Hear thoughts on democracy; learn about proposed Open Choice program expansion

State Sen. Will Haskell (D-26) is holding an event to explain a bill he has proposed along with State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) and State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-24).

NORWALK, Conn. — Two online events that might interest you:

  • League’s annual meet and greet is Sunday, on Zoom
  • Haskell holds forum on Open Choice program

LVW online

A League of Women Voters of Norwalk flier.

Myrna Pérez, director of the Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program, will star at the League of Women Voters of Norwalk annual meet and greet, to be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, on Zoom.

“Making our Democracy Safe and Secure” is the theme of Pérez’ presentation, which will be followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is cosponsored by the Norwalk Public Library and is scheduled to go two hours.

The announcement states:

  • An expert on voting rights and election administration, she is the author of several nationally recognized reports and articles. Her work has been featured in media outlets across the country, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and MSNBC.
  • She has testified before Congress and several state legislatures on a variety of voting rights related issues. She is a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School and has also served as an adjunct professor of clinical law at NYU School of Law.”


You can register here.


Open Choice

State Sen. Will Haskell (D-26) is “hosting a live, virtual conversation this Monday to dig into the details of Open Choice,” a program that “allows suburban school districts with declining enrollment to voluntarily offer seats to students from overcrowded urban districts,” he said.

Haskell, State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-25) and State Sen. Julie Kushner (D-24) have cosponsored a bill that would expand the Open Choice program to include Norwalk and Danbury public schools.

Duff did not reply to several inquiries this week asking about the program.

  • The state of Connecticut covers the cost of transporting the students and provides a grant to the hosting district for each student. While Westport has accepted Open Choice students from Bridgeport for decades, the program is not currently available to students in the Danbury or Norwalk Public Schools,” Haskell said in an email blast.
  • This bill seeks to change that by allowing school districts in our area to welcome new students, thereby avoiding potential layoffs and budget cuts that spring from lessened student populations. I believe this program offers a mutually beneficial opportunity: cities lessen the impact of overcrowding, students have more options for a quality education, and suburban districts maintain consistent enrollment numbers while adding greater diversity to their classrooms.
  • To be clear, this legislation will not solve decades of economic and racial segregation in Connecticut. We must continue working to improve all school districts and guarantee every student is given an opportunity to succeed. This legislation is only one stitch on a band aid of an open wound.”


Haskell said he’ll be joined online by Wilton Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Smith and Redding-Easton Region 9 Superintendent Rydell Harrison. The event will be on Facebook. You can find Haskell’s page here.


Patricia Flynn February 1, 2021 at 7:40 pm

We asked if the Wilton school was willing to take children with no English; who would be decide if the child had special needs not met from an inner city. In other words, it can cost $60,000 to teach certain kids with a grant of $3,000 to $8,000 that really would not work. Can the City give you who they want once Wilton long-term decides to take 20 students? I guess we no longer have to move to escape certain problems; great.

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