Education A State Capitals Roundup

Conn. Desegregation Efforts Faulted for Lack of Progress

September 21, 2004 1 min read

The plaintiffs in Connecticut’s long-running Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case have gone back to court to prod state officials to put more effort into meeting the terms of a settlement reached last year.

Under the agreement approved by the two sides, Connecticut was to open two new magnet schools in the Hartford area each year between 2003 and 2007. Each new school was to serve about 600 students. The schools were intended to reduce racial and ethnic isolation in the 24,500-student Hartford district. (“Deal Announced to Desegregate Hartford Schools,” Jan 29, 2003.)

In a complaint filed Aug. 3 in state superior court, the plaintiffs say that although two new magnet schools opened in Hartford in the 2003-04 school year, one served 450 students and the other fewer than 100 students.

Connecticut Commissioner of Education Betty J. Sternberg agreed last week that the enrollment targets likely would not be met by 2007, but she predicted they could be by 2010. Helping in the expansion will be an $8.6 million federal grant that the Hartford district won this month to support magnet schools.

— Jeff Archer