WESTPORT RTC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND PROMINENT OFFICIALS OPPOSE STATE SENATE BILL MANDATING FORCED
REGIONALIZATION OF SCHOOLS
WESTPORT – January 29, 2019 – The Westport RTC’s Executive Committee and prominent Westport Republican officials announced today their strong opposition to the CT State Senate’s bill 454, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney, Democrat from New Haven, which proposes the forced regionalization of school districts for towns with a population of less than 40,000. Westport currently has a population of approximately 28,000, and would therefore fall under the bill’s mandate.
“The achievement gap in the state of Connecticut is one of the worst in the country. This is an issue about which I care deeply,” said Westport Second Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker. “As such, I’ve spent much of my volunteer time on boards of various organizations across the state dedicated to closing this gap. State mandated regionalization of our schools for Westport and other towns is not a viable solution to this issue. Providing superior public education for our children has always been a clear priority for our community. Westporters demand accountability at a local level and would be frustrated by the addition of layers of regional bureaucracy. I believe this would be damaging to our town and our school system.”
Westport Board of Education member Vik Muktavaram stated, "No doubt there are serious issues of inequity of education in our state, and these issues must absolutely be addressed. However, regionalization will have the immediate impact of devastating Westport’s quality of education for which our town has come to be known. Addressing the fiscal crisis in the state should be the first priority to stop the loss of jobs and population from our state.”
“We are deeply concerned about new efforts by the Democrat Majority in Hartford to dictate how Westport educates our students,” declared Westport RTC Chairman Joe Sledge. “We firmly support efforts to improve education and reduce the achievement gap in our state, but we object to any bill that attempts to shift responsibility for years of failed management of our state budget onto our children and educators. There is no benefit to our children, our property values and our town’s fiscal health if this bill should become law. It is simply not designed to improve the quality of education in Westport. We urge our state legislators to reject this proposal.”
The Westport RTC will monitor this and other proposed legislation coming out of Hartford and will inform Westport’s citizens of their potential impact on our community. For more information, please visit us at www.westportrepublicans.com/.