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District 196 schools keep students from looking elsewhere

Nearly nine of 10 school-aged children who live in Independent School District 196 are attending District 196 schools this year, according to student enrollment and census data maintained by the district.

There were 29,410 school-aged children living within District 196 on Oct. 1. Of those children, 25,648 are attending District 196 schools, for a "capture rate" of 87 percent. Anything over 80 percent of resident students enrolled is considered to be a high capture rate in Minnesota, according to former state demographer Hazel Reinhardt of Hazel Reinhardt Consulting. She says capture rate is a reflection on the quality of local public schools and the presence of charter schools, nonpublic schools and other educational alternatives in and near the district.

The number of children living in District 196 who are home schooled or attend traditional non-public schools has averaged 7.5 percent over the last five years. The other approximately 5.5 percent of school-aged children who live in District 196 attend charter schools or public schools in other districts. Students who open enroll into the district are not included in the capture-rate calculation.