(FROM THE MDE WEBSITE)
Statewide Enrollment Options
Statewide enrollment options, informally known as open enrollment, is Minnesota’s public school choice option that allows students and parents to have access to schools that are not within their resident district. This program allows student enrollment from one school district into another. In the 2017-18 school year, more than 80,000 Minnesota students, or 9 percent, are open-enrolled.
State applications are used for any open enrollment situation involving two school districts in Minnesota. Once accepted for open enrollment, the student may attend the nonresident district through high school graduation. Siblings of the open-enrolled student will receive priority consideration to attend the same nonresident district if demand exceeds available spots and a lottery is held. Nonresident districts must receive applications by January 15 for the following fall, with some exceptions.
See the Statewide Enrollment Options Instructions for details.
PUBLIC VS PRIVATE EDUCATION
What’s better for your youngster? How can you compare private and public schools when they seem so disparate? Is it like comparing apples and oranges — two different things that can’t be fairly held to the same standards?
As any parent who has toured both kinds of school knows, it’s not always easy to answer these questions. Many people have a bias one way or another. Some assume that private schools offer superior everything, justifying their tuition costs. Others contend that public schools provide more real-life experiences or, in some cases, more-developed specialty programs in athletics or science. (There often are more and varied activities and classes from which to choose at public schools)
The most obvious discrepancy between public and private schools comes down to cold, hard cash. The good news for parents is that public schools cannot charge tuition. The bad news is that public schools are complicated, often underfunded operations influenced by political winds and shortfalls. Financed through federal, state, and local taxes, public schools are part of a larger school system, which functions as a part of the government and must follow the rules and regulations set by politicians.
In contrast, private schools must generate their own funding, which typically comes from a variety of sources: tuition; private grants; and fundraising from parents, alumni, and other community members. (Ever wonder why private schools celebrate Grandparent’s Day and public schools don’t?) If the school is associated with a religious group, the local branch may provide an important source of funding as well.
For parents this quickly translates into the bad news: high tuition costs and sometimes an exhausting work calendar of parent-sponsored fundraisers.
The potential benefits of private schools accrue from their independence. Private schools do not receive tax revenues, so they do not have to follow the same sorts of regulations and bureaucratic processes that govern (and sometimes hinder) public schools. This allows many private schools to be highly specialized, offering differentiated learning, advanced curriculum, or programs geared toward specific religious beliefs. There are exceptions to such generalizations — charter and magnet schools are increasingly common public schools that often have a special educational focus or theme.