BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (CBS Connecticut and AP) – A plan by Connecticut’s biggest city to charge suburban districts $3,000 for every student attending city magnet schools is facing a challenge in court.
Several nearby towns have asked a judge to block Bridgeport’s tuition request, and a hearing is scheduled Monday in Superior Court.
In the last school year, suburban towns sent 606 students to Bridgeport’s magnet schools, and the city was reimbursed $4,293,510 by the state, the Connecticut Post reported. A year ago the city received permission from the state education commissioner to charge an additional $3,000 per student.
Magnet schools are public schools that offer specialized training in order to attract more diverse students. Dozens of them have emerged around Connecticut with the goal of reducing racial and ethnic isolation, particularly in urban areas. Bridgeport is the only state district that has received approval to charge tuition for magnet schools.
In the Hartford region, where magnet schools sprouted under a court-ordered desegregation effort, magnet schools are prohibited from charging tuition.
A total of 18 municipalities were notified they would be charged the $3,000 per student beginning in the next school year.
Norman Pattis, an attorney hired by the Stratford Board of Education, said Bridgeport is overbilling suburban districts as a solution to its budget shortfalls.
“Bridgeport’s coveting of its neighbors’ tax revenue violates state law,” Pattis said.
The other towns that have joined the lawsuit include Trumbull and Shelton.
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