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State To Hold Second School Choice Lottery

More Than 500 Magnet School Seats Offered In Greater Hartford

By VANESSA DE LA TORRE

May 09, 2012

HARTFORD The state will hold a second school choice lottery to fill more than 500 magnet school seats in Greater Hartford to help meet mandates under the Sheff v. O'Neill desegregation agreement.

May 25 is the deadline for families to submit an application to the state Regional School Choice Office for schools in Bloomfield, East Hartford, Enfield, Hartford and Manchester. State education officials said that recently approved magnet programs for 2012-13 created many of the slots.

Roughly 450 seats for suburban and city students have been set aside for new Capitol Region Education Council programs: the Two Rivers Magnet High School, which will open with a ninth grade, and the expansion of the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, currently an interdistrict magnet high school in Hartford, into the elementary and middle school grades.

In East Hartford, CREC's existing Two Rivers Magnet Middle School is looking for Hartford students to take sixth-grade seats that weren't filled in the initial spring lottery. So is the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Bloomfield and the Public Safety Academy in Enfield.

Ninth-grade seats for city and suburban students are being offered at Hartford's Kinsella Magnet School of the Performing Arts, which is currently a middle school, and at the grades 10-12 Great Path Academy at Manchester Community College, where officials want to add a freshman class of 80.

But plans to bring 60 suburban students to a Hartford neighborhood school hit a hurdle in the legislature. The state sought to pilot an "innovation school" program that would add those seats to Betances Early Reading Lab School next academic year.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's original education reform proposal included grant money for the pilot that would have meant at least $250,000 for the Hartford school system, but the funding was missing from the final bill approved by the House of Representatives Tuesday night.

Kathy Demsey, an education consultant for the state Department of Education's Sheff Office, said Wednesday that the state will ask Hartford to consider a traditional magnet model for the pre-K to Grade 3 Betances.

The city board of education last week already authorized 100 fourth-grade seats split evenly among city and suburban students to be temporarily housed at Betances in 2012-13 as the start of a new grade 4-8 Hartford magnet school that will be affiliated with the Connecticut Science Center and modeled after the high-achieving Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School.

The second choice lottery also advertises roughly 50 suburban seats for a Breakthrough II Magnet School in Hartford. Breakthrough II is currently a neighborhood elementary school, and city schools spokesman David Medina said that the conversion to a magnet program will soon be presented to the school board for approval.

Applications are available at http://www.choiceeducation.org or at the Regional School Choice Office, 165 Capitol Ave., Room 270, in Hartford.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
     
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