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Last Of 4 Holdouts, Shelton Settles With Bridgeport Over Student Tuition

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Shelton, Connecticut, has agreed to pay the City of Bridgeport $652,000 to settle a long-running dispute over magnet school tuition.

James Finley is with the advocacy group Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding. He said inadequate funding of urban school districts is to blame.

“And often it forces communities, suburban communities and urban communities to fight over funding. And it's funding that really should come from the state in the first place,” Finley said.

Bridgeport had asked for $852.000 and had given Shelton until mid-June to pay. The lawsuit was settled for $652,000 after extensive negotiations.

Kathy Yolish, the chair of the Shelton Board of Education, said the settlement gives her board a sense of relief from a dispute that’s been going on for nearly five years.

“We can carry on and not have this hanging over our head. And in the future we look forward to having a collaborative effort between the Bridgeport Board of Education and the Shelton Board of Education,” Yolish said.

Bridgeport Public Schools Superintendent Michael J. Testani said in a statement he wanted to thank the city attorney's office and the board of education, which he said understood the importance of settling the lawsuit.

"They supported my efforts to work with our partner districts on coming up with a solution that benefited all parties. I am glad this is finally behind us. We can now all move forward with helping our students achieve and grow," Testani said.

Bridgeport got permission from the state to charge $3,000 per student tuition to outside school districts, who send their students to the city’s magnet schools.

Stratford, Monroe, Trumbull and Shelton challenged the assessment in court and lost. Shelton is the last to settle.

About 76 Shelton students attend three inter-district magnet schools in Bridgeport.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.