Sunday, August 19, 2018

Free-lunch bread crumb trail leads straight to Chalk Hill Middle School

[This article was posted originally on the Cinderella's Broom website, which has now been shut down by WordPress--obviously because of it!  
We must multiply such blog posts a hundredfold every time this happens!]

Free-lunch bread crumb trail leads straight to Chalk Hill Middle School.
-Cinderella’s Broom, March 2, 2016

This post provides evidence that Chalk Hill Middle School of Monroe, Connecticut may have been used as a replica of Sandy Hook Elementary School long before January 2013 – perhaps as early as 2011.

The evidence is found in a bread crumb trail of free and reduced-rate lunch stats used to calculate high-speed Internet discounts for schools. Newtown’s 2012 paperwork includes Chalk Hill Middle School, whose numbers are identical to that of Sandy Hook Elementary.

Truly glaring – but buried. Fortunately, Cinderella has a shovel as well as a broom.


Wolfgang Halbig has been sending Cinderella some interesting documents about free and reduced-price school lunches. It’s disturbing that even in Newtown nowadays – where you might expect many lunchboxes to contain sushi-on-ice – there are children who need that kind of help.

What’s really interesting is how free lunch eligibility stats are used to calculate how much the school system will be discounted on their use of high-speed Internet services. Did you know this? (Cinderella didn’t.)

Well, it’s true. Go here to read about the USAC E-Rate program. Don’t feel too sorry for those responsible for completing application forms for this type of financial aid. They manage to slog through – the discounts are worth it. The website describes how it pays off:

“Discounts for support depend on the category of service requested, the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the appropriate school district. Discounts range from 20 percent to 90 percent of the costs of eligible services.”

Poverty stats equate to cheaper Internet access for schools. The concept is simple: the poorer the school’s student population (based on free-and-reduced-lunch eligibility stats) the greater the discount.

It gets more interesting, thanks to Mr. Halbig, whose persistent FOIA requests have likewise begun to pay off.

Mr. Halbig sent me a 21-page document with the title “USAC 471 Application” which he received recently.  It’s dry as a bone and full of bureaucratic parlance. However, it contains a very intriguing bread-crumb trail.

Newtown’s 2012 application. It’s obvious on page 1 that this document concerns Newtown’s 2012 application for an E-Rate discount. Here’s a screen shot of the relevant information [go to the pdf here for a clearer copy]:

The relevant information gleaned follows:
  • The billed entity is Newtown Schools.

  • The billed entity’s street address is 3 Primrose Street (where the Newtown Schools’ Board of Education is located).

  • The bill pertains to the entire (Newtown) school district.

Another entity unexpectedly appears. On page 2, Cinderella found something unexpected. Newtown appears to be working with contacts at E-Rate Online’s office at 856 Main Street, Monroe, CT.  Here is the relevant screen shot from page 2:

And it continues on page 3:

And, finally, the bread crumb trail ends – at Chalk Hill Middle School. On page 4. Below is that page in two screen shots stacked below:

As you can see, we have a problem here.

Anomaly #1: Our document of interest concerns E-Rate discounts for Newtown Public Schools. Why, then, is Chalk Hill Middle School, which is in Monroe, not Newtown, listed as one of those schools?

You’ll remember that the Chalk Hill Middle School (at 375 Fan Hill Road in Monroe) was allegedly not opened to accommodate Sandy Hook Elementary School students until after the alleged massacre of 12-14-12. Chalk Hill suddenly became “Sandy Hook Elementary” in January 2013. (Go here and here for MSM articles about that.)

E-Rate discount applications must be filed by late April of the school year they’re intended for. (Go here  and scroll down till you see a little gold-colored banner that says the window closes on April 29th.)

So this application was filed, at latest, in April 2012, not December 2012. [Block 38 shows it was certified on 3/31/12.--ed.]  In 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary students were not supposed to be at Chalk Hill Middle School. They were supposed to be in the icky-sticky brick dungeon that used to be Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Of course, Mr. Halbig, along with many others, has been questioning that all along.

Anomaly #2. Compare the numbers for Sandy Hook Elementary and Chalk Hill Middle School. You will see a striking similarity! Here they are, stacked below:

The numbers are the same. The critical number here seems to be the percentage of children receiving free or reduced-rate lunches. It is exactly the same for both schools: 4.223%. How is this possible?

The numbers for all of the other schools are unique. There is no such striking sameness!  Yet Sandy Hook and Chalk Hill numbers are so completely the same, the schools themselves may as well be the exact same entity.

Could the explanation be that they were the same entity – not only in 2012, but well before that – when these numbers were being collected and compiled?

Of course, strangest of all is that Chalk Hill Middle School of Monroe should be included in an application for Newtown Public Schools in the first place.

Where were Sandy Hook Elementary students before 12-14-12? Were they already at Chalk Hill Middle School? The evidence above seems to be pointing to that possibility while jumping up and down and shouting.

To take that suggestion seriously, let’s consider whether Chalk Hall Middle School was in any condition to house students before January 2013, when it rolled out a red carpet and reportedly began creating a Sandy Hook Elementary replica “down to the crayons on the desks” within its walls.
  • Chalk Hill Middle is much younger (built in 1969) than Sandy Hook Elementary (built in 1956).
  • By 2010, the school was about to lose students to nearby STEM Academy (by design, it seems) and was facing expensive repairs to systems: Broken-down underground water pipes to the boilers, for one. To save money (about $500,000 per year) and trouble, while putting off major repairs, Monroe Public Schools was considering decommissioning Chalk Hill. (Go here for details.)
  • By November 2010, fifth graders had reportedly already been moved out of Chalk Hill (half the school was closed) to Jockey Hollow Middle and there was more talk about “mothballing” the school.
  • By December 2010, the Monroe Schools Superintendent was proposing a one-year closure of the school to save the reported $15MM it would have taken to bring the building’s systems up to par.
  • By December 30, 2010, Monroe was looking at a report by Silver, Petrucelli & Associates of Hamden, CT, an architectural and engineering firm in Hamden. Here is the cover of the report that Mr. Halbig sent Cinderella:

  • The 55-page report vetted three options:
    • Mothballing the school
    • Mothballing the upper floors and keeping the basement open to house the school’s IT department
    • Demolishing the school
  • The report recommended mothballing the school to”preserve the structure for future use”  (p. 7) as a lower cost option. Demolition would have involved significant costs ($1.9MM) due to the presence of a great deal of asbestos and other toxic materials.
  • According to local media, by June 2011, the school was no longer open and was under the control of the town of Monroe, not the Monroe Board of Education. Mr. Halbig told Cinderella that the Superintendent of Monroe Public Schools said that Chalk Hill Middle School was formally turned over to the town of Monroe on July 1, 2011.
  • The town was no longer seriously considering demolition because the building was judged “structurally sound.” In fact, the possibility of turning it into a community center was still on the table.
  • Then 12-14-12 happened and suddenly Chalk Hill Middle was standing ready with cloned Sandy Hook Elementary d├ęcor.

Was the school “mothballed” or wasn’t it? It isn’t clear from the MSM reports Cinderella has read. That may be intentional.

Where there are crumbs, a school lunch has likely been eaten. There appear to be crumbs all over Chalk Hall Middle School, if the USAC document is to be believed.

What do you think? Where do you think Sandy Hook Elementary students were during that critical time (2008-2012) when the Wayback Machine ferret was no longer sniffing at the Sandy Hook school URL?

Cinderella was amused by the idea that they were all being harbored at Newtown Youth Academy. See the post here. What a funny idea that was!

But funny does not a good hypothesis make. Facts, such as those in the USAC document, rival a good joke any day, such as the one played on us all by the Sandy Hook amateur thespian guild.

Crumbs, dear readers, crumbs. Stick to the crumbs.