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Countdown Begins for Weston Schools

WESTON, Conn. -- On Aug. 30, 22 more kindergartners than anticipated will be entering Hurlbutt Elementary School, which has caused the Weston Board of Education to consider hiring another teacher, Weston's superintendent said Monday.

Colleen Palmer, at her first Board of Education meeting as Weston's new superintendent of schools, advised the board not to move a first grade teacher because students have already been assigned to classes. She said that after tallying up the salaries of new hires, she found $60,000, which could cover the cost of hiring a kindergarten teacher.

"The board is being wasteful" by hiring another teacher instead of moving around the first grade students, said Les Wolf, a member of the Board of Education.

The board had anticipated and staffed for 140 kindergartners, but 162 had enrolled as of Monday. A projected total of 2,511 students were expected to enroll in Weston schools and as of Monday 2,505 students had enrolled. Bus routes are available on the school's website.

"It will fluctuate in a few weeks as we have families knocking on the door to enter the school system," said Palmer.

New teachers will be working at all of Weston's schools this year, including: an English teacher, a speech therapist and a social studies teacher at the high school; a special education teacher, a social studies teacher, a music teacher and a technology education teacher at the middle school; a music teacher and an art teacher at the intermediate school; and a speech therapist and a special education teacher at the elementary school.

Palmer said 75 percent of the new teachers have advanced degrees, 75 percent have previous teaching experience and 50 percent have worked in Weston in the past. New teacher induction will be Aug. 22, 23 and 24, and the school convocation will be Aug. 29.

New to the school this fall is a technology upgrade, which will allow those with smart devices to access the Internet.

The buildings are ready for students, and teachers begun to set up, Palmer said. Over the summer, 50 projects were completed, she said, including replacing fences, resurfacing gymnasium floors, painting the interior of buildings, repaving the central office parking lot and abating asbestos around the boilers at the high school.

"It's hard to believe that this was accomplished within 10 weeks," said Palmer.

What's the hardest part about going back to school? Send your comments to shenry@thedailyweston.com .

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