Editorial: As the Connecticut legislative session begins, the time is now to focus on what it might bring
Last year, in the early weeks of January, several bills were proposed quietly regarding Connecticut’s schools and possible regionalization.
Draft bills were sent to the state Senate Education Committee a year ago this month. Both bills were vague in terms of the future impact on local schools.
The bill originally filed proposed regionalizing school districts with a student population of under 40,000 students. Given that figure applies to every town and city in Connecticut, many of the original responses felt this was simply a vague way to just regionalize ALL districts.
Then it was made clear that figure related to total population. The mistake simply added to the game of telephone that had already been started by a vaguely worded yet extremely impactful concept — the combination of the state’s smaller schools into larger regional districts.
Most of those who invest in moving to areas of Connecticut, especially Fairfield County, move here for the schools. They take rides and research, sacrifice and save, and add much longer commutes to their work day just so their children have the best education they can provide.
Residents who don’t have children in the schools have made these towns their homes or have remained here based on the character of the town and the taxes they expect to pay and plan for.
So the time is now for you to reach out to your state representatives. Now is the time for residents to make their reps know what their priorities are as their constituents. Now is the time to tell them what you want to see, and maybe more importantly, what you don’t want to see, in terms of new state legislation.
The battle over school regionalization last winter got ugly. There were accusations of exclusion, racism and prejudice against anyone who publicly criticized the plan. State officials openly mocked the same concerns at public meetings.
The bills did not move forward last legislative season. But the groundwork has begun. And there are more bills than those related to schools. Tolls continue to loom.
Make sure your Darien leaders are representing your interests now — before bill “ideas” become law. Darien’s state representatives are listed below:
Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Bob.Duff@cga.ct.gov or 800-842-1420
State Rep. Terrie Wood, Terrie.Wood@cga.ct.gov or 800-842-1423
Sen. Carlo Leone, firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-240-0589
State Rep. Matthew Blumenthal, Matt.Blumenthal@cga.ct.gov or 860.240.8585