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EdAdvance and CABE Co-Sponsor 2018 Regional Leadership-Legislative Forums

January 29th, 2018

EdAdvance, the Regional Educational Service Center (RESC) in western Connecticut, partnered with the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) to facilitate two Regional Leadership-Legislative Forums in January.  The first forum was held on January 10th at EdAdvance’s Litchfield office and the second forum was held on January 16th at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

As noted by Dr. Jeffrey Kitching, EdAdvance’s Executive Director, “The timing for these forums was intentional, as the upcoming session of the Connecticut General Assembly provides new opportunities for the legislature to address the many financial challenges, statutory changes, and unfunded or underfunded  mandates impacting school districts in our region.  These forums produced a prioritized listing of key policy issues of regional significance, which will promote unified dialog with our state senators and representatives throughout the legislative session. “

To assist in the identification of priorities, regional leaders participated in an online interactive survey tool, called Thoughtexchange, in advance of these sessions.  This tool permits individuals to share their ideas anonymously and then have the opportunity to rate all of the ideas generated using a starring system.

Using Thoughtexchange, Forum participants were invited to respond to this open-ended question:

To assist Connecticut public schools, the most important thing the Legislature should immediately change, stop, or start doing is…

Over 60 regional leaders were in attendance at the Forums, including state legislators, school district superintendents and other key administrators, Board of Education leaders, and the executive teams from CABE Regions 1 and 5 and EdAdvance.  Participants actively engaged in constructive discussions focused on the following priorities generated in Thoughtexchange:

  • Restore full reimbursement for Special Education, under the State’s Excess Cost Grant.
  • The Burden of Proof requirement for due process hearings should be placed on the party bringing the complaint.
  • Develop an ECS formula that is fair, predictable, and considerate of taxpayers.
  • Establish a process for more rigorous need, benefit, and cost analyses for any proposed education legislation before moving forward for vote.
  • Establish a moratorium period prior to implementation of any new education-related legislation to permit adequate time for thorough review and comment on the impact.
  • Legislate to allow for flexibility and exemptions if districts can demonstrate they have viable solutions to education issues.

The following legislators were in attendance at the forums:  Representatives Eric Bertel, Mitch Bolinsky, Jay Case, Michelle Cook, Brian Ohler, Rosa Rebimbas, J.P. Sredzinski, and David Wilson;  as well as Senator Henri Martin and Senator Craig Miner.  Their participation is most appreciated and provided valuable information and insights during the sessions.

(Left to right) Dr. Lorrie Rodrigue, Interim Superintendent, Newtown Public Schools, Representative Mitch Bolinsky, Representative J.P. Sredzinski, and Michelle Ku, Newtown BOE and CABE Area 5 Co-Director at the Forum held at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.


State Representative Michelle Cook provides remarks at the Forum held in Litchfield.



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