TIMELINE

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    April 1989: Elizabeth Horton Sheff and other parents file the lawsuit against then-Governor William A. O’Neill, on behalf of their children.

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    July 1996: The State Supreme Court rules that the racial and socioeconomic isolation of Hartford school children violates the state constitution but sets no goal, remedy, or timetable to resolve the problem.

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    Spring 1997: The Legislature passes a 3-part response to the Sheff v. O’Neill decision, including: 1) a five-year state takeover of the struggling Hartford school system; 2) a major new commitment to early childhood education throughout the state; and 3) the basic structure of the current two-way, voluntary integration program, including a new regional magnet school system and an expanded interdistrict transfer program to be known as “Project Choice” and, eventually, “Open Choice.”

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    February 2003: The House of Representatives votes 87-60 to approve an out-of-court settlement in the Sheff v. O’Neill case, which includes plans for eight new integrated magnet schools in Hartford.

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    Early 2008: The state and plaintiffs agree to a new five-year “Phase 2” settlement that calls for expanded regional magnet schools and use of Project Choice to expand access to quality, integrated education.

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    April 2013: The parties adopt a one-year, court-ordered stipulation that gives the state an additional year to reach the 2012-13 goal that 41% of Hartford minority children be in “reduced isolation settings.”

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    Fall 2013: The state releases data showing positive achievement outcomes for Hartford students attending regional magnet schools and the Open Choice program. The 2012-13 integration goal of 41% is achieved.

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    December 2013: The parties announce a one-year “Phase 3” settlement, which increases the number of magnet school seats and seeks to expand Open Choice, while allocating funds to strengthen a Hartford neighborhood “lighthouse” school.

  • November 2014 (expected): Negotiations for a Phase 4 settlement are underway, with an agreement expected in November 2014.