Mapping Indiana’s K–12 Student Transfers

Earlier this year, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) released its first ever Public Corporation Transfer Report showing how many students in each district exercised public school choice in Fall 2017. I’ve used the data in that report to create maps that show districts where students have left their schools to attend a different district school, a charter school or a private school using public funds.

As a refresher, according to the most recently available data from the National Center on Education Statistics, some homeschooler estimates and my own calculations, 81.7 percent of Hoosier students attend a public district school. The remaining students pay for private school (8.7 percent), use a voucher or tax-credit scholarship to attend a private school (3.4 percent), attend a charter school (3.2 percent) or are homeschooled (2.9 percent).


Interdistrict Open Enrollment

For this analysis, I first examined students who left their district through “parent choice.” According to the IDOE’s definitions, parent choice includes “students with legal settlement in a school corporation who are enrolled in and attending a different school corporation based on an agreement between the parent(s) and the school corporation the student attends. The corporation of legal settlement is not a party to the transfer agreement.” In other words, these are the parents using interdistrict open enrollment to send their children across district lines for school.


The 289 public school districts in the transfer report had 52,052 students transfer out of their district school using interdistrict open enrollment.

Here are the top districts at each extreme:

RankCorporation NameOutgoing Transfers: Interdistrict Open EnrollmentPercent of State Funded Students with Legal Settlement
1Indianapolis Public Schools4,4089.4%
2South Bend Community School Corp2,1559.2%
3Anderson Community School Corp1,59716.0%
4Kokomo School Corporation1,32319.2%
5Muncie Community Schools1,31918.2%
284North Daviess Community Schools120.5%
284West Lafayette Community School Corp121.1%
286South Spencer County School Corp90.7%
287River Forest Community School Corp50.1%
287School Town of Munster50.3%
289Bar-Reeve Community Schools Inc30.4%


Charter Schools

The first charter schools in Indiana opened in 2002, and students gained the ability to transfer out of their zoned public school to attend a public charter school—44,112 students did so in Fall 2017.

IN Transfers Charter Schools

Here are the top districts at each extreme:

RankCorporation NameOutgoing Transfers: CharterPercent of State Funded Students with Legal Settlement
1Indianapolis Public Schools12,54626.7%
2Gary Community School Corp5,46645.4%
3Anderson Community School South Bend Community School CorpCorp1,7697.6%
4M S D Warren Township1,1487.9%
5School City of East Chicago98818.4%
284Bar-Reeve Community Schools Inc40.6%
284Southwestern Con Sch Shelby Co40.6%
286East Gibson School Corporation30.4%
286Frontier School Corporation30.3%
286Medora Community School Corp31.5%
289Cannelton City Schools00.0%

Only Cannelton City Schools, which happens to be across the Ohio River from my grandmother’s hometown of Hawesville, Ky., had zero students transfer out of the district to attend a charter school. For context, 261 students in the entire district attended the combined elementary and high school in Fall 2017.


School Vouchers

Students also are able to leave their resident school to attend a private school using public funds via Indiana’s Choice Scholarship Program. The program was enacted and launched in 2011 and is the largest single statewide voucher program in the nation.

Based on the IDOE Public Corporation Transfer Report, 35,500 students opted out of their resident school to attend a private school using the Choice Scholarship Program in Fall 2017.

IN transfers vouchers

Here are the top five districts where resident students left their district school and used a school voucher:

RankCorporation NameOutgoing Transfers:
Choice Scholarship Program
Percent of State Funded Students with Legal Settlement
1Fort Wayne Community Schools4,72313.4%
2Indianapolis Public Schools3,6597.8%
3South Bend Community School Corp2,62711.3%
4Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp1,5896.4%
5East Allen County Schools1,0079.7%

Other than those five districts, only School City of Hammond (926 students) and Perry Township Schools (922 students) had more than 750 students leave their district school for a voucher school.

Twenty-three school districts did not have any  students leave to attend a private school using a voucher:

Corporation Name
C A Beard Memorial School Corp
Cloverdale Community Schools
Eastern Pulaski Community Sch Corp
Greencastle Community School Corp
Jac-Cen-Del Community Sch Corp
Linton-Stockton School Corporation
M S D Shakamak Schools
North Central Parke Comm Schl Corp
North Miami Community Schools
North Vermillion Com Sch Corp
Orleans Community Schools
Paoli Community School Corp
Peru Community Schools
Pioneer Regional School Corp
Randolph Eastern School Corp
South Vermillion Com Sch Corp
Southwest Parke Com Sch Corp
Southwest School Corporation
Springs Valley Com School Corp
Tell City-Troy Twp School Corp
Tri-Central Community Schools
Union Co/Clg Corner Joint Sch Dist
White River Valley School District


Other Reasons

Finally, I examined the students who left their district for other reasons. These are, according to the IDOE report, “Students with legal settlement in a school corporation who are enrolled in and attending a different school corporation due to scenarios other than interdistrict open enrollment. Common examples include (but are not limited to):

  • An agreement between the corporation of legal settlement and the servicing corporation,
  • A “better accommodation” student transfer agreement under IC 20-26-11-5 between the corporation of legal settlement and the student’s parent(s),
  • A “better accommodation” order by the State Board of Education,
  • State obligations and
  • A placement by county welfare offices, state courts, state licensed child-placing agencies, etc.”

IN Transfers other


Statewide, there were 3,676 students who transferred out of their resident district for one of the aforementioned reasons.

Here are the top five districts that had students transfer for other reasons:

RankCorporation NameOutgoing Transfers: OtherPercent of State Funded Students with Legal Settlement
1Tippecanoe School Corp2952.1%
2Indianapolis Public Schools2020.4%
3Fort Wayne Community Schools1370.4%
4Avon Community School Corp951.0%
5Perry Township Schools710.4%

There were 12 school districts that did not have any students leave for other reasons:

Corporation Name
Clinton Prairie School Corporation
Eastern Hancock Co Com School Corp
Kankakee Valley School Corp
Medora Community School Corp
North Gibson School Corporation
North West Hendricks Schools
Northeast Dubois Co School Corp
Oak Hill United School Corp
Peru Community Schools
Rising Sun-Ohio Co Com
Rossville Con School District
South Gibson School Corporation



Finally, here are the most and least populated districts, in terms of publicly-funded (district, charter and voucher) students living in the district, and how families are choosing:

RankCorporation NamePublicly-Funded Students Living in the DistrictDistrict School Enrollment PercentageInterdistrict Open Enrollment PercentageCharter PercentageVoucher PercentageOther Public Transfer Percentage
1Indianapolis Public Schools46,97255.8%9.4%26.7%7.8%0.4%
2Fort Wayne Community Schools35,19981.2%2.2%2.8%13.4%0.4%
3Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp24,66089.4%1.1%3.0%6.4%0.1%
4South Bend Community School Corp23,33271.7%9.2%7.6%11.3%0.2%
5Hamilton Southeastern Schools22,17996.1%0.9%1.8%1.3%<0.1%
285Hamilton Community Schools41758.8%33.8%4.6%1.0%1.9%
286Eminence Community School Corp40974.8%21.8%1.7%0.7%1.0%
287Union School Corporation36747.1%50.7%1.4%0.3%0.5%
288Cannelton City Schools27751.3%45.8%0.0%0.4%2.5%
289Medora Community School Corp20374.9%23.2%1.5%0.5%0.0%

In rank order, here are the most popular ways students left their district school using public funds in Fall 2017:

  1. Interdistrict Open Enrollment (52,052 students)
  2. Charter School (44,112 students)
  3. School Vouchers (35,500 students)
  4. Other (3,676 students)


We also can break down that data as a percentage of the 1,139,822 students enrolled in Indiana in 2017–18 (according to the IDOE):

  1. Interdistrict Open Enrollment (4.6%)
  2. Charter School (3.9%)
  3. School Vouchers (3.1%)
  4. Other (0.3%)

In total, 11.9 percent of Indiana students used public funds to leave their district schools. It will be interesting to look back around this time next year to see how many of the above data points have changed. If I had to make an educated guess, I imagine public school choice will remain the top form of choice in Indiana for some time to come.


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