Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



May 22, 2019

Senate Approves Education Legislation Integrating Key School Cooperation Proposal From Senator Needleman

HARTFORD, CT – This week, the Senate approved legislation revising and adding to the state’s education statutes, among them being key proposals introduced by State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex). These changes include studying the viability of encouraging regional cooperation statewide instead of mandating any action or change on behalf of the state.

Among the changes made by Senate Bill No. 1069, “An Act Concerning Various Revisions and Additions to the Education Statutes,” include those adapted from proposed legislation introduced by Sen. Needleman earlier this year. The Department of Education would be allowed to study the effects of towns working as Local Education Agencies, which would allow voluntary regional cooperation and maximizing efficiencies and cost savings without any mandates from the state toward regionalization.

“This legislation was designed to reduce the red tape we see in current school systems, and is intended to allow schools to cooperate on their own voluntary terms instead of any mandates or required work imposed by the state,” said Sen. Needleman. “I have firsthand experience, working as first selectman of a town in a regional school district, that schools can work together effectively. I also know there are unnecessary standards and rules in place that prevent them from doing just that. By opening state law up and allowing increased creativity among our school districts, we can help our state’s educators find new and more efficient standards on their own terms.”

This effort is the result of hard work from Sen. Needleman and colleagues pushing against mandated school regionalization efforts, as they know educators know how to best assist their students. Sen. Needleman and officials from East Haddam, Chester, Deep River, Essex, Clinton, Portland and the Region 4 School District supported the shift from mandating change to supporting collaboration. The Connecticut Association Board of Education also supported their efforts.