The Working Mom by Kay Luna

Parents `vote with their feet’

Thursday, August 30th, 2012 10:33 am

You might have heard recently parents’ back-to-school shopping often includes buying a new house. Why is that?

A new study by an organization that analyzes real estate trends, Trulia.com, shows parents “vote with their feet” by picking up stakes and moving into school districts with better Great School ratings.

The study compared the ratio of 5- to 9-year-olds to the number of preschool kids to come up with its numbers to see whether parents deliberately moved into higher-ranked school districts when their kids became school-aged. 

According to chief economist Jed Kolko, they did, even when the move meant a longer work commute for parents.

Wonder if that’s true in the Quad-City area? The study includes a full national database ranked by parents moving in and out. You can link to it from here: http://trends.truliablog.com/2012/08/school-districts-people-flock-to-and-flee-from/

I checked out the Iowa list, which includes 364 school districts. Of those, the highest ranking one in our area was the Louisa-Muscatine School District at #19.

The district in Preston, Iowa, ranked #22. Central Lee Community School District in Andrew, Iowa, ranked #23. Delwood Community School in Clinton County ranked #30.

Pleasant Valley Community School District is listed at #36, followed by Bettendorf schools at #45, Camanche district at #78 and North Scott at #84.

For a bigger picture look, the Wall Street Journal wrote a national story about it: http://blogs.wsj.com/developments/2012/08/28/biggest-back-to-school-purchase-a-new-home/

An education reporter posted on a national listserv another point: The federal No Child Left Behind mandates and how schools rank under that law’s “annual yearly progress” rules also influences parents’ choices of schools for their kids.

As it’s been explained to me, in Iowa, parents can request to open-enroll their kids in other school districts in the state, whether they live in those districts or not. But, in Illinois, per-pupil state education funding does not follow the students to school districts outside of their own, so transfers to neighboring schools — without the family moving into those districts — aren’t as common.

So, what about you? Have you ever moved, or considered moving, to a new home so your kids could attend a certain school?

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