Frequently Asked Questions

Sherman Shield

This document has been prepared to respond to concerns, comments, and questions that result from our ongoing study of the Sherman School building and grounds. If your question or concern is not addressed here, please contact us at

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March 6, 2020

I heard they have stopped maintaining the Sherman School? Is this true?

No, this is false… but it is important to understand the difference between “Maintenance” and “Capital Improvements.”  “Maintenance” is the routine care of the school which includes cleaning and vacuuming, most plumbing and electrical work, painting the walls, and other minor repairs. “Capital Improvements” are large and much more expensive projects like replacing the leaky roof, installing an HVAC system that meets standards, adding bathrooms to Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms, or addressing potable water issues. 

The Sherman School employs two full-time and two part-time individuals to maintain an 85,000 square foot building that enjoys approximately 360 visitors each day, not including park and recreation and other town use. We utilize a program called UpKeep to manage all requests (called tickets) submitted by staff in addition to regular cleanings. Over the past 12 months, our maintenance team has received 688 tickets, and has addressed all but 11 of them, which are still in progress. Not everything is perfect, but the building is well-maintained.

The 2018 Friar report suggests a number of “Capital Improvement” projects which certainly need to be addressed. However, the Board of Education made the intentional decision not to spend tax dollars on these significant repairs until we were certain about any potential future building reconfiguration. If the Board decides not to recommend one of the conceptual design options, we anticipate proposing approximately $11,000,000 in needed capital improvements over the next 8-10 years.

I have heard that most capital work does not need to be done for several years. Is this true?

The 2018 Friar Study identified needed repairs to The Sherman School in three time frames:  1-3 years, 3-5 years, and 5-8 years. Over 70% of the identified work is designated in the 3-5 year range which, according to the Study timeline, would be from 2021-2024.  The BOE’s current feasibility study is necessary to properly address these repairs according to an implementation plan and schedule.

I have heard that the fire pumps are not operating due to moisture and water issues. Is this true?

This is false. All fire pumps are operating and have passed quarterly inspections. In addition, the school administration has provided the Fire Marshall with a copy of the Friar report and we continue to work closely with the Fire Marshall to ensure we are in compliance with all matters. 

The Board of Education has returned a substantial surplus to the town in recent years. Why haven’t those funds been saved for some of these needed Capital Improvement projects?

Each year the town approves a budget that is dedicated to the “operational” needs of the district. Sometimes, because of changes in student needs, fluctuating high school enrollments, or other cost savings, we have a surplus. Based on the information we had, the Board believed the most responsible decision was to return unused funds to the town while we determined appropriate next steps for the building. The Board did not feel it would be prudent to request taxpayer dollars to install items like new water fountains (needed to switch on the clean well) or replace the roof, HVAC, or playground, until we knew what the overall building plan would be.

It is important to understand that all of these projects would need to go through a bidding process and obtain approval from voters before being completed. Surplus funds from a Board of Education operating budget would not be the appropriate source of funding for these projects.  In short, we don’t want to put things in and then tear them out two-three years later. It should be noted that lots of small and meaningful repairs have been taking place. The Board hired Tecton to lead the Board and community through a process of determining several options. Once those options have been presented the Board will deliberate and may bring a recommendation to the town.

February 18, 2020

When is the referendum and what will I be voting on?

As of today, February 18th, there is no referendum as there is nothing to vote on. At this point, the Board of Education has engaged Tecton for a conceptual design study to provide options for consideration. The community has been invited to participate in three public forums (January 8th, February 25th, and March 25th) to provide input along the way. Once the forums have taken place, the Board of Education will need to deliberate and may propose a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. It is important that your voice is heard throughout this process. Please attend the public forums, or email with your comments, questions, and concerns. 

Will the safety and security of Sherman School students be jeopardized if the building is used for multiple purposes during the day?

The safety and security of Sherman School students and staff are paramount in every decision made by the Board of Education.  The Board of Education would not endorse any proposal that compromises security in any way. Fortunately, this non-negotiable standard for security is shared by the team at Tecton. Tecton has within its firm a Public Safety Department that specializes in the field of safety and security, and the team provides valuable input through the planning and design of all its school facilities.  Exterior planning involves adherence to Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, including natural surveillance of entry, secure and controlled site access, separation of bus/parent circulation and parking, and increased buffer or “safe zone.” Interior planning principles include a secure entrance lobby with visual access, administration control of physical and visual access to the building, additional layers of security/access control within the building, separation of “public” areas from classroom space, and natural daylighting techniques throughout. 

If the Town of Sherman receives state reimbursement for a school building project, will the Sherman School be forced to accept students from neighboring cities in order to meet various state-mandated requirements?

No. The requirement for state reimbursement is that the building operates as a school for a minimum of 20 years. See Connecticut Education Laws, Title 10, Chapter 173: Public School Building Projects, as adopted by the Connecticut State Board of Education 2015. The redistricting that occurs in other towns related to building renovations/new construction is typically related to redistricting within town borders. Because Sherman only has one school, redistricting would not occur. As currently permitted in Board of Education policy 5118, the Board of Education could consider accepting additional students on a tuition-basis from other towns which would count as town revenue. We currently charge approximately $14,000 per student for tution. Employees who wish to have their child attend the Sherman School pay roughly 50% of this tuition cost per year. 

I cannot attend the Public Forums but would like to remain informed. What can I do?

In an effort to engage as many members of our community as possible, we have established remote access using an online platform so that those interested can participate in our two remaining public forums on 2/25 and 3/25. Participants will be able to listen to the audio of these forums, view the presentation screen and submit written questions which we will make every effort to answer during the presentation. Recordings of these meetings will be available after they take place. Here is a link with details.

Dr. Melendez, Superintendent-Principal, and members of the Board are also willing to take the time to meet personally with anyone who has questions or concerns that have not been addressed through the other available forums. Please contact us at and we are happy to accommodate. 

How will the Board and Administration communicate with members of the community regarding this matter? We have established a direct link called, “Conceptual-Design” on the homepage of our website, to manage information. The public can find full reports, presentations, and several other archived letters that were written to the community to keep them informed. A written summary of the public forums will also be printed in local papers soon after the meetings. The Board has not made any determination on how to proceed and will not do so until after these important opportunities for community feedback have taken place. The Board has also established a dedicated email address to keep track of the community’s questions and concerns:

February 11, 2020

Sherman School enrollment is declining, why renovate the building now?

Like many other towns in CT, enrollment in our district is declining. However, an exhaustive study by Friar Architects in 2018/2019 has indicated that our building is rated in only “fair” condition and has a number of issues that need to be addressed - or will need to be addressed in the near future - in order to maintain the integrity of the building and bring the existing facility up to code. If this work were to be done, the cost is estimated to be approximately $11 million. 

Why is the BOE discussing a larger renovation project that would potentially include the Senior Center and Parks & Rec if enrollment is declining?  Why not just fix what we currently have and keep costs to a minimum?

Based on the facility study report from Friar, we know that the estimated cost to fix the building in its entirety is approximately $11 million. This does not include any educational enhancements or alterations to the existing footprint of the building nor address where to locate students during any construction/renovation that may take place. Given this significant cost to repair/maintain what we currently have, the Board of Education believed it was prudent to explore additional options that might address multiple needs in our community, remedy all existing issues, and function as an enhancement to academic programming for the next 30+ years. The 26-member Design and Innovation Committee agreed with this assessment and felt it was important to explore these options and the estimated cost associated with them before making a decision on how to move forward. 

As of today, February 10th, 2020, this is precisely what the Board of Education is doing. We are working with Tecton Architects to solicit input from staff, students, various community groups and the greater community to develop options for our building and grounds that will best serve our town now and in the future. To-date, the Board of Education has not endorsed a particular project or plan and therefore has not made a request to move anything to referendum. 

Given the declining enrollment, has the Board of Education considered making the Sherman School PK-5?

Yes. The Board of Education discussed this topic at length during our annual Board of Education Retreat in July 2019. Several different options were analyzed with respect to projected enrollment and its potential impact to the Sherman School and its students, the Board of Education budget, and the town as a whole. As part of its due diligence, the Board explored and evaluated the pros and cons of transitioning our district to a PK-5 school and sending our students to outside districts for MS and HS. We also considered the reverse - bringing our HS students back to Sherman for their 9th-12th grade education. 

After considering the academic, social, and financial impacts of these scenarios, the Board of Education agreed that Sherman would maintain a PK-8 school. Ultimately, this decision was shared with our Design and Innovation Committee, which affirmed our intent and has led us to commission a conceptual design study to inform any future recommendations. The Board of Education genuinely wants your feedback, both positive and negative, to help us make the most informed decision to serve the interests of our school and broader community. We hope you will get involved!

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