacon Falls more than an apology!!

    Brian Ploss
    Beacon Falls