School Boundaries and Your Next Move

“If you don’t move, I’m moving without you.”  There was no doubt where my daughter stood on the issue.  The previous year had certainly thrown our household into a lot of uncertainty.  Now that the powers-that-be have made up their mind, the uncertainty is gone.  My daughter, regardless of the rest of us, will be moving.

What could bring on such emotion that it could possibly require the emancipation of a minor?  School boundaries.  I’m glad that districts don’t change these very often because it is hard on families with kids.

In case you missed it (not quite sure how you could if you are anywhere near here), the Sioux Falls School District is building an additional high school and middle school.  The addition of these buildings means maps need to be redrawn.  And there is the rub.

My wife and I both graduated from Lincoln High School.  We are currently in the Washington High School district.  Without moving, there is a very good chance my daughter could be a Warrior her first year and then be forced to move to Lincoln for the rest of her high school career (GO PATS!).

For her, this is not an option.  Despite our history with Lincoln, my daughter has very good reasons for wanting to stay at Washington.  So……we have been making decisions.

My goal of this blog is not to debate any boundaries changes.  They’ve been decided and that’s what we have to work with.

Rather, let’s talk about some things to consider as you look at the upcoming changes and what they mean for you, particularly in housing.

First, I will say that we have very good schoolsstudent female in Sioux Falls.  They all are.  Yes, they are different, but they are all good.  So we need to get past some of the perception issues that exist.  My kids went to “that middle school” that has a very diverse population.  It. Was. Great.  Were there different cultures and personalities there?  Yes.  But my kids are aware of that and realize that there are great people out there who don’t look like them.  There are bad kids that do look just like them.  Color just doesn’t really matter.  Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest….

Second, location matters.  If you really need or want (yes, they are very different situations) to be in a specific school, that school is required to take your kids if you live within the boundaries.  This isn’t earth shattering news.  But I don’t think a lot of people have considered how this will impact our housing market in the coming year.

With the boundary changes, I and several Realtors I have talked with are expecting a jump in movement within Sioux Falls in the next year.  As families plan for the coming years, they could very well be considering a move if it guarantees their children will be in a specific school.  Which brings us to….

Third, there is open enrollment.  If you can open enroll.  Coming out of certain schools being way overcrowded, the district is placing pretty significant limits on open enrollment per school.  If you aren’t in the boundaries for that school, I wouldn’t put all your eggs in that basket.

Bringing this all together, there are some things to think about if you are looking to get to specific schools:

Are you ready for the cost of moving?  There are significant costs to buying AND selling a home.  Even moving from one rental to another will incur some additional costs.  How do these costs weigh against being in that specific school?

Is the school your only reason for moving?  Asked slightly differently, would you be making a lateral move between the houses other than schools or are you ready for something different?  Style?  Size?  Amenities (bedrooms, garage stalls, etc.)?  The move becomes more valuable if you are addressing multiple purposes at once.

Are you ready for the other impacts of open enrollment?  High school maybe not so much because many of the students drive.  But there and especially in middle school, if you open enroll there isn’t a school bus to get your kids to and from school.  That means you now need to be the daily transportation for your kids unless you are going to make them walk uphill and into the wind in 3 feet of snow both ways.  Not only for school activities, but their friends from school will not be living near you.  So going to a friend’s house takes on new meaning.  Doable, just different from where you are currently.

Graduate KidAre you and your kids on the same page?  20+ years later and I can still sing Lincoln’s school fight song.  I’ll probably always have some loyalty there.  That’s based on my history.  When I got past that and listened to my daughter, she had some VERY good reasons for being at Washington – things that definitely would not be possible if she were at Lincoln.  I have to admit she is growing up and made a very good, intentional, informed decision that’s pretty hard to argue with.  Do your kids have valuable input?  Or do they just really not care nearly as much as you do?

As you process through these changes, the Center for Financial Resources has some resources that may be very helpful in making an informed decision and the subsequent implementation.  First, our free Homebuyer Express classes can help you look at budgeting, credit, and the buying process.  If you haven’t moved within the last couple of years, things have changed.  We will help you figure out those changes.  If you would like a little more specific help with your budget or credit history, a Pre-Purchase Appointment may be a good option.  Our counselors will sit down with you, look at where you are and where you want to be, and help you come up with a plan to get there.

You can find out more about either option by calling us at 605-330-2700 or you can register for our Homebuyer Express classes through our calendar at or schedule the Pre-Purchase Appointment on our page at

written by Breck Miller, Community Relations Coordinator
images courtesy

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus| Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 |Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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