On Jan. 30, the Rocky Hill Board of Education, then- and Principal Mario Almeida hosted a at about that school being (NEASC). Hundreds of residents filled the auditorium to learn the reasons why the accreditation of the town’s only high school is at risk of losing its accreditation. Following detailed presentations by school officials, were offered so that the deficiencies described could be seen firsthand by all who attended. The Rocky Hill Board of Education also directed attendees to their website to further educate the public about NEASC and the high school located at www.RockyHillHSProject.org.
That community meeting prompted a movement among the residents that ultimately led to the creation of whose purpose is to support an upcoming referendum that addresses the concerns raised by NEASC and assures that the accreditation of RHHS is not lost.
The officers of the PAC are former Mayor Todd Cusano (Chairman), former Board of Education Member Marc Beliveau (Treasurer) and (Deputy Treasurer).
“Stay Accredited” Chairman, Todd Cusano, recalled, “The hundreds of residents that turned out for the Community Meeting demonstrated that our town is ready for action. The concern was palpable, with the tours leaving some embarrassed and others outright indignant at the state of the school. ‘Stay Accredited’ was born out of that meeting, and a desire to restore pride into our school, and ultimately our community.”
Former Board of Education member and “Stay Accredited” Treasurer, Marc Beliveau, added,“ ’Stay Accredited’ is above politics. In fact, we have active participation from people that have served our town from both political parties, including former Republican Mayor Todd Cusano and former Democratic Chairman of the BOE, Bill MacDonald. This is truly about a community coming together.”
Former Board Chairman, Bill MacDonald, explained, “While significant facility issues remain a reality in all our schools, the upcoming referendum is entirely focused on the Rocky Hill High School facility issues which have negatively impacted our accreditation and placed the school on Warning by NEASC. Being placed on warning and heading towards probation impacts our entire town.”
In 2008 and 2010, the town voted down referendums that addressed various issues throughout the school system. Those referendums, however, were not in direct response to accreditation concerns. Rather, they focused primarily on the elementary school facilities and all-day Kindergarten. Both referendums, which were significantly larger in scope and cost, did not pass.
The upcoming referendum will be significantly smaller in size and cost than the prior two, with an approximate cost of $45 million. According to Town officials, the State is expected to reimburse the town approximately 44% of the project’s costs.
MacDonald continued, “There is a true sense of urgency holding the referendum by June 30, 2012, as even one day beyond that will result in having to wait until June 30, 2013 to submit the project, which then takes a year for the state to approve.”
Stay Accredited member Martha Durkin remarked, “We are looking for more residents to get involved and join this effort. We will be on a mission to educate all residents about the implications of the NEASC Warning and the facts about the upcoming referendum.”
Submitted by Stay Accredited Chairman Todd E. Cusano