Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford closes unexpectedly due to minor roof leak

New Milford: Schaghticoke Middle School shut after roof leak discovered

NEW MILFORD -- Schaghticoke Middle School students got an unexpected day off from school Tuesday after officials discovered a small roof leak in the office hallway.

As a precaution, education officials opted to close the school so the roof could be cleared of any snow and ice that might pose a danger.

Schools Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote pointed out a small section where a slow drip was filling up a small, plastic garbage can.

She noted that despite the seemingly small leak, officials wanted to take no chances with student or staff safety.

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Days out Schaghticoke students have now had nine snow days, the rest of the district has had eight days and four delays. The school website is:

Parents in the district were alerted early Tuesday morning of a 90-minute delay, but when Paddyfote learned of the Schaghticoke concern she opted to close the school.

"It was precautionary,'' Paddyfote said.

Most of the middle school students learned the news either before they left home, or at their bus stops. The few students who actually made it onto a bus were immediately returned home, said All-Star Transportation manager Jeff Woods.

"It went very smoothly,'' Woods said of the quickly relayed news.

Though the school parking lot was empty of buses and cars on Tuesday morning, the roof was a hubbub of activity as the maintenance crews worked feverishly to clear the roofs.

Facilities Manager John Calhoun said he arranged to have extra crews clear the roof to ensure there would be no excess loads on the large, flat roof.

He said his department has been monitoring all the schools, and regularly clears all the roofs, which have drains, but the snow shower and rain mix caught everyone off guard and caused more problems than anticipated.

Calhoun reiterated that the hallway leak was small, but structural engineer Ed Silva of Silva Associates was called to inspect the roof.

Schaghticoke houses some 750 students and about 100 faculty and staff.

"We have to make sure kids are safe at all costs,'' Calhoun said.

Board of Education Chairman Wendy Faulenbach, who has an eighth-grader at Schaghticoke, said she can appreciate that the last-minute school closing might have proved an inconvenience to some parents, but she said the district simply cannot take any chances when it comes to safety.

"Imagine if we had had students in there, and then we had to send them home half-way through the day,'' said Faulenbach, who has three children in district schools. "It's never easy when schedules change unexpectedly ...we recognize it's inconvenient, but it's not up for discussion when we're dealing with safety. It's our obligation to protect our staff and students.''

Contact Nanci Hutson at

or at 860- 354-2274.