By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
Thursday, Jan. 18, the Plainville Public Library hosted the State of the Town meeting, led by Richard Williams of the Plainville Chamber of Commerce; Superintendent of Schools, Maureen Brummett; Council Chair, Kathy Pugliese; Town Manager, Robert Lee; and members of Lee’s staff.
Brummett highlighted many of the positive occurrences throughout the Plainville school district. “Today I hope to convey that in many ways, our school district is at the heart of this community,” said Brummett.
Council chair Pugliese had compiled a list of the top ten happenings in Plainville for the year, and the school district took three slots; the Plainville High School track situation, the replacement of the boiler at the Middle School, and the renovations at the Wheeler School.
After the original completion of the PHS turf field and running track, the school noticed that the surface of the track began to bubble and was named unusable. Eventually, the involved parties went to mediation and the track was entirely replaced. This came at no additional cost to taxpayers as there were funds available in Turf Field Account.
Pugliese explained that in August 2017, the council was notified that one of the boilers at the Middle School of Plainville was in “imminent danger” of needing to be replaced, as they were close to 20 years old. Through the Eversource Energy Opportunities Program, the town was able to capitalize on a project to implement LED lighting at various buildings in town, including the High School and Linden ST school. The program “also proposed an incentive of $389,000 in savings, along with the boiler replacement,” said Pugliese.
Of all of the school-based, capital improvement projects, Wheeler School was the last to receive renovations. This project also included the renovation of the PHS parking lot. The Wheeler School was built in the 1950s, and Pugliese reported that it received minor repairs in the 1980s. In all, the Wheeler renovations cost $23,525,000 and the high school parking lot cost $1,745,000. “Adjustments have since been made to the budget, including a reduction of $800,000 in order to maintain the 65 percent anticipated reimbursement rate from the state of Connecticut,” said Pugliese.
Brummett shared some statistics about the Plainville High School Class of 2017. Of the graduates, 84 percent went on to pursue higher education. Ninety-nine percent left PHS with a clear post-secondary plan. Seventy-two percent were accepted into their first choice college or trade school. Sixty-five graduates took one or more Advanced Placement class, and approximately $195,000 in local scholarships were received.
The success of the Class of 2017 is due, in part, to the dedication of the Plainville School system. Plainville Schools are among the top 100 employers in the town. Of the 429 employees, including the Dattco Bus Company, 30 percent are Plainville residents and 32 percent live either in Bristol or Southington.
“Many of our employees live here in town, or live very close by,” said Brummett. “A lot of us spend a lot of time here, and spend money here, shop at the stores, use services in town, so the school district is very much a part of this town and we invest in this town in many, many ways.”
Plainville School System now offers a full day, full week preschool program in order to build a strong foundation for all of the students. There is tuition for the program, but it is determined on a sliding scale based, reported Brummett. For this year, she projects that the total tuition will come out to about $90,000. She also discussed the state of the art STEAM Lab at the Middle School and the new Alternative Learning Center at PHS.