Submitted by Edward Munster.
At a Special RSD #17 BOE meeting to which BOS, BOF and P&Z from both towns were invited, the BOE took unanimous votes affecting the HES property.
The first motion by Killingworth BOE member Kathy Zandi and seconded by Killingworth member Joel D’Angelo was to donate the Swan Hill property of approximately 170+ acres to the Town of Haddam to be held in perpetuity for conservation purposes. This property has hiking trails with scenic views and has been used nature educational purposes for at least 50 years. The voters of the town will be asked to vote on a referendum item to accept the property which could then be turned over to the care of the Haddam Land Trust. The details of the exact boundaries and the access to the property as well as the legal aspects of the transfer will be worked out by the attorneys from the BOE and The Town of Haddam. The motion passed unanimously.
The second resolution made and seconded by the same two BOE members was to offer the remaining 10 acres of property together with the HES school to the Town of Haddam for a nominal price. The details of the offer would need to be discussed and agreed by the attorneys for the BOE and the Town of Haddam. This motion also passed unanimously.
First Selectman Lizz Milardo pointed out that in both cases the acceptance of these properties would have to be brought to a vote of Haddam citizens at a referendum. Milardo said that rather than have these items voted on in a separate referendum which would cost the town extra money her goal was to have these questions on the ballot on the same day as the Regional District Budget Referendum on May 7, 2019.
Selectman Melissa Schlag commented that she thought it important to hold off on the vote by referendum on these items for six months to give Haddam citizens time to be educated on the issues involved. BOE members were concerned that this happen more quickly because they have an offer from a developer to purchase the property and if Haddam voters should vote down the opportunity to purchase the HES property that the BOE did not want to lose the opportunity to sell the property to the developer.
As background for understanding the rationale for this action there was discussion of a Resolution made by the Board of Education in September 1972 that the towns of Killingworth and Haddam be given first refusal by the Regional School District #17 BOE, on any property previously transferred to the district by the respective Towns, which is to be disposed of by the District. In effect this 1972 Resolution was speaking of the Haddam Elementary School property and the Killingworth Elementary School property which were transferred by the two towns to RSD #17 in that year.