Sheff v. O’Neill

Hartford Public Schools Braces for Impact of Sheff v. O'Neill Settlement

Hartford Public Schools is raising concerns about the recent settlement agreement in the school desegregation case of Sheff v. O’Neill.

In a virtual meeting on Wednesday, the superintendent said they agree with the goals and the spirit of the proposal, which could end decades of litigation.

Part of the plan is a promise to increase seats at magnet schools for Hartford students.

But Hartford Public Schools is worried about increasing inequity for students who stay in its schools.

“It’s going to hurt, right? To me, it’s how do we brace for the impact equitably,” said Pastor AJ Johnson, Hartford Board of Education member.

The Sheff v. O’Neill school desegregation case began in 1989 with a lawsuit that named then-Gov. William O’Neill in challenging the racial and economic segregation and inequalities between Hartford schools and those in its mostly white, more affluent suburbs.

As students and tuition funds leave, the district could also face losses of up to $44 million over a decade, worsening deficit projections and threatening its overall financial health.

The Sheff agreement announced last week still needs legislative approval.

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