March 25, 2019

LOL Schools Superintendent Strongly Opposes Proposed Forced Regionalization of CT Schools

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser

Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser has issued a statement strongly opposing the proposed state legislation that would force regionalization of school districts with less than 2,000 students into much larger districts.

Tomorrow, Friday, March 1, at 1 p.m. in Room 2E of the Legislative Office Building, the Education Committee will be holding a public hearing on the proposals. This legislation affects Lyme-Old Lyme Schools because even though Lyme and Old Lyme are already regionalized into Regional District 18, the total number of students in the district is significantly less than 2,000, which is proposed as the minimum size (number of students) of any school district.

Full details of the hearing and how to submit testimony either in writing or in person are in our article at this link and have also been published on the LOL Schools Facebook page.

Neviaser’s statement was sent to the entire staff of LOL Schools; the LOL Schools Board of Education, all state representatives and senators whose districts include Lyme and/or Old Lyme. He opens by saying, “The Governor’s proposal to regionalize school districts will have a significant negative impact on the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools. Besides the fact that the proposal suggests splitting our outstanding district in two, the idea that it will somehow save money has no merit. Other states that function with large county school systems, such as is proposed, end up with enormous districts that actually cost the taxpayer more money due to the sheer size of the organizations and the numerous layers of bureaucracy that are required to run them.”

He stresses, “Of greatest concern is the idea that we will lose our small local schools which are vitally important to the success of our students. Students could be forced to endure lengthy bus rides, attend massive schools where they lose personal connection with their teachers, and our communities will no longer have the ability to manage the education of our children. Districts across the state, ours included, already engage in regional services that save money.” Neviaser attached a detailed summary of services that are already regionalized, which we have published in its entirety at the foot of this article.

Continuing, “To force this upon our schools based on arbitrary enrollment and population numbers is foolish and short-sighted, Neviaser clarifies, ” We are not opposed to the idea of regionalizing services, and in fact do so in many areas, but are opposed to the idea of the state mandating this with no data to support their actions.”

Neviaser points out, “As Representative [Devin] Carney [R-23rd] notes, “Forced regionalization could also harm our property values and quality of life,”” and adds, “Many of our residents have chosen to move to our towns because of their small size. The Governor’s proposal stands in contrast to the desire of those residents to live in a community that has that “small-town America” feel. The idea of local control is a concept that is rooted in our New England heritage.”

Neviaser concludes, “Please make sure your voice is heard to ensure that decisions involving education services are made at the local level.”

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Summary of Survey Results Regarding Regionalism in Southeastern CT and the Shoreline

DRAFT 02 25 2019

In a recent voluntary survey of LEARN area school districts, 12 of 21 districts reported the following shared services, programs, and cooperative regional efforts:

  • Shared Business Operations  and Facilities (9 of 12)

These operations represent a broad range of services, including but not limited to:

Food service cooperative purchasing (electricity, school supplies, oil, building management systems, and energy efficiency), workers’ compensation, financial software, a finance director, liability insurance, medical benefits.  Six entities share a health cooperative, ECHMC.

These cooperative efforts include partnerships between school districts and their local municipalities, between school districts, and with regional educational service centers.

School districts also cooperate with their municipalities on their facilities.  For example, sharing with their town for snow removal and sanding of lots, fields and campus upkeep, emergency management drills, and the use of schools as evacuation sites.  School districts also cooperate with community organizations, sharing with parks and recreation and other town organizations, classroom exchanges and before and after school programs.

  • Transportation (8/12)

School districts cooperate between and among themselves to provide regional transportation to reduce costs and address specific needs.  Multiple districts report ride sharing for special education transportation to similar special education sites. School districts also share transportation for some magnet school routes, as well as to technical schools and vocational agricultural schools.  Clubs and athletics were also noted as a place where transportation has been shared. 

At LEARN, fourteen of our member towns use our hub system for transporting students to LEARN magnet schools.

  • Human Resources (7/12)

More than ½ of the districts report sharing human resources, that is a position that is shared between two school districts.  Specifically, cafeteria management director, teacher of the blind, social worker, BCBA, English language learner teacher.  Several report sharing positions with their municipalities including Finance Director, Department Facilities Manager, Human Resources, Grounds management, Information Technology, school resource officers, and school to work coordinators.

  • Special Education (3/12) 

A number of school districts share special education services, such as a regional parent night, the STRIVE program—between three school districts. 

Several districts also report shared transitions services 18-21 and mandated services. 

At LEARN, our regional educational service center, 16 school districts utilize our out-placement programs for students with autism and complex highly specialized needs.  Every district in LEARN’s member area use some Student Support Services, such as related services, BCBA services, instructional support staffing, Extended School Year, consultations services and technical assistance, and professional learning opportunities for educators among others. 

  • Professional Development (10/12)

The large majority of reporting school districts indicate the use of regional professional development opportunities.  The majority of all LEARN area school districts participate in regional professional development opportunities, either with LEARN, with our sister RESCs, and/or providing opportunities between and among each other based on needs and interests.  For example, districts report sharing professional learning in a five district consortium, a four district one including a charter school, across all LEARN districts for regional professional development days and regional offerings at LEARN, to name a few. All LEARN districts report participating in LEARN roundtables, networks and communities of practice. 

All LEARN districts participate in establishing a voluntary regional calendar that establishes regional professional development days that are in common.   This regional planning has promoted professional learning communities across a wide array of disciplines to help educators refine their skills.

  • Technology (3/12)

School districts cooperate with their municipalities as well as other towns regarding technology. Specifically, districts report shared efforts in network management, security cameras and ID’s and purchasing software. They also report sharing technology staff (such as network management and data management technician).

  • Other Educational Programming (6/12)

At least half of the reporting districts shared a broad array of educational programs.  These include areas such as alternative education—small school co-funded with another district, extended school year with another district, diversity training—student leadership with two other school districts, athletics—cooperative teams (gymnastics, girls swimming, boys swimming, ice hockey).  Three districts have a six team hockey cooperative,  among others. There are shared expulsion programs across two towns.  There are shared extended school year services and social skills programs.  One district also reported cooperation with community partners for a summer feeding program, benefiting a 9-town area. 

There are also grant funded opportunities across school districts lines, such as inter-district grants, Title III and Perkins with LEARN, and shared federal funding for intra and inter-district magnet schools.  Sixteen Districts cooperatively purchase on line learning for students through LEARN.

The Military Superintendents Liaison committee (MLSC). MSLC is a partnership between the Naval Submarine Base, the US Coast Guard Academy, the National Guard, and local school districts in New London County. It works together for the improvement of transition, as well as academic and school experiences for military and highly mobile students. This leadership group has influenced policies and established practices to support military families.

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Comments

  1. http://Dana says

    I would also note that there is sharing of Continuing Education programs now run through the New London Adult Education program. These education and enrichment opportunities had previously been funded and provided within the Lyme/Old Lyme region.

  2. http://Anonymous says

    Actually today was the first I’ve heard directly from our school disctrct in regards to this matter, which began weeks ago. In fact, the email came at 1:30pm and all emailed testimonies were due by 3:30pm. Seeing as our district not only faces being merged with several others, but also faces being split up, I would expect far more from our superintendent and school board. I’m extremely disappointed.

  3. http://janet says

    It is in the interest of the realty companies in our town to organize statewise efforts for towns to opt-out of regionalization if they can demonstrate the ability to fund themselves. Property values reflect the quality of local education.

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