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Bill proposed that would allow regional cooperation on schools without mandate

HARTFORD — The future of Connecticut schools continues to be a hot topic this year. So far, three bills have been introduced proposing some form of regionalizing school districts .

Now another proposal is aiming to allow for regional cooperation between school districts without the mandates.

“What is the best way for them to actually educate their kids, meet their requirements, save money, deliver better serves and remain accountable to their local communities,” Senator Norm Needleman said.

During a news conference Tuesday, Needleman said that can be done by loosening regulations of what defines a school district and allow for towns to do it on their own without the mandates

Right now state law recognizes two types of Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

A school district managed by a municipality or regional district with two or more towns.

Needleman is proposing allowing for boards of education in multiple town to consolidate school activities under a Cooperative Agreement and have that agreement recognized as an LEA.

The towns of Chester, Essex, Deep River and Region 4 already act as one district and school leaders there say the change would make it easier to share resources.

“The more we are sharing the more complicated it gets. So right now essentially we have five boards of education for three towns for 33 board members and we think there is a better way for school districts to be able to cooperatively together without having to force anything,” chairman of the Essex Board of Education Lon Seidman said.

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