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School choice in Kansas

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See also

School choice refers to the educational alternatives available to parents who do not wish to send their children to the local district public schools to which they are assigned. Public school choice options include open enrollment policies, magnet schools and charter schools. Other options include traditional school vouchers, scholarship tax credits, personal tax credits and deductions and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which allow parents to receive public funds directly for educational expenses.[1][2]

School choice options in Kansas include: charter schools, tax credits, online learning programs and an inter-district open enrollment policy. In addition, about 8.09 percent of school age children in the state attended private schools in the 2011-12 academic year, and an estimated 2.67 percent were homeschooled in 2012-13.

Educational choice options

See also: Number of schools by school type in the U.S.

Charter schools

See also: Charter schools in Kansas

According to the Kansas State Department of Education, charter schools are "independent public schools that operate within a school district. They are operated free-of-charge to parents and are open to all students. In addition, every charter school in Kansas is subject to the accreditation requirements of the state board of education and must be accredited to maintain its charter." According to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, there were 15 charter schools operating in Kansas in the 2012-13 academic year. During that time, charter schools enrolled 3,032 students.[3][4][5]

Charter school authorizers are, according to the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), the organizations "designated to approve, monitor, renew, and, if necessary, close charter schools." As of June 2014, the organizations in the following table were listed by NACSA as charter school authorizers in Kansas:[6]

Kansas charter school authorizers
Organization Authorizer type Number of schools overseen
Caney Valley School District 436 Local education agency 1
Emporia School District Local education agency 1
Haven School District Local education agency 3
Hugoton Public Schools Local education agency 1
Humboldt School District Local education agency 1
Lawrence Public Schools Local education agency 1
Little River USD 444 Local education agency 1
Newton Public Schools Local education agency 1
Oswego School District Local education agency 1
Smoky Valley School District Local education agency 1
Spring Hill School District Local education agency 1
Topeka Public Schools Local education agency 1
Note: If the total number of charter schools accounted for in this table differs from the total number listed elsewhere on this page, the discrepancy owes to differing calculation methods and data sources.
Source: National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Kansas Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014

Magnet schools

Magnet schools, sometimes called theme-based schools, are public schools of choice that use a specialized subject area or innovative learning approach to attract students from more diverse backgrounds. In fact, magnet schools began as a way to desegregate public schools through choice rather than force. Magnet schools can reach beyond the barriers of school districts, but they are still managed and funded publicly by local districts, even though they are centered around specialized themes and subjects.[7][8]

In the 2011-2012 school year, there were 2,949 magnet schools in the United States. In that year, Kansas had 36 magnet schools that served 14,909 students. Approximately 61 percent of students enrolled in Kansas magnet schools were classified as a minority. That percentage of students was predominately African American and Hispanic. This was higher than Kansas' average of 32 percent minority enrollment. The state also reported an average student:teacher ratio of 14:1 in magnet schools, which is higher than the state average of 12:1 in traditional public schools. The table below lists this information again and compares it to Kansas' neighboring states.[9][10]

Magnet school participation, 2011-2012
State Magnet schools in the state Students in magnet schools Minority enrollment percentage Student:teacher ratio
Kansas 36 14,909 61% 14:1
Missouri 29 14,149 78% 14:1
Nebraska No data available
Oklahoma No data available
Source: Public School Review, "Public School Review state magnet school pages," accessed December 12, 2014

Tax credits

  • Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program: This program allows corporations to claim a 70 percent tax credit for contributions to certain Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), nonprofit organizations that award private school scholarships.[11]

Online learning

According to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, there are 88 full-time online learning programs operating in Kansas. In the 2012-13 academic year, these programs enrolled 4,689 full-time students and an additional 1,220 students participating in the programs on a supplemental basis. There is no state-led program.[12]

Private schools

In the 2011-12 school year, 38,978 students, or 8.09 percent of school age children, were enrolled in 200 private schools. Kansas ranks 32nd highest in the nation in private school attendance.[13]

Public school open enrollment

According to the Education Commission of the States, Kansas has an inter-district/voluntary open enrollment policy. Under inter-district enrollment policies, students may attend schools outside of their home districts. Under voluntary policies, school districts may choose whether to participate.[14]


In Kansas in 2012-2013 an estimated 13,899 students, or 2.67 percent of the total student-aged population, were homeschooled.[15]

A summary of the state's laws relating to homeschooling can be accessed here.

School choice ballot measures

See also: School choice on the ballot and List of Kansas ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked no statewide ballot measures relating to school choice in Kansas.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Kansas + Education + Choice"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Kansas School Choice News Feed

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See also


  1. National Conference of State Legislatures, "School Choice and Charters," accessed June 18, 2014
  2. Friedman Foundation for School Choice, "What is School Choice?" accessed June 18, 2014
  3. Kansas State Department of Education, "Charter Schools," accessed June 20, 2014
  4. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Schools - Kansas," accessed June 20, 2014
  5. National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, "Total Number of Students - Kansas," accessed June 20, ,2014
  6. National Association of Charter School Authorizers, "Kansas Charter Authorizers," accessed June 18, 2014
  7. Public School Review, "What is a magnet school?" accessed December 9, 2014
  8. Magnet Schools of America, "What are magnet schools?" accessed December 9, 2014
  9. National Center for Education Statistics, "Selected statistics from the common core of data: School year 2011-2012," accessed December 12, 2014
  10. Public School Review, "Kansas magnet schools," accessed December 12, 2014
  11. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, "Kansas - Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program," accessed June 20, 2014
  12. Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning, "Keeping Pace with K-12 Online and Blended Learning," accessed June 20, 2014
  13. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "Private School Universe Survey (PSS)", 2011-12 ; "Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey, v.1a.," accessed May 12, 2014
  14. Education Commission of the States, "Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed June 20, 2014
  15. A2Z Home's Cool, "Number of Homeschoolers in the USA," updated February 2, 2014