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Letter from the Board of Education

Dear New Canaan Parents, Staff and Community,

 

Connecticut lawmakers are currently discussing legislation that would impose regionalization of school districts based on either the number of students per district (S.B. 457) or the total population of towns and cities (S.B. 738). A third bill would establish a commission charged with developing a plan for the regional consolidation of school districts (S.B. 874). These bills represent a dismantling of the current educational system in our state and would significantly alter the educational experience for our children in our schools.

 

The New Canaan Public Schools, and schools across Connecticut, have experienced first-hand the importance and value of local control of our schools. Quite simply, it is a foundational value of Connecticut's educational system, and one that has resulted in world-class educational outcomes for our children. Forcing districts to regionalize would necessarily result in a diminution of parents' and community members' voices in the educational decisions of their children, which would invariably lead to diminished outcomes for our children.

 

In addition, superintendents across Connecticut are working to optimize their districts for effectiveness and efficiency. To propose sweeping bills mandating wholesale regionalization, and to claim that such regionalization would advance efficiency, appears to discredit and undermine this important, ongoing work. As educational and community leaders, superintendents strive to balance efficiency with effectiveness, guided by the belief that education is an investment in our children, in our communities, and in our future.

 

Applying a “one-size-fits-all” approach by mandating forced regionalization would be detrimental to our children, our schools, and our state.

 

The New Canaan Board of Education will be participating in a public hearing to discuss this legislation at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 1, 2019, in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford. The community is also invited to participate in this public hearing, as it is an opportunity to express your opinions and make your voice heard.

 

If you cannot attend the hearing, please consider submitting your feedback via email:

  • Send a brief email to edtestimony@cga.ct.gov (by 3:30 p.m. this Thursday)
  • Put “S.B 457, S.B. 738, S.B. 874” in the subject line.
  • Include your name and town in the email
  • Attach your testimony as a PDF or MS Word document to the email.

 

Every voice counts! We urge you to consider submitting testimony and/or reaching out to our local state representatives to share your thoughts on this very important discussion. New Canaan’s legislative representatives in Hartford can be reached at:

 

Alex Bergstein, Connecticut Senate District 36
alex.bergstein@cga.ct.gov
Twitter: @Alex4CT
Capitol Phone: 860.240.0422

 

Will Haskell, Connecticut Senate District 26
will.haskell@cga.ct.gov
Twitter: @WillHaskellCT
Capitol Phone: 860.240.0068

 

Lucy Dathan, Connecticut House District 142
Lucy.Dathan@cga.ct.gov
Twitter: @lucydathan
Capitol Phone: 860.240.8585

 

Tom O'Dea, Connecticut House District 125
Tom.ODea@housegop.ct.gov
Twitter:@ODeaJr
Capitol Phone: 860.240.8700

 

Connecticut has long been a national leader in education thanks in large part to our foundational belief in the importance of local voice and control. Please use your voice to contact our local legislators and others in Hartford to help them understand that forced regionalization is the wrong path for our children, our communities, and our state.

 

Sincerely,

New Canaan Board of Education

 

Brendan Hayes, Chair
Dionna Carlson, Vice Chair
Jennifer Richardson, Secretary
Tom Cronin
Hazel Hobbs
Maria Naughton
Katrina Parkhill
Penny Rashin
Sherry West