Not only is District 199 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 Inver Grove Heights lost a total of 264 students to other school districts—mostly to South St. Paul. A total of 668 students left Inver Grove Heights' school district, and only 404 students came in. And the study says the numbers are relatively steady annually.
What's that mean in dollars? With state funding ranging from roughly $7,000 to $11,000 per student, those 264 students add up to a lot of money.
Wrecking Racial Diversity?
It seems open enrollment is actually a cause of racial disparity in Inver Grove Heights, the study says.
In 2009-2010, Inver Grove Heights schools lost a net of 173 non-white students to open enrollment. A total of 299 non-white students left District 199, and only 126 students came in.
The phenomenon isn't limited to Inver Grove Heights, 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.