August 12, 2008

New schools back on the agenda

Brushing aside concerns from two veteran politicians that the move is designed to sidestep a committee that could pose an obstacle to the $120 million school project, city councilors agreed Tuesday to hold a special meeting soon to review potential sites for two new buildings.
The goal is to make it possible for everyone involved to gather so that each of the decision-makers will learn all of the necessary information to support or reject particular locations for the proposed 900-student schools.
“We don’t have much time,” said city Councilor Cliff Block.
The council unanimously agreed to hold a joint session with the West Bristol and Forestville school building committee behind closed doors to discuss “negotiations for land.”But councilors said they have many questions that don’t involve secret negotiations so the session will almost certainly include a wide-ranging public discussion about the project as well.
City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who heads the Real Estate Committee, said it is “very clear to me” that the request to have the council meet as a whole instead of relying on the three-person real estate panel was made because supporters of the project feared his committee “will squash this” project.
“I’m not foolish,” Nicastro said, adding that there “is no reason to usurp the Real Estate Committee’s authority” to make a recommendation to the council.
Another veteran councilor, Republican Mike Rimcoski, said he’s also sure the plan was meant to sidestep the regular real estate panel. He said that the Board of Education is circumventing normal procedures.
But Mayor Art Ward said that he thinks the move merely eliminates an unnecessary step in the decision-making process.
Having everyone in the room, said city Councilor Ken Cockayne, ensures “everyone would be in the loop.”
The school project, which the council and Board of Finance gave tentative backing to last year, aims to build two kindergarten to eighth grade schools that would replace four aging buildings.
Two sites are under consideration for the schools: the former Crowley dealership on Pine Street and a closed sand pit off Barlow Street.
Block said that multiple appraisals have been done to determine their value, but there has been no public indication of the cost to purchase the land.
Ward said the appraisal process is a major reason for the lack of progress on the project this year.
“It does take time and it does stagnate the process,” the mayor said.
Ward said that he wants the council to take up the issue soon so that it won’t have to scramble next spring to make a decision before a state-imposed deadline.
“This is the next step,” Block said.

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Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad Nicastro has the guts to tell it like it is. He's right that the school committee (and their puppetmaster Tom O'Brien) are trying to squirm out of the real estate committee's grasp.

Impeach Block-head said...

Who elected this guy? What do these new schools bring to the people in the 1st District? Answer: NOTHING!
This guy is a lackey. Dump him in 2009!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for Frank Nickastro

Anonymous said...

Guess Frank thinks that he is still mayor and that everything revolves around him.

He has been sitting on this for almost a year with no movement.

We need to move this project: Bristol is looking more and more foolish every day.

Anonymous said...

if it isn't about Frank, then it just isn't - just ask him.

Anonymous said...

None of the citizens want these schools. Can't these people get that through their thick heads?

There are no K-8 schools in CT with a population comparable to Bristol. We will be the guinea pigs for this experiment and the only victims will be our children.

Anonymous said...

Nicastro keeps sticking that knife deeper into Wards back!

Anonymous said...

Stagnation should be Nicastro's middle name - he rode the wave of ESPN expansion which boosted the grand list for years when he was mayor and managed to do not another thing except pander to the voters, ruin the parks,a nd stifle education dollars. The fact that this town elected him and now has him in Hartford blows my everlovin' mind.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ward!

and you thought Nicastro was your buddy!! How does that knife feel?

Anonymous said...

9:19 - you are so right, if ward depends on nicastro for support, he might as well expect that minor will never change his decisions again according to the political winds - neither one will ever happen, both are as predictable as the morning dawn.

Anonymous said...

They are all a bunch of hacks.

Anonymous said...

Why are Ward, Nicastro, Minor, Cockayne doing things is secret?

I thought that Cockayne was for open government; guess I misheard him.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous:
August 13, 2008 9:03 AM

How do you know that "none of the citizens want these schools"

Can you prove that you have spoken to ALL of the citizens in Bristol.

Whoever you are, I know that I was never asked about my opinion. So how can you make that statement???

Anonymous said...

8:17pm -???????????????????????

Anonymous said...

August 13, 2008 9:16 PM

Right on....nobody talked to me either.

Anonymous said...

11:19

The use of Executive session is questionable at best, especially for some of the aspects of the issue.

Guess Cockayne doesn't care or understand.

Anonymous said...

12:21am - you should be used to no one talking to you.

Anonymous said...

Sec. 1-200. (Formerly Sec. 1-18a). Definitions. As used in this chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings, except where such terms are used in a context which clearly indicates the contrary:

(6) "Executive sessions" means a meeting of a public agency at which the public is excluded for one or more of the following purposes: (A) Discussion concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require that discussion be held at an open meeting; (B) strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency or a member thereof, because of the member's conduct as a member of such agency, is a party until such litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled; (C) matters concerning security strategy or the deployment of security personnel, or devices affecting public security; (D) discussion of the selection of a site or the lease, sale or purchase of real estate by a political subdivision of the state when publicity regarding such site, lease, sale, purchase or construction would cause a likelihood of increased price until such time as all of the property has been acquired or all proceedings or transactions concerning same have been terminated or abandoned; and (E) discussion of any matter which would result in the disclosure of public records or the information contained therein described in subsection (b) of section 1-210.

Anonymous said...

Frank is holding out to have a school named after him.

Anonymous said...

$ -9:22pm - the school named after nicastro will have to be in his mirrored image and on public display for all to see forever and ever and ever and eve and ev and e..............