Democrat lawmakers in the General Assembly have proposed multiple bills to force towns to regionalize school districts.
One bill would force any school district with less than 2,000 students to regionalize (impacting an estimated 84 towns). Another bill would force any town with a population of less than 40,000 to consolidate with other towns to form new school districts matching the state probate court districts shown below (impacting an estimated 144 towns).
While encouraging towns to share services is a laudable goal, each school and school district has unique needs and forcing towns and cities to regionalize without considering those needs creates a whole host of problems:
- Less time in the classroom and more time on the bus, especially in rural areas like Newtown, Weston and Easton where proposed districts would be very large geographically.
- Dramatic increases in busing expenses for towns and cities. While the state used to pay for busing costs, towns and cities are now solely responsible for those costs, and more time on the bus means higher costs to towns.
- Wasted taxpayer investments in new and newly renovated schools. If your town just invested in a new school renovation, it may now be all for nothing if the school no longer fits the needs of a regional school district.
- Potential new costs to build new schools to meet regional needs.
- Raises concerns about how to preserve quality of education.
- Loss of teaching positions. If towns are forced to consolidate, this could impact number of teachers and classrooms.
- Loss of local control over school decision making. Forcing regionalization leaves little room for towns, cities and local residents to have a say in what their children are learning.
Want to speak out about this proposal? I will let you know once a public hearing is scheduled so you can submit testimony or testify in person.
Always feel free to share your thoughts with my office as well at (860) 240-8805 and firstname.lastname@example.org.