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Sandy Hook School Should Be Torn Down, Rebuilt on Same Site, Panel Says

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After considering whether to build a new school far from the site where 26 students and staff members were killed by a gunman Dec. 14, and the possibility of having students return to a renovated Sandy Hook Elementary School, a task force voted Friday night to tear down the Newtown, Conn., school and rebuild it instead.

The 28-member panel's decision, Reuters reported, has to be approved by the Newtown school board, and then the town will have to vote on spending an estimated $56 million on a new school.

Meanwhile, Sandy Hook's 450 kindergarten through 4th grade students will keep attending classes at a converted Chalk Hill Middle in nearby Monroe, Conn.

If voters approve a new school—they rejected increases to the town and school district budget that would have paid for police officers at district schools—it would take about two years to design and build.

But the town may not have to pay the full cost of the project.

Newtown officials had said the school task force was under pressure to make a decision, one that took weeks of meetings and included private testimony from teachers and Sandy Hook staff who said they would not return to the existing building. There is a June 7 deadline to apply for state and federal money that could cover most of the costs, Reuters reported.

Before one of the meetings about the decision last week, the daughter of Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, killed during the shootings, said renovating and reopening the existing school building was unthinkable.

"It should be knocked down," Erica Lafferty, the daughter of Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung, told NBCConnecticut.com. Hochsprung was among those killed Dec. 14. "There should be some type of long-lasting memorial."

Follow Rules for Engagement on Twitter @Rulz4Engagement and Education Week Staff Writer Nirvi Shah on Twitter @NirviShah.

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