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An Interactive Procedure for the School Boundary Problem With Declining Enrollment

An Interactive Procedure for the School Boundary Problem With Declining Enrollment

By Charles A. Holloway, Rosser Nelson, Donald Wehrung, Michael Zeitlin
1973Working Paper No. 148

School districts in some urban areas are facing reduced enrollments. Educational and economic considerations dictate closing schools. Parents, on the other hand, often resist closing neighborhood elementary schools and object to having children periodically reassigned. This paper presents an interactive procedure for establishing boundaries under conditions of declining enrollment which reflect educational, economic and parental concerns. The procedure can incorporate a variety of administrative policies and requires inputs from administrators regarding characteristics of the district. The multi-period planning horizon is decomposed by year with coordination taking place through the use of restriction in a linear programming problem which forms the basis f o r reassignment of district. The emphasis is not on optimization but rather on achieving a solution which satisfies the objectives of each group. Feasibility checks ar designed to reduce the number of alternatives which must be considered in detail and feasible solutions can be compared on the basis of summary statistics.