New School Regionalization Plan Approved in Litchfield Hills

The new regionalization already has the state’s approval and now a two-year development plan begins with the aim to start for the 2024 school year.

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People in several towns in the Litchfield Hills appear to have approved a plan to create a new school district.

Region 20 would merge Litchfield and the communities that make up Region 6: Goshen, Morris and Warren.

According to school superintendent Chris Leone, the results of the referendum on Tuesday are:

MorrisYES - 283 (55%)
No - 228 (45%)
GoshenYES - 500 (64%)
No - 283 (36%)
WarrenYES - 231 (61%)
No - 146 (39%)
LitchfieldYES - 1,378 (78%)
No - 392 (22%)

“I think it’s a real good idea,” said Don Murelli of Litchfield.

“Coming off two difficult years that were hard for teachers and students, I really don’t think this is the time for another really big transition,” said Tiffany Parkhouse of Warren.

Students would head to a regional middle school at the current Litchfield Middle and High. Region 20’s high school would open at Wamogo Regional High School and elementary schools would stay the same.

“I think it’s a great thing merging two different cultures. It will promote more diversity,” said Amanda Glover of Litchfield.

Supporters have been working on the plan for years amid declining enrollment, now at about 1,700 students for the combined districts.

They say the benefits include more course offerings, more athletic opportunities, a better social experience and improved after-school activities.

“Pooling the resources just makes sense to me,” said Marty Carlson of Warren.

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Those in opposition have concerns including the potential effects on students and teachers, questions about budgeting and how some communities might have less of a voice in the new system.

“This particular plan is flawed and I think we can do better. And so I can not get behind the plan that they’ve put forward to merge,” Parkhouse said.

The proposal breaks down how each town would be represented on the new Board, which requires at least one member from each town to approve an action.

There are also possibly a couple million dollars in savings over current budgets.

“I just think it’s going to save taxpayers a lot of money in the end,” said Kyle Murphy of Litchfield.

This new Region 20 already has the state’s approval and now a two-year development plan begins with the aim to start for the 2024 school year.

There is a small reduction in staff which is expected to be met mostly through retirements.

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