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Magnet Schools of Choice

What is a Magnet School?

Magnet schools are the largest form of public school choice designed to attract students from different schools/school districts to learn together in settings that offer unique, high-quality, themed educational opportunities. They are specifically designed to attract students from diverse social, economic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. Connecticut's interdistrict magnet schools are funded through a mix of state, local, and federal dollars with the largest source of funding being state-funded magnet school operating grants. 

The Connecticut interdistrict magnet school system was created as a result of the Sheff v. O'Neill court case in which the Connecticut Supreme Court, in 1996, ruled that Hartford's public schools were racially segregated and in violation of the Connecticut Constitution's anti-segregation provision. An interdistrict magnet school permits students from different cities and towns to cross district borders to attend a themed magnet school or program. 

In an intradistrict magnet school, students transfer to another school within their resident public school district. A Sheff magnet school refers to an interdistrict magnet school located in the Sheff region, which includes Hartford and surrounding suburban towns.  Non-Sheff magnet schools are interdistrict magnet schools not located in the Sheff region and are not directly tied to the State of Connecticut's obligation under the 1996 Sheff v. O'Neill ruling. 

MSMHS students sit around table in common area

Who Provides Transportation for a Magnet School Student?

  • The district where the school is located must provide transportation for residential students. 
  • Interdistrict magnet schools or participating school districts receive state grants if the choose to transport out-of-district students. They are not required to do so.
  • Nonparticipating school districts are not required to provide transportation to students from their districts who attend interdistrict magnet schools. However, a school district may apply for state reimbursement for interdistrict magnet school transportation should it elect to provide transportation.

Who Provides Special Education for a Magnet School Student?

The responsibility for holding planning and placement team (PPT) meetings belongs to the district where the student lives.

The interdistrict magnet school is responsible for ensuring that the student receives the services required by the student's individualized education program (IEP), whether those services are provided by the interdistrict magnet school or by the school district in which the student resides.