Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell has asked school administrators to provide a detailed explanation of a request for the town to seek additional office space for school administrative needs.
In a Jan. 20 letter to Schools Supt. Elliott Landon, Farrell said she would not pass on a request to the town’s Public Site and Building Commission to find more space until the schools have prepared a presentation showing that they have exhausted every available space in school buildings.
“Elliott, I am deeply concerned about the cost of this initiative,” Farrell wrote.
“Coming on the heels of a 6.5 percent requested annual operating increase, and an additional capital request of $2.5 million for completion of Staples High School, expending funds for office space is an added burden to the taxpayer at a time when a great deal has been asked already in support of education.”
She added: “As such, before contacting the Public Site and Building Commission, I request that you prepare a presentation that addresses your administrative needs, exhausting every available space in your school buildings. I understand your desire to centralize, but if adequate space exists on a less centralized basis, consideration should be given from a financial perspective.”
Farrell, who was replying to a Jan. 20 letter asking her to forward the expanded space request to the Public Site and Building Commission, said a statement in Landon’s letter that the town’s space needs would also be increasing was in error.
“Speaking for the Town of Westport, we do not anticipate any expansion within the building in the future,” she said.
(Editor’s Note: The editor of WestportNow is also moderator of the Representative Town Meeting and, as such, received a copy of Farrell’s letter earlier this month. However, publication of a WestportNow story on the letter was delayed until other news media first reported it, which The Hour of Norwalk did in today’s edition.)