Derby and Ansonia officials are scheduled to meet Thursday to talk about whether to combine the two school districts or consolidate some services.
“This is the second time we’re going to sit down and talk about whether there are any benefits to the school system by creating a regional school system,” Derby Superintendent Stephen Tracy said Tuesday.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday (March 8) in the Aldermanic Chambers on the second floor of Derby City Hall.
The Derby Board of Education recently adopted a strategic plan — a document that tries to map out where the school district is heading. The document is available on the school district’s website.
The plan calls for school officials to explore whether combining services would benefit students and taxpayers.
The issue is just a question at this point, Tracy pointed out — not an answer.
Answers to the question range from not doing anything to creating a regional school district with a new board of education from the two cities.
There are a multitude of options in between, too.
Perhaps just the high schools and middle schools would be combined — or just the high schools.
Or perhaps the districts will simply pool their resources to bring down costs for budget items such as transportation and food service.
“There could be a series of agreements like that where the school boards stay intact, but the districts combine in some ways. There is a lot to be sorted out,” Tracy said. “It’s very early.”
Even if every person in Ansonia and Derby threw their support behind the idea today, the process to combine would still take several years.
Officials from both cities have already discussed the issue with Ron Harris, an attorney with the state Board of Education who would orchestrate the initiative should the cities move forward, Tracy said.
Those attending the meeting Thursday include elected officials from both cities, including school board members and aldermen, along with Tracy and Ansonia Superintendent Carol Merlone.
Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri said he will be listening to what Tracy and Merlone have to say Thursday.
“There won’t be any decisions made,” Staffieri said. “We’re definitely looking into this to see what’s our best option.”
Merlone, the Ansonia superintendent, said the districts are already talking about centralizing their IT departments to get more bang for the buck.
She said the goal Thursday is to simply continue the conversation.
“We’re going to come together and put things on the table that might benefit each district or what might not benefit each district,” Merlone said.