Westport, Weston schools working hard against regionalization
WESTPORT — Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer said she plans to testify before the state Legislature on Friday against legislation that would demand the consolidation of Connecticut schools.
In Weston, Superintendent of Schools William McKersie urged parents to oppose the proposals, which he said would have a negative impact on “the quality of Weston’s schools and property taxes.”
He also encouraged school staff and administrators to testify against the bills, either in writing or in person.
“I am confident that with strong advocacy, wiser minds and ideas will prevail in Hartford,” McKersie wrote. “We all must stand for careful stewardship of state and local financial resources. We have to do so, however, in ways that advance our excellent school systems and not undermine their critical work of educating all students with rigor, relevance and compassion. We must not let rash leaps to false solutions to financial challenges limit the capacity of our schools to produce well educated future leaders.”
In Westport, Palmer said also that school consolidation would “erode” the quality of local schools.
“The concern that we have is forced regionalization and taking away the autonomy of a community to make decisions about its own educational program,” she told the Westport Board of Education at its meeting Monday night. “I think that, collectively, superintendents, boards of ed, teachers unions, we’re all looking for efficiencies, but we want to make sure that we do this in a way that doesn’t erode the quality of our educational programs, so I intend to testify this Friday at 5:30.”
The following day, Gov. Ned Lamont emerged from a closed-door meeting with a dozen Fairfield County municipal leaders saying he is not out to force school regionalization and said his plans are, “a carrot, not a stick.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Palmer did not respond to request for comment on whether she still plans to testify Friday.
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