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Governor's school regionalization plan to be discussed during public hearing

WFSB logo WFSB 3/1/2019
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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut lawmakers will be discussing proposals on Friday to consolidate school districts.

It's been a controversial subject among parents and teachers.

School regionalization is an idea Gov. Ned Lamont supports to help curb state spending.

He proposed a state commission to oversee a plan for redistricting or consolidating school services and districts.

One bill would make schools with fewer than 2,000 students enrolled to either join a new or existing school district.

A second looks at having towns with fewer than 40,000 people consolidate districts.

There was a big crowd at the Legislative Office Building for the public hearing.

Parents, teachers, and educators came from across the state ready to fight.

They were armed with posters and they had a strong message.

"We don't want people telling us what to do with our schools," said Tammy Ward, a Wilton parent.

They are speaking out against several bills aimed at regionalizing schools.

"A lot of educators in some of the larger school district are concerned if the regionalization of schools pass class size will increase," said Drew McWeeny, a Special Education Teacher in Waterbury.

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There are more school districts than cities and towns, and one out of every $4 of state spending is for education, yet many school districts have lost population.

Senator Cathy Osten says there are four plans for regionalization and not one would force schools to do it.

Osten says regionalization doesn't mean closing schools. It would allow them to share services such as landscaping, payroll, human resources and a curriculum director.

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"If we are going to have that much money, I would rather be supporting programs for children and regionalize those administrative costs to put more dollars into programs for children," said Osten.

One proposal would have Wolcott Public Schools join the Waterbury school district.

That angered parents and teachers in Wolcott.

"When you compare what each district spends to the results that they get, our efficiency is very, very strong," said Tony Gasper, superintendent, Wolcott Public Schools.

"I think they should leave it alone because the school districts around here are fine right now," said Dominic Ferrare if Wolcott.

Read the shared school services proposal here.

Lamont in his budget, proposed a state-wide plan to redistrict and consolidate schools by 2020.

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