Tesoro reassured after Lamont school regionalization meeting

First Selectman Vicki Tesoro
First Selectman Vicki Tesoro

Despite some spirited back-and-forth exchanges, First Selectman Vicki Tesoro said she came away from a recent meeting with Gov. Ned Lamont feeling positive about what she heard.

“The first step in anything is to communicate, and we did that, including some really pointed exchanges,” Tesoro said. “But he was absolutely listening, and receptive to ideas.”
Tesoro was one of about a dozen municipal leaders to meet with Lamont earlier this week in Weston. The meeting was primarily about state proposals to regionalize school districts, but the conversation also veered into topics like a proposal to move teacher pension liabilities to the towns and a plan to cut state education funding to dozens of towns, including Trumbull.
Lamont told the municipal leaders that he did not intend to force communities into school regionalization. Instead, he planned to offer incentives for smaller school districts to combine.
Tesoro had previously written to Trumbull’s delegation in the General Assembly about her concern that towns like Trumbull would be forced into regional districts.
“While the concept may have some benefit in the areas of purchasing and energy, it makes little sense to compel districts to give up their autonomy in the areas of education that impact instruction and
curriculum,” she wrote. “In Trumbull, our school system is critical to our identity as a community. Our investment in education is one that our community embraces and the success of our students is a matter of civic pride. Our strong school system supports our property values and attracts new residents
to our community, bringing to us a steady stream of new ideas and energy.”
Tesoro said voluntary regionalization was something she could support.
“The better course of action is encouraging communities to voluntarily join forces to control costs in non-instructional areas. There already exist regional schools in Connecticut and those were accomplished without forcing those communities to do so.”