The grounds at and elementary schools were in disarray Monday, merely days before the first day of school for students.
Overgrown grass at Nichols seemed to confine the building, as teachers held first-day-back activities inside. At Franklin, in addition to an unkempt lawn, piles of rubbish were strewn about the school grounds, visible to anyone driving or walking by on Barnum Avenue.
"We really expected the school to look more inviting," a parent, Rich, whose son will attend kindergarten at Nichols this year, told Stratford Patch via email last week. "Quite a few of us [are] appalled at the deplorable conditions around the school."
Town officials say public works will have the schools tidy for , which is Friday for kindergarteners and Thursday for all other students.
"It will be done," said Councilman John Dempsey of the Fifth District, which is where Nichols Elementary is located. "It will be set by Thursday."
"Right before school, they dress them up," said Bob Sweger, plant operations and transportation manager for the .
Dempsey cited "budget restraints" as the reason why Stratford school grounds are not maintained in the summer, when school's not in session. Sweger, likewise, said the money's not there for the preservation.
Some residents see this as a "disservice" and a showing of irresponsible town government.
"Why should town-owned property only look nice at certain times?” Rich Tomas wrote on the Stratford Facebook page. "It is public property and reflects on the town."
"Most homes sell in the summer," wrote Robert Antonelos. "It's a disservice for residents that want to sell their homes. They should be maintained all year."
Do you think Stratford school grounds should be maintained year-round? Let us know what you think by voting in our poll and commenting below.
Editor's note: A message left for a public works supervisor was not returned Monday.