Feature Requests

School District Type

This is a request to simplify the school district API call structures to have only one replacing the three separate calls for unified, secondary and elementary.

The school district codes are unique within state irrespective of the type (U, S, E). Most users are interested in a few districts by name/id, all districts in a state/region or all districts in the U.S. Also, just having the state+district code provides a unique tie-back to the U, S, E status.

Thank you.


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  1. Comment
    Phillip Thomas

    This is not easily possible as they are expressed differently in the data. For example School District Elementary is expressed as State "SDELM" whereas School District Secondary is expressed in the data as State "SDSEC".

  2. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    Yes, I agree re SDELM SDSEC & SDUNI. Virtually no one accesses data based on whether the district is U,S or E. And, the geocodes (state FIPS+Federal/NCES school district code) are unique across the US just as place codes (state+place) are). I am suggesting it would be easier/better for the API to dissolve this issue rather than have every interested developer cope with it. It does work now and does provide a correct technical solution. But, there is a better way. Thank you.

  3. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    We should be careful about making assumptions as to how others might use these data. It could be the case that some might need the U, S or E variables.

  4. Comment
    Phillip Thomas

    Your suggestion makes one too many assumptions (if you use one of the school district variables you will use the others). If this was the case then the data would be formatted as such. It isn't, therefore we cannot make that assumption.

    I would be willing to believe that people may use all three *or* use one, but again that may/may not be the case, and therefore enabling such functionality is simply a bad idea

  5. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    Okay, I was not being clear. I would be the last to limit such flexibility; make such assumptions. In the same way CBSA data have a type of CBSA (eg MSA, MISA) code, school districts have a type of district code (U,S,E). Thus, any user still has the ability to categorize the school districts as U,S or E based on the geocodes ... just as the case with CBSAs.

  6. Comment
    Phillip Thomas

    Unfortunately they are different in one major respect. CBSA has it's own national level, School districts do not, they only ever roll up to state.

  7. Comment
    ( Moderator )

    I think that one of the differences between your CBSA and the school district example is that the school districts are overlapping geographically, and it might cause confusion when developing an application with a state where only one type is utilized, e.g. Virginia, and apply it to a state where all three are used, e.g. Arizona. If we were to return all three types with one call, then if summing the totals, Virginia would work, and Arizona would triple count.

  8. Comment
    Community Member ( Idea Submitter )

    I concur and agree that an unknowledgable user can make the mistakes that you describe. The possibility of double counting the population can occur when simply summing across districts in many states. The school district classification has always caused an access issue/challenge in FactFinder as well. NCES, in their public use/access to the ACS school district special tabulation (national scope districts), does not make a district type distinction in their web operation. Census SAIPE data does not make an access/district type distinction. Census governments school district finances does not make an access/district type distinction (which includes some district demographics). A multi-view solution might be to wildcard the SUMLEV for school districts; use 9**, or 950 or 960 or 970. Change the text name to "school-district". My two cents.

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