As a retired teacher with 35 years experience, I know how much students benefit from teachers, parents and a community who are all engaged in educating our children. I am distressed to hear some candidates for state office promoting fear that the state wants to take over the role of locally-elected Boards of Education or plans to regionalize schools. In reality, state support for our schools has never been stronger, including robustly responding to the significant challenges of the pandemic and its aftermath. Our state representative, Aimee Berger-Girvalo is laser-focused on Ridgefield schools and is supporting important legislation to fund increased mental health services, teacher professional development and critical grants to upgrade schools' HVAC systems. These state initiatives allow our schools to focus on providing top-level education through collaboration among Ridgefield’s Board of Education, educators, parents, and the community. Supportive state involvement is instrumental in keeping our schools vibrant and evolving. Don't believe fear-based rumors — the truth is that Aimee Berger-Girvalo is Ridgefield's champion in Hartford, and I'm proud to support her re-election on Nov. 8.