April 27, 1989: Elizabeth Horton Sheff and other parents file a lawsuit on behalf of their children against then-Gov. William A. O'Neill, charging that Connecticut's system of separate city and suburban school districts led to racially segregated schools and a violation of their children's rights to equal opportunity.
April 12, 1995: After a weeks-long trial, Superior Court Judge Harry Hammer rejects claims that officials are obligated to correct educational inequities no matter how they came to be.
July 9, 1996: The State Supreme Court overturns Hammer and votes 4-3 in favor of the Sheff plaintiffs, ruling that the racial and socioeconomic isolation of Hartford school children violates state law. The court sets no goal, remedy, and timetable to resolve the problem, saying that's the legislature and governor's responsibility.
Feb. 25, 2003: The House of Representatives votes 87-60 to approve an out-of-court settlement in the Sheff vs. O'Neill case, an agreement that includes plans for eight new integrated magnet schools in Hartford over the next four years.
Aug. 3, 2004: The Sheff plaintiffs return to court, arguing that the state violated the settlement agreement by neglecting to fill new magnet schools to capacity, thereby stalling progress toward the integration goal. The state responds that it has complied with the settlement by opening two magnet schools per year, while phasing in grade levels as planned.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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