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.
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.