To the editor:

The Long Lots School Building Committee does not have the authority to act in respect of a playing field on property adjacent to the existing school site.

1. In June 2022, the Westport Board of Education (hereinafter BOE) voted to replace the Long Lots Elementary School with new construction to include the Stepping Stones Preschool Program.

2. In April 2023, the BOE issued a document entitled “Elementary Educational Specifications for Long Lots Elementary School and Stepping Stones Preschool” (hereinafter the specifications).

3. Section C21-2 of the Westport Town Charter provides inter alia: “Unless otherwise expressly designated by the RTM with the concurrence of the First Selectman, the Public Site and Building Commission shall be designated as the school building committee as that term is defined by the General Statutes.”

4. In disregard of that provision of the charter, the first selectwoman, without explanation and without a prior express designation by the RTM, established a Long Lots School Building Committee “to evaluate the existing conditions of the Long Lots School building envelope;”“provide feasibility studies for both a new build and renovate as new options inclusive of cost and schedule;” “provide a recommendation to the first selectwoman regarding a course of action for either a new build or renovate as new (“the project”),” and “execute the project as approved by the town boards.”

5. Nowhere in the specifications or the appointment of the building committee is there any mention of or authorization to include in the scope of its work a playing field or an encroachment upon unrelated property adjacent to “the Long Lots School building envelope.”

6. The Long Lots School Building Committee exceeded its authority by including in its recommendations the construction of a playing field on an adjacent town-owned property not within the jurisdiction or control of the BOE and not within “the Long Lots School building envelope.”

Lawrence Weisman