Should Ansonia and Derby merge their school districts?
That’s the question a new group is looking into, as both cities look to improve education and save money.
Regionalization was an issue the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigated last month in their “At a Price” series.
From those against Ansonia and Derby merging their school districts to those more open to the idea, there’s a lot of talk about consolidation in this area.
“There’s a big rivalry between Ansonia and Derby. And I don’t think that it’s such a great idea,” said Lisa Lewis-Hoxha of Ansonia.
“Maybe they should help each other, maybe they could work out a deal with helping each other,” said Richard Tracy of Ansonia.
Even the Ansonia mayor is sporting a special hat with both cities represented.
"I'm very excited. It's something I've been looking forward to doing for a very long time," said Mayor David Cassetti of Ansonia.
On Wednesday, representatives from each community gathered for the first time to begin getting down to the details. Many see a possible merger as a way to meet current difficulties.
“Whenever you talk about declining enrollment and rising costs and special education costs you get to a spot where it’s difficult to provide the education you want to your students,” said Jim Gildea, committee co-chair from Derby.
In the past couple of months, Ansonia had found itself in the news battling over money and laying off staff. There is hope here that combining resources could improve education, including offering more AP courses, and save money for districts that are struggling right now.
“I think certainly there are some challenges that we face. I also believe we have a fabulous opportunity at the moment to possibly enhance curriculum,” said John Izzo, committee co-chair from Ansonia.
This new regional school committee is expected to hash out the idea over the next two years. Voters would still need to approve the merger before it could go forward.