Board of Finance Approves Peck Place Spending (With Cost Spreadsheet)

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Feb 252014

Board of Finance and Board of Education talk about Peck Place Costs

Board of Finance and Board of Education talk about Peck Place Costs on Feb. 24

The Board of Finance (BOF) sat at a very full table Monday night at Town Hall, when joined by members of the Board of Education (BOE).

The two boards discussed, item-by-item the proposed cost to get Peck Place School back up and running by Aug. 1, 2014 so that it can be ready for the first day of the 2014-15 school year on Sept. 2.

On Jan. 6, a pipe burst at Peck Place School causing flooding throughout 60% of the building.

The BOE jumped on it immediately in an effort to get the problem areas repaired as quickly as possible so the students could get back to their school.

After finding asbestos in the mastic (glue) under the damaged floor tiles, school officials explored the remainder of the building for other issues that could cause problems in the future.

They approached First Selectman Jim Zeoli, with their findings and went through the state database to find certified contractors who are approved by the state to start working on the project.

The BOS approved $115,000 for the Phase 1 asbestos abatement.

BOF member PJ Shanley asked the BOE what was being done to ensure that the same thing wouldn’t happen again.

BOE Facilities Director Mike Luzzi said they were going to insulate the outside walls; possibly get an automatic shutoff; disconnect and try not to have any water pipes in any of the classrooms, except for the very little kids who they wouldn’t want to send out in the halls by themselves to get a drink of water or to wash their hands.

BOF member James Leahy stressed that he wanted a timeline for all of the work that was to be done at the school.

This was something that selectmen Mitch Goldblatt and Ralph Okenquist both spoke of during the special BOS meeting just hours prior to the BOF meeting.

Fred Kendrick also from the BOF said, he wanted to be assured that the work would be done in time for the kids to get back to school in the fall. He insisted that when contracts were drawn up that each included a timeline for the work to be done.

Leahy said, “A timeline is imperative. we must know that the job can be done by Aug. 1 or the BOF can’t approve anything.”

After looking over the entire spending spreadsheet provided by BOE Business Manager Kevin McNabola, BOF Chairman Kevin Houlihan said, “This estimate is for the worst case scenario. There has to be savings in there somewhere.”

Houlihan verified that the town’s current fund balance is $13 million. “This would be a supplemental appropriation from the fund balance to the BOE budget, non-transferable for anything but this action,” he told the BOE members.

The BOF approved the spending, stressing that the words “not to exceed” the dollar amount before them was included in the motion, and any reimbursements received through bonding, the state or insurance would go to reduce the appropriation.

Below is the spending spreadsheet presented to the BOS and BOF on Monday.

The Lines for Cabinetry and Electrical work both were blacked out for a reason. The cabinetry is going out to bid and the UI has an incentive program the will cut down on the lighting costs. The town has used it in several buildings and it has been a proven cost cutting program.

Superintendent Lynn McMullin said “Renovate Like New” Grant money could be available but waiting for approval and to obtain it would take a long time. 

peck finances

What is The Price To Save Peck Place School?

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Feb 242014

Peck Place Costs ??After several meetings, and many answers, residents are still wondering why a “simple” restoration project to re-open Peck Place School after a pipe burst and flooded areas of the building, is now said to cost upwards of $2 million.

This week, at a special meeting, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) agreed to send the proposals for phases 2 and 3 of the remediation to the Board of Finance (BOF). The Board of Education (BOE) met after that and now, BOE Business Manager Kevin McNabola will present and itemized list of ALL of the repairs and costs to the BOS on Monday, Feb. 24, at 4:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

The BOF meets later that evening, and then we all will know for sure what is going on.

If all goes according to plan, Orange Live will post a copy of the itemized list following the BOS meeting.

Originally  Published on: Feb 21, 2014 @ 16:06 

Special Board of Selectmen’s Meeting Part 2 (UPDATED)

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Feb 202014

Selectmen Mitch Goldblatt and John Carangelo listen to the presentations during the special meeting.

Selectmen Mitch Goldblatt and John Carangelo listen to the presentations during the special meeting.

At the Feb. 19 Special Board of Selectmen’s meeting, First Selectman Jim Zeoli opened by stating that there have been a lot of stories regarding the Peck Place School situation floating around town in the past few weeks. 

He said that phases 2 and 3 of the remediation plan were before the board so they could decide whether or not to approve presenting them to the Board of Finance.

Phase 1 is completed and the decision to spend additional money on the other two phases is not up to the Selectmen because the dollar amount goes beyond what the town has in its budget.

“There are more meetings to come,” Zeoli told the standing room only crowd of parents, school officials and others.

To clarify some of the rumors and speculation that have been spread, he said, “We never said we were not going to fix the school or remediate or ventilate.”

On Thursday, Jan. 30, Zeoli, BOE Business Manager Kevin McNabola and others had a meeting in the First Selectman’s Office at which time he asked for estimates to put Peck Place School back together, to replace what had been removed and to repair or encapsulate the asbestos because they (BOE) had only discussed removing it.

“My job is to ask questions, not to bring data and numbers, but to get the Board of Ed to bring numbers,” he said.

Over the past weekend, Zeoli fielded questions via e-mail, by phone and personal visits.

He said one Peck parent with a specula needs child said the child’s folder was on the teacher’s desk in a room that flooded and was afraid the information was possibly not backed up in the office. She asked if it was required by the town.

“That is not up to the town, it is the Board of Education’s job,” he said. “Yes, we (the entire Board of Selectmen) are concerned with the town, the buildings, residents and children. Just today (the BOE) added another bill for $26,000 to phase one, which the Selectmen approved last week. The incorrect bill had been sent to the BOS.”

He said Phase 2 is a couple hundred thousand dollars and Phase 3 is an open ended contract of about $40,000

CLICK ON THE Video on Demand Link Under the OGAT Button to view a video of this entire meeting

McNabola Talks Numbers

Next, Kevin McNabola addressed the audience Phase 1a took an additional $26,513 (which was presented to the BOS that day) making it $88,750

$291,936 for the emergency work that had to be done

$38,443 to do the necessary work in the media center and library

The total he gave was $445, 642

— After the BOE meets to approve phases 2 and 3, Orange Live hopes to obtain the financial paperwork to clarify exactly where all of this money is going.

Like Zeoli, McNabola said the work on Peck Place had not been included in the town’s budget for the year, so it will have to go through the Board of Finance (BOF).

McNabola is in touch with the state seeking reimbursement after getting approvals from the Selectmen and BOE. A Bond Referendum would be probable.

The town could possibly receive 36% reimbursement from the state (approximately $160,000) but there is no guarantee Orange will get any state money.

The procedure involves traveling to Hartford, presenting the plans and IF it is approved, the town will not receive any money until all of the work is completed.

Selectman Ken Lenz asked if all the asbestos in the building would be abated.

McNabola said the mastic in the glue under the tile floor, ceilings, and roof drains would be clean. Adding that Peck Place would be an asbestos free building when done to the extend that it can be.

The total bill to do ALL of the proposed work, including plumbing, flooring, cabinetry, painting etc. would be upwards of $2 million.

That, plus the bond approved roof, would give the building an extended life of 15-20 years.


I do apologize for posting this so late, I am fighting a cold and fever today. 


Board Of Selectmen Vote On Phases 2 and 3 of Peck Place Remediation Plan (Synopsis)

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Feb 192014

special BOS MeetingThe Special Board of Selectmen’s meeting tonight at 5 p.m. drew a standing room only crowd even though there was no public comment portion on the agenda.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and vote on whether or not to recommend phases 2 and 3 of the Peck Place Remediation plan  to the Board of Finance.

For those who could not attend, I will cut to the chase and let you know that after much discussion, the selectmen did indeed vote unanimously in favor of recommending both phases to the Finance Board.

Many things came to the forefront during the meeting, including the fact that saving Peck Place School and making it safe for students, teachers and staff to occupy will cost a little more than $2 million, along with the answer to one of the questions that has been bothering parents since January 6, when water pipes broke and flooded parts of the school.

When water pipes break they release about 19 gallons per minute. Parents have been asking, “Did an alarm go off? Did anyone react?”

Mike Luzzi, Facility Director for the Board of Education had the answer.

When the ceiling collapsed, the smoke head fell down from the water load and impacted the alarm system. No one got a call from the alarm company because the problem did not come in as a “water flow” alarm due to the damage it read as a “system in trouble.”

Rest assured, when the school is completed, it will have a water flow alarm.

End of initial report on meeting (for those who did not attend)


Peck Place Remediation On Agenda For Special Meeting

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Feb 192014

Peck Place School

Peck Place School

There is a Special Board of Selectmen’s meeting tonight at Town Hall at 5 p.m.

The Selectmen and Key School officials will discuss the proposed remediation work and costs at Peck Place School.

As you may know, the Board of Selectmen approved Phase 1 of the remediation plan at the Feb. 12 meeting.

Tonight, they will discuss Phase 2 and 3 (the proposed contingency plan is NOT on the agenda).

First Selectman posted the following on his Facebook Page:

“There seems to much confusion about tonight’s Board of Selectman’s meeting. The meeting is to discuss in further detail two contracts submitted by the OBOE for consideration. These are phase 2 and phase 3 for remediation work at Peck Place School. 

There is NO agenda item for Contingency plan as put out there by the OBOE. That would be a Legislative charge of the OBOE.

I anticipate better explanation in person than the one and two page documents forwarded to the Selectmen for consideration. Then action will be taken on the contracts.7

There is no other item on the agenda.”

At last Wednesday’s BOS meeting, I believe they said there won’t be any public comment section during this meeting.

Originally Published on: Feb 19, 2014 @ 13:51

Orange Board of Education Meeting Agenda – Monday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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Feb 092014

BOE Chairman Bill Kraut and Supt. Lynn McMullin at a recent BOE meeting.

BOE Chairman Bill Kraut and Supt. Lynn McMullin at a recent BOE meeting.

BOE Meeting: Upstairs Conference Room – BOE Offices Time of BOE Meeting: 7:30 P.M.

I Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance & Mission Statement
The Orange Elementary School District recognizes that the education of each child is the shared responsibility of every
member of our community.

Our goal is to inspire and empower each student to achieve academic excellence, embrace social and individual
responsibility, and lead with integrity. We believe all individuals should be valued and treated with respect.

Together we will make a difference.

II Public Participation:
1. General Participation
2. Introduction to Full Day Kindergarten – Lynn McMullin
3. Kindergarten Full Day Participation
Speakers may offer objective comments to the Board concerning subjects that lie within its jurisdiction, i.e. school operations and
programs. Comments will be limited to two (2) minutes per speaker. The Board encourages speakers not to express personal complaints
or defamatory comments about the Orange Board of Education personnel or any person associated with the Orange Public School System.
Comments about security issues, matters related to due process, negotiations, or grievances will not be permitted. Consistent with the
principles of the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), discussions about students are prohibited absent a written parent
waiver. Questions which can be answered during the meeting may be answered at the option of the Board. Inquiries which may require
analysis/investigations will, at the option of the Board, be answered at a future specified time.

III Correspondence
1. Two thank you notes from staff members – “Books in Memory”
2. Three parent/citizen letters
IV Consent Agenda
1. BOE Regular Meeting Minutes – January 13, 2014
2. Approval of Bills – January 2014
V Presentation – Mrs. Byrd – Special Education Accomplishments in 2012-2013 & Goals for 2013-2014
VI Superintendent’s Report
VII Board Business
1. 2013/2014 Budget Update – Mr. McNabola
2. Kindergarten Full Day Pilot Proposal – Ms. McMullin
3. Second Read – Policy 9110 – Number of Members, Term of Office, Oath of Office – Mr. Kraut
Policy 9214 – Number of Members & Elections – Mr. Kraut
4. 2014-2015 Draft Student Calendar – Ms. McMullin
5. Building & Grounds Sub Committee Recommendations – Mr. Cap
Motion: Recommendation – Hiring a Structural Engineer
Motion: Retention of AIG to Remediate Peck Place
6. Out of State Field Trip Permission – Race Brook & Turkey Hill Schools – Mr. Kraut

VIII Standing Committees
1. Finance and Insurance- Mr. Robert Ricciardi
2. Personnel/Transportation & Policy- Mrs. Jody Dietch
3. Building & Grounds – Mr. Jeff Cap
4. Long Range Planning – Mrs. Deanna Pucillo
5. Schools of the 21st Century/Food Services – Mr. Keith Marquis
6. Health & Wellness – Ms. Susan Riccio
7. Technology – Mr. Jeff Cap
8. Safety & Security – Mr. Bobby Ricciardi

IX Adjournment of Meeting

* Item may require an executive session

Jan 262014

Three meals and one fabulous loaf of bread at the Redfish Grill

Three meals and one fabulous loaf of bread at the Redfish Grill

Orangectlive posts new stories every day, sometimes readers can miss something when the new posts push the older ones off the front page. So every Sunday or Monday, we provide readers with look back at the past week with the titles of Orange Live stories (with links) and the day on which each one ran.

You are invited to sign up for our daily newsletter and receive an e-mail from Orange Live every morning around 7 a.m.

“Like” the Orange Live Facebook page and see what else we have to offer the Orange Community.

Top 5 most popular stories are numbered and bolded.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Peck Place School

Peck Place School

• CBS is Back on Cablevision

• Obituary: Belle Reese, 92, Sister of Norman Schwartzman

• Meet Charles Dumais, Amity’s New Superintendent

• 2014 Amity Football Captains Revealed

•  The Past Week On Orange Live (Did You Miss Anything?)

Monday, Jan. 20

Obituary: Della M. Theodos, 85, Mother of Melissa Moras and Sharon Stockel

yale west campusObituary: Louis “Lou” F. Tagliatela, Sr, 94, Brother of Frank Tagliatela

Property Transfers: Three Homes Sold between Jan. 9 – 17

Found Dog: Is She Yours?

Orange Emergency Management: Get Ready for Dangerously Cold Weather

Children’s Recreation and Exercise Center Plans On Plan & Zoning Agenda Tuesday

Obituary: Adele G. (Gabris) Lasky, 105, Mother of Helen Melchiore, Steadfast Red Sox Fan, Beloved Family Matriarch

Tuesday, Jan. 21

Fire Dpeatmen Are You Prepared For The Snow and Blast Of Arctic Cold? Early Dismissal Today (Tuesday)

Latest: Storm May Impact High School Mid-Term Exams

A Car Emergency Kit May Be A Great Idea On A Night Like Tonight

UPDATED: Tuesday and Wednesday Weather Related Cancellations

[3]  Newest Info: Peck Place Students Will Finish The School Year At Yale West Campus


This year's shanty town is sturdy and pretty roomy inside.

This year’s shanty town is sturdy and pretty roomy inside.

Supt. McMullin addresses Peck Place Families re: Yale Move

Performers Wanted: Or Shalom’s Got Talent Planned For Feb. 8

Fundraiser: Dining For Dollars at Bertucci’s

[2] Orange Firefighters Respond to House Fire

Kindergarten Registration: Mary L. Tracy School Is Waiting For You

[1] January 21 — Two House Fires in Two Consecutive Years

Obituary: Josephine “Jo” Marie DiFazio, 96, Former Town Of Orange Nurse

Opinion: That Biting Cold You Feel Can Be Serious

 [4] Dinner With The Family: Can One Overuse The Word “Perfect”?

Wednesday, Jan. 22

Thursday, Jan. 23

Obituary: Allan J. Rosenthal, 96, Father Of Connie Goebel, WWII Veteran








Supt. McMullin addresses Peck Place Families re: Yale Move

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Jan 212014

Peck Place School

Peck Place School

The following letter is posted on the Orange Elementary Schools Website and was sent out to school news subscribers:

Dear Peck Place Families and our Wider School Community, 

As you may have read in the press releases, our place at Yale is secure through the end of the school year. This long-range date will even enable a jumpstart on the roof project we were planning for this summer.

More importantly, we are closing in on a definite move-in date for the kids. Eric and the key officials supporting Principal Eric Carbone — from Yale security to the Yale movers to the Orange and West Shore fire marshals — meet daily to go over the punch lists and evaluate our progress.

This move is so much more complicated than just packing up the curriculum and furniture. Exit signs needed to be lowered; we needed to bring in bottled water and a PA system; the doors all need panic bar installations. There are more permits than anyone ever imagined. The elevators need to be refitted with keycard access, and Eric must provide his staff, and you, with a new handbook.

We are nearly there! We fully expect to announce a definite move-in date on Friday afternoon, after our last punch-list review. But here are some updates by which you can judge the progress.

• Myers is moving Peck to Yale on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week.

• On Monday, we are giving the Peck teachers a full day to unpack and set up their classrooms. (We’re hiring substitutes for Race Brook and Turkey Hill to help the classroom teachers that day.)

• Eric is scheduling a staff meeting, as there are  many new rules and protocols to review.

• Plans are already underway for the Open House, when you and your children can visit Yale, and then we’ll open the doors for the First Day at Yale.

• The Peck facility is still completely closed and off-limits. Please don’t visit.

• One section of the building is abated and was being air-quality tested today (Tues. Jan. 21)

• Mike Luzzi, our Facilities Manager, and Scott Allen, Orange Sewer Superintendent and Wetlands Officer, are working collaboratively on the Peck clean-up

• We are putting our full efforts towards a lofty goal, using the mantra ‘clean and pristine,’ before the kids’ return.

Lynn K. McMullin

Peck Place Revelations Come Out At Special Selectmen’s Meeting

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Jan 152014

Members of the Orange Board of Selectmen discuss the Peck Place school situation.

Members of the Orange Board of Selectmen discuss the Peck Place school situation.

There was a special meeting of the Board of Selectmen Tuesday at 5 p.m. for the purpose of going over the plans to move Peck Place School students to the Yale West Campus.

By now most residents know that Peck Place Elementary School sustained a good amount of damage after water pipes burst during a cold snap. Much of the flood damage already has been repaired and the students were split up between Turkey Hill and Race Brook schools.

Several parents have told Orange Live that the children are doing well and enjoying the new experience.

The Orange Board of Education reached out to several locations around town, then Yale offered space. But what parents don’t know is that Bruce Alexander Vice President of Yale was not happy with the premature release of information about it and actions that already had been taken.

On Monday, Jan. 13, Orange schools finance director Kevin McNabola told  First Selectman Jim Zeoli that he had to call Alexander, who refused to go forward with the agreement with the BOE and would only sign the agreement if it was between the First Selectman and Yale — end of story.

Zeoli and Alexander discussed the specifics of the agreement and prior to Monday’s special Peck Place meeting at Mary L. Tracy, it was understood that Yale has a use for the building in April and the town of Orange can only use it until Monday, March 31.

The BOE still started moving items over to Yale on Tuesday on Zeoli’s word that the town would abide by Yale’s requirements.

The BOE is aware of the details of the agreement and Zeoli spoke to McNabola, making it known that they still have time to back out of Yale and keep the kids in the two other elementary schools if they so choose.

Zeoli said the town is looking at a 10-week window to have Peck Place School back up and running. Once the insurance damage work is done, it’s then up to the town to complete the work.

“We believe that can be done in 7.5 weeks and give the school back to the Board of Education so they can welcome the children back on March 24,” Zeoli said. “The agreement covers the Yale plan through March 31.”

John Carangelo said if the abatement doesn’t get done in time the town faces a $30,000 penalty, which he feels is excessive. All alternative spaces are a “no-go” for a variety of reasons.

He’s concerned about the March 31 date and Yale’s penalty provision. He asked, “What do we have as a contingency?”

Zeoli answered, ” At the Board of Education meeting last night, the Superintendent stated clearly that there is no contingency plan. The building has to be ready to accept students.”

Town Attorney Vincent Marino said he just received a copy of the agreement 30 minutes prior to this special meeting. He called Yale’s attorney after he toured Peck Place with BOE Chairman Bill Kraut and Facilities Director Mike Luzzi, but he hadn’t heard back from him yet.

Marino said there is no rental fee for the Yale space. “We need to get the kids back into a stable learning environment,” he said.

Marino said he was hoping that the contract would be negotiable so the children could at least get through the Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) period which may extend into the first week of April.

“What will we do if this falls through?  There are special needs kids and after school children who need to be considered,” Carangelo said.


• McNabola said with all the kids at other schools there are 28 kids per classroom instead of 19.

• The Yale space is 51,000 square feet whereas Peck is 54,000 square feet.

• Insurance would pay for rental space and moving costs — close to $100,000

Zeoli said, “Ceilings already have been replaced and floors in worst flooded rooms replaced. The selectmen will have 1-2 more special meetings and look at the state bid list and waive the town bid process to move things along quickly.”

The Board of Finance will be brought in for some decisions, McNabola will work with BOS to get things done. The board will make recommendations for the BOF when they have enough information to share with them.

• The town will line up with removal vendor, installation vendor etc for everything that is needed.

• The work at Peck Place includes, getting the old floors out, new floors in and painting. All have to be done and Zeoli believes it can be done in a timely fashion.

A motion was made to go into an agreement with Yale and the town to expedite the agreement and get the kids over there —- Unanimously approved.

Zeoli said the situation is not as daunting as portrayed. The photos that are circulated were taken the day of the flooding, but everything already looks different.

The BOE is in charge of the children, programming, education and relocation, health, safety and welfare.

“The town and BOE, in a joint venture would get the school straightened out,” Zeoli said. “The school is not that old and not in bad shape. I’ve heard the rumblings out there that the school has been neglected. That is NOT true. A frozen water pipe is NOT a neglect of maintenance.”

Zeoli told Orange Live that the most important thing to him regarding this situation is the stability and support of the education process for the kids. “I can only assume that the BOE is going to take hold of that and monitor it and provide whatever is required by the state Board of Education,” he said. “That’s my biggest concern is that there’s continuity in the kids learning.”

“My next step is making sure this gets done. it was put on me this morning,” he said. “I work well with Scott Allen and Kevin McNabola, they are both hard workers and with their help this job will get done.”

Zeoli  and other selectmen will meet with Insurance Company reps on Wednesday morning to discuss the coverage to take care of this situation.  (On Wednesday, Zeoli said the insurance meeting went well.)


UPDATE (and correction): Peck Place Pipes Burst, Flood School Over Weekend

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Jan 062014

Peck Place School

Peck Place School

The timeline on my story is inaccurate. The computer I was using had the wrong time stamp. I should be getting another computer for work today! Again, I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

The Custodian at Peck Place found the leak at the school at 7 a.m., McMullin was notified at 7:15 a.m. and sent the notice out.

[At around 4:30 a.m.] At 7:45 a.m. Supt. Lynn McMullin sent out this notice: (altered to reflect the late posting)

Several pipes broke at Peck Place over the weekend.  The entire school was flooded with fresh water, but cleanup will take time.
Students and staff reported to the cafeteria and were bused in an orderly way to either Race Brook or Turkey Hill.
Parents may choose to keep their children at home today, but the schools provided for every child who arrived at school.
Children will be dismissed at 3:00 p.m. from Race Brook and Turkey Hill.
90 minutes later, [at 6 a.m.]  9 a.m. she sent this:

Peck Place update and CHANGE.  The kids and staff are in route to MLT, 350 School House Rd.

The kids are fine and in good spirits.  They will be dismissed at 10:30 by their buses … or may be picked up at the school.

Because of social media, expect security for dismissal and please have patience if picking up.

The 21st Century Program will be held today at Mary L. Tracy School for those Peck Place students who attend the after-school program on Monday afternoons. The program will be in session until 6:00 p.m. Lunch/snack will be served.

Updated 1:05 p.m. :

In the true spirit of a community reaching out and helping others in times of trouble, Peck students will attend school tomorrow at either Race Brook or Turkey Hill.

Peck students will be divided between the two schools by their bus route, with as even a distribution as possible. They will join classes at Turkey Hill and Race Brook and be welcomed by those teachers and students.

Aides and paraprofessionals will go with them.  Careful plans are being made for our Special-Ed students and our students with allergies and health issues.  We know it is going to be cold outside tomorrow, but we are hoping as many students as possible will take the bus to alleviate possible congestion and confusion at the student drop-off areas.

For Peck parents, more detailed information is coming.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As you know my laptop crashed and burned on Christmas Day and I did not have one next to my bed as usual. I had gone to bed at 4 a.m. and missed the initial e-mail and update. I dropped the ball this time. For this I am sorry.