New agreement reached in Hartford school desegregation case

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — An agreement reached Friday in a long-running school desegregation case in Connecticut's capital city will put the district on a path to ending 30 years of litigation, state officials said.

The settlement includes new measures to reach diversity goals and allows for judicial oversight to end once they are shown to produce opportunities in diverse school settings for all Hartford families.

"We are eager to do our part to shift the conversation from litigation to education,” Connecticut Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said.

The case began with a lawsuit challenging racial and economic segregation and inequalities between Hartford schools and suburban schools. In 1996, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled the extreme racial isolation of Hartford students violated the state constitution.

The state legislature created a network of magnet schools and school choice options to attract a mix of city and suburban children.

The new agreement calls for adding as many as 1,052 seats in magnet schools, with nearly 600 set aside for Hartford students, and dedicating more than $1 million to boost enrollment at certain magnet schools. The new agreement, the subject of a court hearing Friday, will last through June 2022.

Suburban districts that increase the number of open choice seats by 20% for Hartford students will also receive additional funding. There will also be corrective action plans for schools that do not meet diversity goals and a revised lottery system for magnet schools aimed at ensuring socioeconomic diversity.

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Chris Ehrmann is a corps member for Report for America, a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage, in a partnership with The Associated Press for Connecticut. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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