Over fifty residents packed into the Woodbridge Library on Wednesday night to hear from State Representative Themis Klarides and Senator George Logan about the 2019 legislative session.
Many residents in attendance were there to express their deep concerns with a Democrat proposal to force schools to regionalize. The bill, S.B. 454, introduced by Senator Martin Looney the highest ranking Democrat in the State Senate, would force schools to regionalize based on the current Probate Judge map.
Sen. Looney’s plan would force Woodbridge to combine with Ansonia, Derby, and Seymour, and Orange would merge with Milford.
Rep. Klarides and Sen. Logan told the residents in attendance that forcing schools to regionalize is not the answer.
“Proposals to force regionalization of schools is not the way to approach this topic,” said Rep. Klarides. “We need to encourage communities to work together and combine resources when they can and when it makes sense. I encourage residents that are concerned about this proposal to stay vocal and together we can stop this bill from moving forward.”
“To the people of Woodbridge: Thank you for speaking out against forced school district regionalization!” Sen. Logan said. “Rep. Klarides and I noted how these Democrats’ proposals would lead to less time in the classroom and more time on the school bus. Forced regionalization would negatively impact the quality of education our students receive. We discussed the potential loss of local control over school decision making. We also spoke about how forced regionalization could result in fewer teachers. To talk to the lawmakers who proposed these bills, contact Senate Democrats at 800-842-1420. Stay active and vocal! We will let you know once a public hearing is scheduled so you can submit testimony or testify in person at the State Capitol. We will need the support of parents, educators and students in order to stop this from becoming reality. We will work as a team to defeat it.”
On Thursday morning, Senator Looney said in a New Haven Register Article that the bill was a “misdraft” and that the bill “would not break up the regional school district, and would, in fact, consolidate all of the three towns’ schools into one regional district.
Rep. Klarides responded saying, “Sen. Looney doesn’t know what is best for the communities of Woodbridge, Orange, and Bethany. The residents and local town officials should be deciding if they should regionalize K-12.”
In addition, area residents panned proposals to legalize marijuana and increase the minimum wage. A longtime educator said legalizing marijuana would create more issues with drug problems and vaping in schools. And a resident that hires a lot of high school kids in the summer said increasing the minimum wage to $15 would prevent her to hire more kids.