EDITORIAL: Should Cheshire’s superintendent of schools be required to live in town?

EDITORIAL: Should Cheshire’s superintendent of schools be required to live in town?


The next time Cheshire hires a school superintendent, that person may be required to reside in town.

The Charter Revision Commission decided at its final meeting, on Wednesday, Aug. 16, to maintain — and strengthen — the town’s residency requirement for the position of school superintendent. However, the commission ruled that current school head Jeff Solan, who doesn’t live in Cheshire, should get a pass.

The commission voted 9-1 to keep the residency requirement and to amend it so as not to apply to the incumbent superintendent, who lives in Southington.

The commission’s vote followed a session with the Town Council, which asked the group to reconsider the residency requirement.

Charter Revision Commission members pointed out that the town has always had a school superintendent residency requirement, but it allowed for a waiver by the Board of Education. Also, commission members blamed the board for not taking the charter residency requirement seriously.

The charter changes voted on last week would limit the Board of Education waiver.

Kim Cangiano, a commission member, said it’s important for top town employees to live in Cheshire. “When you are invested, it just means something more,” she said.

“I feel the Board of Education dropped the ball here,” Cangiano said. “I don’t think that Jeff (Solan) should have to bear the brunt of that not being mentioned to him in the first place.”

We commend the commission for grandfathering in Solan. He took the Cheshire job not expecting to uproot his family.

But the commission’s move to strictly maintain the residency requirement is a questionable one. These days it’s not unusual for a superintendent to head two or three school systems during their career. It’s asking a lot of these people to move each time they take a new job.

Highly qualified superintendent candidates may bypass Cheshire because of the residency requirement, and that would be a loss to local students.

That said, Cheshire’s Charter Revision Commission was tasked with making decisions such as this, and the group decided this is the route the town should go.

Now, Cheshire voters will decide if they agree.

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