Questions & Answers
What are the purposes of the Open Choice program?
Open Choice is an interdistrict public school program intended to improve academic achievement; reduce racial, ethnic and economic isolation; and provide a choice of educational programs for public school students.
How does the Open Choice program operate?
The Open Choice program allows urban students to attend public schools in nearby suburban towns. It also allows suburban and rural students to attend public schools in a nearby urban center. Enrollments are offered by school districts on a space-available basis. Lotteries are used to place students when there are more applicants than spaces available. The program includes Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and their surrounding school districts.
Who is eligible to attend?
For the 2014-15 school year, participation is open on an equal basis to all students, including students with disabilities, attending public schools in Hartford, Bridgeport, New Haven and their surrounding districts. Interested parents should contact the regional educational service center serving their region for the latest information.
Who pays for this program? Will the parent have to pay tuition for the student?
The state pays a grant of $3,000 per student enrolled if the number of Open Choice students is less than 2 percent of the total population of the receiving district; $4,000 per student enrolled if the number of Open Choice students is greater than or equal to 2 percent but less than 3 percent of the total population of the receiving district; or $6,000 per student enrolled if the number of Open Choice students is greater than or equal to 3 percent but less than 4 percent of the total population of the receiving district; $6,000 per student if enrollment is greater than 4,000 students and the number of students in the program increased by 50 percent; and $8,000 per student enrolled if the number of Open Choice students is greater than or equal to 4 percent of the total student population of the receiving district. There is no cost to parents.
How will my child get to school?
Transportation costs are paid by the state. Arrangements are made by the regional educational service center serving the area. This also applies to students with disabilities unless transportation is considered a related service and is required by the student's individualized education program (IEP).
Does the program provide for the needs of special education students?
Yes. A portion of extra costs is paid by the receiving district and the remainder is paid by the district where the student lives. The responsibility for holding planning and placement team (PPT) meetings and developing an IEP belongs to the receiving district. For more information, contact the Bureau of Special Education via telephone at 860-713-6910 or visit the Web site Staff Directory.
Whom do I contact to enroll my child in this program?
Call the regional educational service center nearest your home or closest to the largest city in your region for information about the status of the program in your region and an application packet. For general questions, contact the State Department of Education, Bureau of Choice Programs, at 860-713-6561.
If you are a parent/guardian or student in the greater Hartford region and wish to obtain information about an application for Open Choice, interdistrict magnet schools, technical high schools, or regional agriculture science centers, please contact the Regional School Choice Office (RSCO) at 860-713-6990 or visit its Web site. You may also obtain a paper application from the Regional School Choice Office Parent Information Center at 165 Capitol Avenue, Room 360, Hartford, CT, on weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.