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State Senator

Doug McCrory

Representing Hartford, Bloomfield & Windsor

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Sen. McCrory Leads Senate Passage of Updated Open Choice Program Bill

Creation of ‘education advocates’ will help ease transition for students

McCrory

HARTFORD – State Senator Doug McCrory (D-Hartford) today led unanimous and bipartisan Senate passage of a bill designed to update Connecticut’s historic and successful Open Choice program to include the creation of ‘education advocates’ in certain schools to help students (and their parents) who may be facing a difficult transition in their new school district.

Senate Bill 1017 passed on unanimous “consent” after a brief debate and now heads to the House for consideration. The bill had previously passed the Education Committee – which Sen. McCrory chairs – on a unanimous basis.

The bill seeks to use any unspent funds in the Open Choice program at the end of the fiscal year to provide grants to regional education service centers to hire education advocates who will provide academic, social, and other supports to students in the Open Choice program. Connecticut’s Open Choice program, which is more than half a century old, allows urban students to attend public schools in nearby suburban towns, and suburban and rural students to attend public schools in a nearby urban center. Enrollments are offered by school districts on a space-available basis in grades K-12, and lotteries are used to place students when there are more applications than spaces available. The program includes Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven and their surrounding districts.

“I myself am the parent of a student in the Open Choice program, so I can understand some of the difficulties a kid might experience attending a school in another community that may or may not be entirely welcoming,” Sen. McCrory said. “This bill assures that there will be supports in place for students who travel from one district to another, so kids don’t feel like a stranger. All of our children should feel comfortable in their educational environment.”

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