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Proposed Bill To Consolidate Smaller School Districts Causes Concerns In Fairfield County

Martin Looney
Martin Looney Photo Credit: Contributed photo

Connecticut lawmakers and parents have expressed mixed emotions as the state considers legislation to consolidate some of the area’s smallest school districts.

Introduced by State Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, the bill would create a commission charged with developing a plan to consolidate districts in communities with less than 40,000 people. The bill reportedly is “to create a more efficient educational system.”

If approved, the bill would become effective as of July 2021, though it hasn’t garnered wide-sweeping support from local residents or elected officials. It could potentially impact several Fairfield County school districts and communities.

Democratic State Sen. Will Haskell of Westport, whose district includes Wilton which could be part of a possible merger with the Norwalk district, issued a statement stating that he could not support Looney’s bill.

“We have deep respect for Sen. Looney and are always open to discussing the difficult issues facing our state, including the issue of regionalization, because finding efficiencies in state spending is a priority for us,” he stated. “However, we cannot support SB 454 to regionalize our schools.

The Republican Town Committee also is vehemently opposing the proposal.

“The proposal would seriously jeopardize Wilton’s reputation for high-quality, locally controlled education,” the committee wrote in a statement. “Other serious consequences for Wilton, known and unknown, would no doubt follow.”

The bill was introduced to the state education committee on Thursday, Jan. 24, and is likely to be subjected to a public hearing. There will be a public information session for parents and homeowners at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Comstock Community Center in Wilton.

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