The Gilbert School's unique, decades-long arrangement with Connecticut, appears to be in jeopardy.
Going back to the beginning of last century, the Gilbert School in Winsted has served the role of public school for students and families in Winchester.
Of the 555 students at the school, 480 are local students that have their $13,000 tuition covered by the town.
"Why shouldn't our children in Winchester have the same opportunities as other kids have in other towns?" asked Cheryl Bartley, whose twelve-year-old son may attend Gilbert in the Fall.
"They have a seamless school system. Pre-k through six (grade). They know where they're going to go to middle school. They know where they're going to go to high school."
The limbo of the agreement goes back two budget years when Winchester fell on hard budget times. The State of Connecticut assumed control over the school system and appointed a receiver, who has since left that position.
Administrators at Gilbert said they owe it to students and parents to negotiate a new agreement.
"We want a long term contract, to be honest about it," said Antony Serio, the Superintendent and Head of School. "I want to see the local board reinstated and let us negotiate with the Winchester Board of Education."
Taxpayers cover the entire cost of tuition to the Gilbert School. For the 2016-17 school year, the total amount for tuition came to $6.7 million. In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Connecticut Department of Education directly pointed to tuition as the main issue that's gotten in the way of a long-term contract.
Abbe Smith with the Connecticut Department of Transportation said in a statement, "We had sought to negotiate a fair and fiscally responsible short-term contract that would not tie the town's hands with a tuition increase it could not afford. We remain open and willing to negotiating a fair and fiscally responsible contract that serves the needs of Winchester students and the Gilbert School."
For now, the state and Winchester are working off of an expired agreement struck two years ago.
Principal Alan Strauss, Connecticut's reigning Principal of the Year, said he needs continuity to manage the school properly and that starts with a new agreement.
"We're in this business to help kids. That's the bottom line," Strauss said. We can't help kids as much as we could if we knew where we were going pre-k to twelve."