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Lamont pitching his voluntary school consolidation bill

Governor Ned Lamont is pitching his proposal to share or consolidate more local school services and school districts to local town officials.  He met Tuesday in Weston with a group of Fairfield County leaders to discuss the legislation, which would create a new state commission charged with developing a plan for redistricting or consolidating services and districts.

The gathering was arranged by freshman Senator Will Haskell following a large rally over the weekend in Ridgefield against forced regionalization.

Lamont says his plan doesn't force any partnerships, but rather encourages and incentivizes municipalities to collaborate.  Lamont says he believes it's important to "lead with the carrot and not force peoples' hands" on such a sensitive issue as public schools.

The legislature's Education Committee will hear testimony Friday on Lamont's bill and other similar proposals, including one requiring districts with fewer than 2,000 students to join a new or existing regional district.  He tried to make a distinction between his proposal and ones from Senate President Martin Looney.  The other requires towns with less than 40,000 residents to combine school districts.

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