Magnet school tuition ruling doesn’t favor Region 16

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REGION 16 — The verdict is in, Region 16 is responsible for paying the tuition for students who attend a part-time arts magnet school in New Haven.

Region 16 joined in a lawsuit last year with Region 10, Barkhamsted Board of Education, New Hartford Board of Education, and the Newington and Ellington school districts challenging the state’s ruling that school districts must pay tuition for students attending magnet schools, including part-time magnet schools, operated by a regional educational service center.

The matter was resolved out of court recently. An officer ruled in favor of the school districts by ruling they don’t have to pay the tuition for children in their districts who attend magnet preschools in the Hartford area. However, the districts are still responsible for paying the tuition of students who attend part-time regional arts magnet school programs.

For Region 16, the ruling means the district has to pay the tuition of Woodland Regional High School students who attend the part-time ACES Educational Center for the Arts (ECA) in New Haven.

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Tim James explained the district will have to pay for students who attend the school at least 450 hours during the school year. He said ECA recently informed the district that the school is going to increase its hours to meet the 450-hour threshold.

The district has partnered with the educational center for years, but parents had been responsible for the paying for their children. The school’s tuition is $3,874 a year James said. This year four students are attending the educational center, which is costing the district nearly $15,500.

The district didn’t account for the tuition in last year’s school budget. Despite the lawsuit, the Board of Education included the tuition for three students in the current budget, James said. The fourth student decided to go to the educational center late, he said.

The Republican American contributed to this article.