Will Haskell and Stephanie Thomas–Standing Against School Regionalization and for Local Control

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LETTER [Sponsored]: Will Haskell and Stephanie Thomas–Standing Against School Regionalization and for Local Control

Senator Will Haskell and House candidate Stephanie Thomas are absolutely clear that they oppose school regionalization, through their statements and through their actions. They were strong in these views when the discussion was active last year, and they remain so today even though regionalization is no longer on the table.

Kim HealyPatrizia Zucaro, and their Republican surrogates have been misrepresenting the history and current status of school regionalization for their perceived political advantage. It is worth correcting those misrepresentations, worth celebrating the bi-partisan successes that have already been achieved, and worth reasserting our Democratic commitment to local control of the classroom.

Senator Will Haskell (D) was the first legislator to publicly oppose the regionalization bills on either side of the aisle last year. He advocated strongly and effectively to move his fellow Senators and was a constant voice for Wilton with legislative leaders and the Governor. Senator Haskell was the senior legislator in a broad, bipartisan effort that included Wilton’s Republican State Representative, Wilton’s Democratic Town Committee, and Wilton’s Republican Town Committee. Their bipartisan effort was powered by a flood of letters and in-person testimony from local Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters. Senator Haskell’s aggressive action and strong voice in Hartford, together with the efforts of all these others, was hugely successful–the bills were defeated without even coming up for vote.

Senator Haskell and Ms. Thomas are strong advocates for local control of local matters. They stand equally ready to support local control of zoning, but there are no such bills in front of the legislature. Some suggestions make good sense, such as enhanced training for P&Z commissioners, but other suggestions go too far and would dilute local control over essential zoning matters. The vast majority agree with the goal of increasing the choice of housing types, and Wilton is moving thoughtfully in that direction.

Politically-inspired misrepresentation and drumbeating about old issues by Republican candidates is creating unwarranted fear, perhaps intentionally. Those misrepresentations get in the way of thoughtful proposals that could enhance education and housing choices across our state. And those misrepresentations get in the way of finding options that could better Connecticut and even save money for Wilton taxpayers.

Both Senator Haskell and Ms. Thomas are and remain strongly opposed to school regionalization, and they support local control of zoning. They say so in public, they say so whenever asked, and their actions speak for themselves.

Tom Dubin
Chair, Wilton Democratic Town Committee

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