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An examination of participation decisions of one district in a vibrant open enrollment environment

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Galston, Anthony James
Welsch, David; Winden, Matthew; Xue, Yuhan (Cathy)
Jan 03, 2017
School choice; Students, Transfer of--Wisconsin; Public schools--Wisconsin
Many papers have examined open enrollment and interdistrict transfer programs, but most study these programs at the district level. Using a unique student level data set with transfer decisions and survey responses, this paper examines the school characteristics that parents are most attracted to when making a transfer decision. In addition, this paper uses ArcGIS software to examine if travel time plays a role in the decision to open enroll. Using a variety of linear probability and multinomial logit models, this paper concludes that parents participating in open enrollment programs are attracted to schools of higher academic quality, in particular those schools with higher reading and mathematics scores. There is no evidence to suggest parents are choosing to participate in open enrollment due to out of district schools being closer in proximity to their residence, but there is evidence to suggest that once the decision is made, parents are more likely to be attracted to an out of district schools that is closer in proximity. The results presented in this paper suggest that parents may be willing to travel further to provide their child(ren) with what they perceive to be a better education.
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