Tabulations for school districts are requested from all five ACS 1-year releases; all three 3-year releases; and the one 5-year release for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009, as allowed under disclosure restrictions based on the size of each district. Most likely the tabulations for school attendance areas will be possible only using the 5-year ACS.

For all school districts, the most recent geographic boundaries, as recorded in the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) database, should be used. In the case study districts, the School Attendance Boundary Information System (SABINS) has provided digitized boundaries and linkages to the National Center for Education Statistics’ (NCES’) Common Core of Data (CCD) for school attendance areas.

Identifying Public School Students

ACS person-level variables are used to define public school students:

  • AGEP less than or equal to 19 (defines children);
  • SCH = 2 (attended public school in last 3 months);
  • SCHL less than 16 (no high school diploma or general educational development [GED] credential, no college);
  • REL not equal to 16 or 17 (eliminate group quarters students); and
  • SCHG =11 through 14 (grade level), used to assign students to school districts or school attendance areas by comparison with grade composition in school (from CCD or case study districts).

Measuring Eligibility for Schools Meals Programs

ACS variables are used to categorize each student according to eligibility (FREE, REDUCED PRICE, FULL PRICE):

  • If REL = 14 (foster child), then FREE.
  • If FS = 1 (household receiving food stamps), then FREE.
  • If no other person in student’s HH has:

AGEP > 19 and REL = 11, 12, or 15 (no adult nonrelatives who are not unmarried partners), then:

If any person in HH has PAP greater than zero (someone receiving public assistance income), then FREE.


1 This change allows us to include prekindergarten students if a school includes prekindergarten among its grades.

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