Lamont education ideas may include small school district consolidation
BRIDGEPORT — Short term, the Lamont Administration should launch a quality rating system for preschools, improve the delivery of so-called STEM instruction, and launch low-cost loan and scholarship program tied to science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Long-term recommendations range from committing to funding the state’s Education Cost Sharing Grant at statutory levels to establishing a minimum school district size, which over time would require small school districts to consolidate or share resources.
The list of suggestions unveiled Tuesday by an Education Policy Transition Committee in a third floor open classroom space at the Fairchild Wheeler Interdistrict Campus, took up several pages.
Lt. Gov.-Elect Susan Bysiewicz sat in the front row of the presentation said the focus once Lamont takes office next month will be to do as many things as they can within existing resources.
“It is all about incentives, to make the cost of education and government more affordable,” Bysiewicz said after the morning session attended by members of the committee, local lawmakers and others.
Lamont and Bysiewicz have 15 transition policy committees —from women’s issue to public safety in all who have been reporting out this week on their work. The ideas will be used to formulate Lamont’s legislative agenda which is to be announced on Jan. 9, 2018.
Education, Bysiewicz said, is a top priority because it it key to improving the economy and bringing more jobs to the state.
Although many of the suggestions to come out of the education committee are not new, Bysiewicz said it is all about having the leadership to make them happen.
There are suggestions to create more “grow your own” programs that encourage school aides to become certified teachers in urban districts and making sure federal money is not left on the table when it comes to grant programs and student loans.
“I thought some of the ideas were brilliant,” Bysiewicz said.
The 18-member education committee, which has been meeting since Thanksgiving, was chaired by Yvette Melendez and Fran Rabinowitz. Rabinowitz, a former interim superintendent of schools in Bridgeport who is now director of the Connecticut Associations of Public School Superintendents.