Using data to solve boundary challenges

Redrawing boundaries reallocates a district’s resources at a fundamental level, and with that reallocation comes a great deal of concern, anxiety, and turmoil as members of the district’s community worry whether their needs will be addressed properly. Compounding that tense situation, districts are often working with incomplete data and making what amounts to educated guesses about where resources will do the most good.

Muskogee Public (OK) Schools serves about 5,600 students across 13 school sites. Between a declining birth rate in the area that we serve and more students and their families choosing nontraditional options such as online schools, our enrollment recently shrank to the point that we needed to close a building and reallocate some of our resources.

We settled on turning one elementary school into a 6th grade center and then closing a middle school and moving its students to a larger elementary school. We’re closing only one building, but that still requires rezoning the remaining five elementary schools and the 2,700 elementary-aged students they serve.…Read More