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Old 04-02-2015, 08:31 AM
 
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As someone moving to the Detroit metro area with kids, my choice of location depends a good deal on school districts. I've found all kinds of oddities in school district assignments.

For example:

Bloomfield Hills school district takes in pieces of West Bloomfield, Beverly Hills, Franklin, and maybe others

Plymouth/Canton school district takes in part of Northville (?)

Avondale school district isn't based in a city, but takes in parts of about 4 towns (Troy, Rochester Hills, and some others)

So how are these district assignments made? Do they change periodically? How long have they been this way?
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Old 04-02-2015, 11:59 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,120 posts, read 5,820,135 times
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The only way to figure out Michigan school districts is to look at a map that shows the district boundaries. They are not limited by city borders, county lines, etc. The district boundaries will loosely form a circle around a town or city that has a central high school, generally speaking. But the specific boundaries are impossible to guess based on address. You can be 5 miles from one high school and 10 miles from another, and you might be within the boundaries of the school that is farther away. It takes an act of God to change district boundaries, so don't expect to see that happen. How long have they been that way? Forever, essentially.
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Old 04-02-2015, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,168,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan83 View Post
The only way to figure out Michigan school districts is to look at a map that shows the district boundaries. They are not limited by city borders, county lines, etc. The district boundaries will loosely form a circle around a town or city that has a central high school, generally speaking. But the specific boundaries are impossible to guess based on address. You can be 5 miles from one high school and 10 miles from another, and you might be within the boundaries of the school that is farther away. It takes an act of God to change district boundaries, so don't expect to see that happen. How long have they been that way? Forever, essentially.
Not an act of congress. An entire neighborhood on the border of two school districts can band together and petition to be annexed into a different school district. I've even seen big residential developers get their parcels changed to a different school district, if it meant a big influx of students to the receiving district.

But it doesn't happen very often.
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Old 04-03-2015, 03:08 PM
chh
 
Location: West Michigan
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MiGDL - Center for Geographic Information - Geographic Data Library

These maps show school district boundaries in each county, they'll help.
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Old 04-03-2015, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,643 posts, read 7,521,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knvista View Post
As someone moving to the Detroit metro area with kids, my choice of location depends a good deal on school districts. I've found all kinds of oddities in school district assignments.

For example:

Bloomfield Hills school district takes in pieces of West Bloomfield, Beverly Hills, Franklin, and maybe others

Plymouth/Canton school district takes in part of Northville (?)

Avondale school district isn't based in a city, but takes in parts of about 4 towns (Troy, Rochester Hills, and some others)

So how are these district assignments made? Do they change periodically? How long have they been this way?
All school districts in Michigan 150 years ago were designated by townships. A township would usually be divided up into several school districts (basically residents went to whatever school was closest) and some could cross township boundaries if a village or city crossed or was near the edge of a township. Of course, Michigan has hundreds of townships, which inevitably lead to thousands of school districts. The exact number was somewhere just north of 7,000 total school districts in the 1920s.

Over time, the number of school districts was trimmed down through consolidation, dissolving, and annexation of school districts. This occurred without regard for township boundaries, especially in Metro Detroit where most townships had been incorporated into cities or annexed by other cities. Today, there's about 500-something school districts in Michigan.

Michigan's education funding is distributed on per-pupil basis so that districts with more pupils get higher funding. This has lead to quite a few school districts to become School of Choice, which means SOC districts can allow a certain number of students from other districts to attend their schools. Each SOC district has different rules for what and where from students can attend. For example, Troy only allows a certain number of elementary school kids per year, but those kids can stay within the district up until high school. They also have to reside within a school district adjacent to Troy's. So you don't necessarily have to live within a certain district to attend that district (though I think most districts don't provide busing to out-of-district students).

However, all Michigan school districts are facing the problem of declining enrollment rates as more people seem to be choosing charter schools. So in the end, location might not make that big of a difference the way things are headed.
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Old 04-04-2015, 10:17 AM
 
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Thank you all for the good information
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Old 04-06-2015, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,168,562 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
All school districts in Michigan 150 years ago were designated by townships. A township would usually be divided up into several school districts (basically residents went to whatever school was closest) and some could cross township boundaries if a village or city crossed or was near the edge of a township. Of course, Michigan has hundreds of townships, which inevitably lead to thousands of school districts. The exact number was somewhere just north of 7,000 total school districts in the 1920s.

Over time, the number of school districts was trimmed down through consolidation, dissolving, and annexation of school districts. This occurred without regard for township boundaries, especially in Metro Detroit where most townships had been incorporated into cities or annexed by other cities. Today, there's about 500-something school districts in Michigan.

Michigan's education funding is distributed on per-pupil basis so that districts with more pupils get higher funding. This has lead to quite a few school districts to become School of Choice, which means SOC districts can allow a certain number of students from other districts to attend their schools. Each SOC district has different rules for what and where from students can attend. For example, Troy only allows a certain number of elementary school kids per year, but those kids can stay within the district up until high school. They also have to reside within a school district adjacent to Troy's. So you don't necessarily have to live within a certain district to attend that district (though I think most districts don't provide busing to out-of-district students).

However, all Michigan school districts are facing the problem of declining enrollment rates as more people seem to be choosing charter schools. So in the end, location might not make that big of a difference the way things are headed.
Many, many people still choose where to live based on the designated school district, just from an investment perspective. A home in an affluent district right across the street from a home in a different school district can have a 20% premium on it. School of choice is a pain because you have to provide your own transportation. And charter schools have proven to be not that much more successful than urban schools.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,643 posts, read 7,521,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Many, many people still choose where to live based on the designated school district, just from an investment perspective. A home in an affluent district right across the street from a home in a different school district can have a 20% premium on it. School of choice is a pain because you have to provide your own transportation. And charter schools have proven to be not that much more successful than urban schools.
The problem with charter schools is that they're not standardized.

When I grew up in Detroit, my parents had me in a charter school up until 6th grade and I personally think I was better off for it. There wasn't a bunch of riff-raff (especially compared to the public school down the street where fights were common), the parents seemed more involved with the students, and foreign language wasn't an optional class (though by the time I moved to the suburbs for public schooling, foreign language became optional so I can't really say that I remember anything more than the basics). Of course, I hardly remember taking any standardized tests other than the MEAP. There also wasn't much in the way of extra-circular activities except for glee club, music, and drama.

Charter schools aren't perfect, but compared to Detroit's public schools, they are a very definite better option. As for suburban charter schools, I can't say specifically but I'd imagine suburban public schools overall are generally better though many parents may still end up feeling more comfortable going to certain charter or private schools. And actually, many private schools in Metro Detroit are often those top listed for academic ratings which makes location even that much less important.

The way Metro Detroit is setup demographically means that a lot of people do invest a lot directly to their kids' education while still living in the same area. Transportation and costs may be a pain, but more and more Metro Detroiters are willing to put up with it and it's very visibly hurting every school district.
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Old 04-07-2015, 09:24 AM
 
2,205 posts, read 2,960,812 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
However, all Michigan school districts are facing the problem of declining enrollment rates as more people seem to be choosing charter schools. So in the end, location might not make that big of a difference the way things are headed.
Not all districts. The top-rated districts are expanding significantly.
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Old 04-08-2015, 04:35 AM
 
Location: West Michigan
3,120 posts, read 5,820,135 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Digby Sellers View Post
Not all districts. The top-rated districts are expanding significantly.
True, but it has to be a high growth area for the student population to be growing. That is the only way to offset the demographics of families having fewer children, which has nothing to do with Michigan. There are very few places in Michigan that have high enough growth to offset that.
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