Lamont Meets with First Selectman in Fairfield County to Discuss his Proposal to Improve School Services While Saving State and Local Dollars
Governor’s Plan Respects the Wide Diversity of the State’s 169 Towns and 206 School Districts While Acknowledging Taxpayers are Demanding Greater Efficiencies
After a meeting with a group of first selectmen in Fairfield County, Governor Ned Lamont today said that a proposal he has submitted to the Connecticut General Assembly for consideration is a win-win for the state, municipalities – and most importantly – taxpayers in the ongoing efforts by state and local officials to create greater efficiencies that produce cost savings for both state and local dollars. Governor Lamont convened a roundtable of local first selectmen – Republicans and Democrats – at the Weston Town Hall to discuss the important issue and ensure they had an opportunity to learn more about his proposal.
Under the governor’s proposal, the state will establish a Commission on Shared School Services to begin developing plans for the sharing or consolidation of school services and school districts, with significant involvement of each municipality and school district that chooses to participate. Governor Lamont explained that while his proposal encourages and incentivizes municipalities to identify efficiencies and collaborate on school services, it does not force these partnerships. Any changes must be the result of an inclusive, deliberative process with all parties involved. His proposal incentivizes school districts or towns that submit bonding requests collaboratively or that serve multiple students or towns.
There are 169 municipalities, 206 school districts, and 1,493 public schools in Connecticut.
“It’s my feeling that on sensitive, localized issues like our schools, it’s important to lead with the carrot and not force peoples’ hands,” Governor Lamont said. “There have been discussions for years about more shared services, cooperating agreements, and consolidations of schools and districts. Let’s talk about the efficiencies we can produce and determine the best way to get there, including incentives for strategic decisions. This is an issue that has strong feelings on all sides, but we have to remember that at the end of the day, it’s about ensuring that our kids get the best education and that we don’t burden our cities and towns by subsidizing inefficiencies.”
The legislation is Senate Bill 874, An Act Concerning Education Initiatives and Services in Connecticut. It is currently pending in the Education Committee and is scheduled to be the topic of a public hearing on March 1 at 1:00 p.m. in hearing room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.