Demand (and Supply) in an Inter-District Public School Choice Program
This study examines parents’ demand for sending their children to a public school located outside their residential school district.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Economics of Education Review
Vol. 27, No. 4, pp. 402-416
- Students from low-income families and students receiving special education services are slightly more likely than other students to participate in open enrollment.
- Transfer demand is greater when a district has fewer high school dropouts or when a district’s least educated neighbor has fewer residents with college degrees. These findings are consistent with the idea that parents want to transfer their children into districts with better-educated parents.
- Total spending per pupil variables, which adjust for transferring patterns, do not have statistically significant effects on transfer demand.
- Demand to transfer is greater for districts where the average local expenditures of neighboring districts is relatively large and for districts where the minimum local expenditure level among the neighboring districts is relatively low.
- There is slightly greater transfer demand when districts spend a greater proportion of their budgets on vocational programs than neighboring districts. This is probably due to a few students who prefer a school district offering these specialized services.
- While districts are claiming to make rejections based on capacity, it appears that test score gaps and socio-economic differences are also correlated with these decisions. A one standard deviation increase in this test score difference variable equals 1.23 points, which implies a 2.3 percentage point increase in the probability that the district rejected any applicants.
Journal Article Historical Analysis
Academic Achievement, Choice, Funding, Transfer
Method of Analysis:
Minnesota school districts
Unit of Analysis:
School, School District
- Data combine several school-district level data sets provided by the Minnesota Department of Education.
- Focuses on inter-district choice during the 1999-2000 school year, 9 years after the beginning of statewide open enrollment.
- District-level data is used from the Minnesota Department of Education’s website describing mean student test scores on standardized, statewide exams for students in third, fifth, and eighth grade.
- Explanatory variables come from Minnesota’s School District Profiles
- Open enrollment transfer and rejection data are combined with district-level data concerning characteristics of residents, school expenditures, student test scores, total enrollments by grade, and total enrollments by race. The analyses also utilize geographic data concerning which districts are contiguous (i.e., sharing a border at some geographic location).
- Sample includes 331 districts.
- DV: Participation in open enrollment (natural logarithm of the sum of incoming transfer students and the number of rejected applicants in district during 1999-2000)
- IV: Low-income (measured by free lunch eligibility), special education student, race, number of households in district, population density in district, the fraction of public school students enrolled in elementary grades (kindergarten through grade 5), and the fraction enrolled in middle school grades (grades 6 through 8).