Sources tell CT Chronicle that Sen. Mae Flexer (D-Killingly) has quashed a bill that would do away with the Board of Regents for Higher Education during the screening process of the Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee. Flexer is the Vice-chair of the committee and is tasked with reviewing bills brought before the committee.
The Bill in question sought to eliminate the Board of Regents. By removing this bill from consideration, Flexer has eliminated the possibility for debate and public comment on the proposed school closings.
The Board of Regents has been seeking a consolidation of the State’s universities, colleges and community colleges for several years. The Board recently submitted a proposal to close two unnamed schools in the system which Flexer fought via an amendment to legislation last year, an election year.
The Board of Regents was an agency created by former Governor Dan Malloy in 2011. The body serves to oversee over 80,000 students in the system and has been plagued by problems. The board has had five presidents in its short seven-year existence and is currently being led by former Malloy Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian. The Board has spent over $250,000,000.00 since its creation.
In 2018 Flexer, Rep. Pat Boyd (D-Pomfret) and Rep. Gregory Haddad (D-Mansfield) submitted a Strike Amendment to legislation that would give control to school closings back to the legislature. As the legislation was submitted on the last day of the 2018 session, some have labeled the move as an election year ploy for the legislators that represent districts with some of the largest concentrations of schools in the state.
Flexer has told representatives of Quinebaug Valley Community College she would fight to keep the school open. By removing the proposed legislation to eliminate the Board of Regents Flexer has raised concerns among school administrators that the threat of closing the institution is still on the table.
We will be following up on this story with reaction from Flexer and school officials.