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Letter: Former Amity Board Member Opposes Proposed Redistricting Bills

I am in opposition to both proposed Senate Bills 457 and 454 regarding forced consolidation of smaller school districts.  These proposals would tear apart the Amity Regional School District #5 and eliminate Town control over the Bethany, Woodbridge and Orange elementary schools.  Both Bills are detrimental to the exceptional school results currently experienced by our children.  Call your representative and state senator in Hartford immediately to express your concerns over loss of local control of our education system.

As past Board Chair of the Amity Region 5 District with over 131/2 years of experience with the Amity District, I can tell you first hand that Amity #5 Regional schools and the Town elementary schools aren’t broken and do not need the benevolence of the state government to help us make things “better”.

From time to time we have discussed as Towns and the Regional District the possibility of regionalizing our entire K-12 system and many cost savings might be possible, but that should be a local decision of the Towns, not forced upon us from on high.  If Senate Bill 454 passes through the legislature we may have to seriously reconsider adding the elementary schools to the Amity Region 5 District as there is an exemption for regionalized K-12 Districts from this nightmare of a bill and doing so would save the Amity District from ceasing to exist and our elementary schools dispersed to other new regional districts.  I suggest our Town Fathers work on a “just in case” committee to implement this escape clause as Town votes would have to approve this change to the Regional District’s structure and significant planning is required.

From Proposed Senate Bill 454:

“That part III of chapter 164 be amended to create a commission                           1

responsible for developing a plan to implement regional consolidation                  2

of school districts, and that such plan shall (1) realign those school                        3

districts with a total student population of fewer than forty thousand                      4

students, except those regional school districts that provide instruction           5

for grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, in manner similar to the                 6

probate districts set forth in section 45a-2 of the general statutes, and                    7

require such school districts to join a regional school district,…”

Senate Bill 457 could result in schools outside BOW being forced into our Regional District.  These bills are currently being reviewed in education committees in the legislature.

Sincerely:

Thomas P. Hurley
Former Amity Region 5 Board Chair

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