Lincoln finds space for its displaced students

LINCOLN — Fifth- and sixth-graders from Lincoln Community School had to leave their classrooms last week when the two rooms closed for renovations. But the town of Lincoln hasn’t left its youngsters without a place to learn.
The Burnham Hall Foundation opened up the town hall — Burnham Hall — to these students, to use for classrooms. Lincoln Sports has allowed the kids to use their field behind the town firehouse for physical education class and recess. And the Lincoln United Church opened its doors to young musicians last Friday for instrument and band lessons.
“It’s been a wonderful experience for the kids,” said Principal Tory Riley. “One of the main aims of Burnham Hall is to support the children of Lincoln.”
When the students return to their usual classrooms, they’ll find a new and improved space. The renovation work is split into three primary components:
•  An overhaul of the school’s exterior, which includes replacing siding on portions of the school built before the mid-1990s, installing many new windows and doors, and putting in better insulation.
•  A permanent replacement for the school’s temporary modular wing built in 2007. The foundation of this new wing is already poured and the exterior walls are up. Riley said that third- and fourth-graders should move into their new classrooms come December.
•  A revamping of the fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms, which were built in the early 1990s. Improvements to the two classrooms include: installing new windows, painting walls and trim, replacing tile and baseboard, installing outlets for new computers, and making other advancements to meet building codes.
When should the construction wrap up?
“Most of it should be finished by April and a good chunk will be done by February,” said Riley.
Lincoln Community School Board members discussed this construction project and more at their Monday meeting. At the meeting, board members also:
•  Created a policy mechanism to approve changes and additions to the renovation project while it’s under way.
•  Discussed the school’s future enrollment as part of the board’s routine budget planning. According to Riley’s projections for five years out, enrollment will stay steady or continue to grow.
“It’s definitely not projected to go down,” said Riley. “That being said, with such a small population it’s tough to pin down what will happen, but we’re quite confident that our population is steady or growing.”
•  Talked about the career change option that’s offered to every Addison Northeast Supervisory Union teacher who has worked 20 years at a given school. Qualifying teachers have the option to retire from teaching, said Riley, and receive 66 percent of their final year’s salary spread out over a three-year period.
ANeSU Superintendent Evelyn Howard explained that this option is only for teachers who have taught at one school for two decades, not multiple schools in the district.
“(The policy) hasn’t been clarified if it’s a combination of two schools within the district,” she said. “It would probably have to go back to the negotiation table if somebody wanted to challenge it.”
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]

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