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The Regional Open Choice Program: Connecticut's Lottery for Education

by Joseph C. Maya on Mar. 20, 2017

Other Education Other  Juvenile Law 

Summary: Blog post explaining Connecticut's lottery system for charter schools.

If you have a question or concern about special education law, school administration, federal standards, or the overall rights of a student, please feel free to call the expert education law attorneys at Maya Murphy, P.C. in Westport today at (203) 221-3100 .

The following covers the guidelines for Hartford's open choice program. All regions in Connecticut have a magnet program either identical or similar to the following:


The Hartford Region Open Choice Program (Open Choice) offers students in Hartford the opportunity to attend non-magnet district schools in suburban towns, and students in suburban communities the opportunity to attend non-magnet district schools in Hartford, at no cost to the student's family.

Participation in the Open Choice Program is voluntary. To apply, families must complete and submit a RSCO lottery application.

Currently, the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) manages the program for approximately 2,300 Open Choice students who attend school in suburban towns and Hartford. Open Choice districts include Avon, Berlin, Bolton, Bristol, Canton, Cromwell, East Granby, East Windsor, Ellington, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Granby, Hartford, Newington, Plainville, Portland, Rocky Hill, Simsbury, Somers, South Windsor, Southington, Suffield, West Hartford, Wethersfield, Windsor, and Windsor Locks. Seats are available in elementary, middle and high schools.

The program is open to:

  • Hartford applicants who will enter PK4 (Prekindergarten, Age 4; age 4 by December 31 of the school year) through Grade 10; and
  • Non-Hartford applicants who will enter Grades K–12.


The majority of Open Choice graduates attend post-secondary education programs, including four-year colleges.

Transportation is provided at no cost to families who live in Hartford. There are also transportation options available for suburban students who attend Hartford schools.

The Open Choice Program serves all public school students, including gifted and talented, English language learners, and students receiving special education services. Open Choice students come from diverse racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

Once your child is accepted into the Open Choice Program, s/he can remain in the program until s/he graduates from high school. However, if you are a Hartford resident and you move out of Hartford, your child will no longer be eligible to participate in the program. If you are a suburban resident and you move, your child may not be able to participate, depending on where you move.


Parents of children in Open Choice want them to have the best possible education, and family involvement is a key factor in each child's success. The multi-lingual Open Choice team works closely with school districts to help support students and their families. Together, they help your child participate in a rewarding educational experience that will prepare them for a bright future.


Open Choice applicants are placed or waitlisted through the RSCO lottery. Eligible students with a sibling enrolled in the program are given preference in the lottery for the town in which their sibling attends school. Applicants who only select Open Choice on the RSCO lottery application will also have a placement preference.

If you have a child with a disability and have questions about special education law, please contact Joseph C. Maya, Esq., at 203-221-3100, or at, to schedule a free consultation.


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