Trumbull Zoning Council approves student-run bookstore


TRUMBULL – A student-run second-hand bookstore and cafe in the Trumbull Center cleared another hurdle on Wednesday, receiving a positive recommendation from the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

The Next Chapter Books and More project meets two needs, according to Tammy Hartman, director of student services and special education for the school system. It will give students in the Educating Learners In Transition Environments (ELITE) program a chance to learn new skills and alleviate overcrowding in the program’s only classroom.

“We urgently need a space to be able to educate our students,” Hartman said.

Hartman also explained the transformative nature of the store. Not only will students with disabilities learn to work at the counter and inventory inventory, but they will also explore the world in a more organic way, with safeguards in place, she said.

“One of the things we love about it is the proximity to a bank. We can work on banking skills, ”Hartman said. “There would also be opportunities to navigate a crosswalk, navigate a traffic light and things of that nature to keep them safe.”

The proceeds from the store could then be used to fund the educational work of the ELITE program, she said.

One positive aspect of the bookstore is that it would have minimal overhead, she said.

“It’s a second-hand bookstore, so all the books are donated,” she said. “We don’t pay for any of these products. The inventory is only based on these donations.

Urban planner Rob Librandi said the store complies with regulations regarding wheelchair accessibility.

“It’s consistent. I also spoke with the building department, to make sure they meet the ADA compliance and accessibility code, ”said Librandi.

While Hartman said other similar bookstores in other communities have comparable assignments, the Trumbull store will be unique in that it will be owned by the city’s school board. The store’s collaborative nature extends to the working partnerships it will have with the high school culinary program, if city council approves it, she said.

The Culinary Program will be responsible for preparing offsite baked goods for sale in the store.

Commissioner Anthony Chory said the bookstore will give ELITE students the tools they need to be successful in life after leaving the school system.

“There is a cliff that they fall when they leave high school. So it seems like a good transition path for them, ”said Chory.

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