BOE votes in favor of K-6 plan for Westport schools

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WESTPORT -

Sixth-graders in Westport will attend classes at area elementary schools next year due to mold contamination at Coleytown Middle School, the Board of Education voted.

The board voted 5 to 2 in favor of the K-6 plan which would keep current fifth graders in elementary school buildings next year.

Beginning next year, officials say all seventh and eight graders will learn at Bedford Middle School.

Monday night's meeting at Staples High School contained plenty of questions about the future of Coleytown Middle School and the impact on moving its students.

The school closed earlier this year after mold was discovered and a number of people claimed they felt sick. 

Westport Superintendent Dr. Colleen Palmer had suggested housing sixth graders at a rented space but says the district was not able to find a viable district with housing so the K-6 plan was a better option. 

Some parents suggested using town hall, which used to be a school.

"It's very, very disappointing that every single elementary student is affected by this when we could simply work really hard to make town hall available," says Jessica Brookbanks.

Some of the concerns about the plan include overcrowding, intimidation for kindergartners and changes to the curriculum.

The plan is contingent on getting portable classrooms for the elementary schools but availability for those is unknown.

Some parents are unhappy with the decision.

"I think that it was a choice between two bad decisions," says Jeannette Floto. "I think they're both really awful. I find it hard to believe that in this town, we can't find any space that would be suitable for a sixth-grade academy."

Officials are still deciding whether to repair or demolish Coleytown Middle School.

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