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New Negotiations In Sheff vs. O’Neill
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Plaintiffs in the long-running Sheff vs. O’Neill case are once again negotiating with Connecticut officials on ways to reduce the racial isolation of Hartford’s schoolchildren.

The Sheff case returned to Hartford Superior Court last November, after the General Assembly failed to ratify a settlement agreement between the plaintiffs and the state. In January, the judge sent the agreement back before the legislature…and it was set to take effect on Thursday. But the agreement was withdrawn…Representative Andy Fleischmann, House Chairman of the Education Committee says the two sides will work out updated timetables…The discussions may also look at new ways to achieve desegregation goals, including an expansion of the Open Choice program, which offers seats in traditional public schools to students outside the district.

"We haven’t done it with preschool before, and I think we’re going to be trying to do that now and then have those children who are involved in preschool Open Choice moving up through the grades in the districts where they participate."

Fleischman says there may be a greater emphasis on interdistrict magnet schools based in the suburbs, and vocational technical schools may now be included in the desegregation efforts.