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Lakeville Schools Losing Students, Racial Diversity to Open Enrollment

A University of Minnesota Law School study says Lakeville loses many more students to open enrollment than it attracts, especially among minority groups.

Open enrollment is hurting the Lakeville Area Public School District, according to a University of Minnesota Law School study.

Not only is the district losing students—and state funding—but it's also becoming more racially isolated as a result, the study says.

Budgets Matter

The study, which looked at state-wide open enrollment during the 2009-2010 school year, says Lakeville lost a total of 142 students to other school districts—mosty to Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District 196. A total of 427 students left Lakeville's school district, and only 285 students came in. And the study says the numbers are relatively steady annually.

What's that mean in dollars? In 2012, the state gave Lakeville schools $8,918 in funding for each pupil it taught in 2012. That's nearly $1.3 million in annual state funding lost for Lakeville schools due to students leaving via open enrollment.

That's a lot of money for a school district with a projected budget deficit in coming years.

Wrecking Racial Diversity?

A few years ago, Lakeville was actually deemed racial isolated from the Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District by the Minnesota Department of Education.

It seems open enrollement is actually a cause of the disparity, the study says.

In 2009-2010, Lakeville schools lost a net of 34 non-white students to open enrollment. A total of 96 non-white students left Lakeville's school district, and only 62 students came in.

The phenomenon isn't limited to Lakeville, researchers say.

The study found that open enrollment increased segregation in the metro region overall between 2000 and 2010, with 36 percent of open enrollment classified as segregative in the 2009-10 school year. By contrast, just 24 percent were integrative. The rest were race neutral.

“Open enrollment allows parents a wider choice in matching a school’s programs to a child’s needs and creates clearer competition between schools that could encourage innovation or improvement,” the study reported. “Yet, open enrollment also enables moves based on less noble motivations that can accelerate racial or economic transition in a racially diverse school district.”

Click on the PDF to the right of this article to read the full report. Use the widget above to see the racial makeup of each district in Minnesota.

ABSG January 23, 2013 at 02:46 PM
They lost $1.3 million that would have gone to support the teaching of those 142 students ... without them enrolling, the district obviously now does not need the $1.3 million because they are not teaching anyone. The only problem seems to me is a district that is dependent on money they feel they deserve without having to teach anyone. This is where you stop spending and cut expenses and operate within your means. I could care less how many White vs. Black students there are in a school. Why does it matter - aren't we all equal ? It doesn't matter what skin color or sex a person is ... A student is a student and that is how it should be viewed IMHO. Same in the business world - the most qualified person should get the job, get the business etc...
Klaus Schneegans January 23, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Those who track people based on their race perpetuate racism.
ABSG January 23, 2013 at 10:24 PM
TOTALLY Agree Klaus!!! Exactly what I was thinking!
Dee January 24, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I don't think the $1.3 million goes to just teaching those students that left, i.e., I don't think it's a direct correlation. Open enrollment does cause the district to lose money overall that I'm sure is spent on more than just teacher salaries and benefits. But the fact is, many more white students left Lakeville than non-white students. Not passing levies and all the budget cuts make people leave as well. That's why my kids left, and yes, we open-enrolled them into district 196 and love it. We are thankful that MN has open enrollment as an option. People want good opportunities for their kids and if the local school district is not providing what is needed, it is nice to have the option to leave for a district that does provide these options.
ABSG January 25, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Not passing levies and all the budget cuts makes districts operate within it's means. 196 being so much better is a bunch of bologna ... I highly doubt there are drastic difference between district 194 and 196. What is needed ? What is missing ?

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