Around 200 people stood on the sidewalks of Main Street, many of them holding up signs in the air protesting the proposed change.
“Moved here for the schools, Stay here for the schools, Hands Off Our Schools” read a sign held by Wilton resident Caroline Unger.
“Let’s ensure that Governor Lamont is fully aware of the statewide, crosstown opposition” to regionalization,” said Ridgefielder Liz Floegel, one of the organizers of the rally. “The bills being discussed will negatively impact our educational quality. They will force our kids into large, bureaucratic districts. They will be difficult to manage, and not one of these bills has any metric of school quality improvement in it.”
Several people passing by on the street and sidewalk gave a thumbs up or honked to show their support for the protestors.
Tammy Ward, a Wilton organizer for Hands Off Our Schools, took down names of people interested in taking a bus to Hartford on March 1 to testify against one of the proposals.
There are currently three bills before the state legislature that include language that would regionalize school districts. Senate Bill 738, introduced by Senator Martin Looney (D-11), the president pro tempore of the senate, would create a commission to combine the central offices — but not the schools themselves — of any town with a population of less than 40,000.
A second bill, SB 457, introduced by state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, would combine school districts with less than 2,000 students.
The third bill, Governor’s Bill 874, was introduced by Gov. Ned Lamont this week as part of his budget plan.
Of the four state legislators who spoke — state Rep. John Frey (R-Ridgefield), state Senator Will Haskell, (D-26), state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-Wilton), and state Rep. Kenneth Gucker (D-Ridgefield) — all said they were opposed to forced regionalization.