SDE: Policies and Procedures Connecticut State Department of Education SDE: Policies and Procedures
Regional School Choice Office

Policies and Procedures


{Regional School Choice logo} Connecticut’s State Department of Education (CSDE) created the Greater Hartford Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) in partnership with operator districts to conduct the Open Choice and magnet school lottery process in response to the Sheff v. O’Neil case (Milo Sheff, et al. v. William O’Neill, et al) and the decision in 1997. RSCO supports the lottery and assists families interested in learning about how to apply for RSCO magnet schools and programs.

The RSCO lottery offers Hartford and suburban students an opportunity to apply to high-quality public schools of choice. The RSCO lottery application includes approximately 45 interdistrict magnet schools with specialized themes.

The Hartford Region Open Choice program offers an additional option. Hartford and suburban students apply to attend a non-magnet public school outside of their hometown. Once enrolled, students may attend school in their Open Choice district through high school graduation.

How To

Information on the Lottery Process

The Placement/Waitlist Process All eligible, on-time applicants are either offered a placement or placed on a waitlist for RSCO schools and programs through a random lottery process. The largest numbers of available seats are in entry/transition grades, particularly prekindergarten, kindergarten, grade 6, and grade 9.

For Hartford residents, neighborhood and zone preferences are given to elementary school applicants. For non-Hartford residents, preference is given to applicants living in towns with a lower participation rate in school choice options. Sibling and staff preferences are also given to applicants in some schools.

An applicant who applies to Open Choice and a magnet school(s) and receives a placement offer for either program will be removed from all other waitlists, and will not receive another placement offer in that lottery cycle.

Applicants are notified by email and phone after the RSCO lottery has been conducted.

To accept a placement, parents/guardians must respond to RSCO online by the due date specified in the notification.

To have your child remain on a waitlist, parents/guardians should respond to RSCO online by the due date specified.

RSCO waitlist positions do not carry over from previous lotteries. Those who wish to participate in subsequent lotteries must submit a new application for each child.

Eligibility and Admissions

Connecticut resident students eligible to attend a public school may apply to the RSCO lottery.

Interdistrict Magnet Schools: Interdistrict magnet schools offer opportunities for PK3 (children who will be 3 years old by December 31 of the school year for which parent/guardian applies) through grade 12. Many schools and programs have before and after school care available. Please check with schools that interest you regarding extended day and extended year opportunities.

Hartford Region Open Choice Program: The Hartford Region Open Choice Program is an option for children entering PK4 (children who will be 4 years old by December 31 of the school year for which parent/guardian applies) through grade 10 (for Hartford residents) or grade 12 (for non-Hartford residents). 

Hartford students may apply to attend a suburban, non-magnet public school.  Suburban students may apply to attend a Hartford public school.

What's Next


RSCO 2018-19 Catalog

RSCO 2018-19 Catalog En Español


School choice legislation


Parent Information Center
Connecticut State Department of Education
Regional School Choice Office (RSCO)
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite P28
Hartford, CT 06103-1841
Phone: 860-713-6990


Content Last Modified on 10/19/2017 1:07:23 PM