See Sacramento City Unified's most sought-after schools

By Phillip Reese -

Every year, hundreds of parents living in the Sacramento City Unified School District say "no" to their neighborhood elementary school and "yes" to another school - typically one with higher test scores and fewer poor children, according to a Bee review of district data.

School begins next week for most Sacramento City Unified school district students. The district allows "open enrollment" at most of its schools. Parents can either send their children to their assigned neighborhood school, or they can apply to send their children to a different school.

Earlier this year, parents of roughly 1,250 students applied to send their children to an elementary school other than their neighborhood school. More than two thirds of those children are kindergartners who will start school next week. That's equivalent to about one quarter of the typical number entering kindergarten at Sacramento City Unified each year.

More than 80 percent of parents who left their neighborhood elementary school instead applied to schools with higher test scores and fewer students living in poverty, the Bee's review found. Poverty and test performance are strongly correlated; schools with many economically disadvantaged children tend to perform worse on tests.

This graphic shows the elementary schools that parents were most likely to leave under open enrollment this school year - and the schools where they were most likely to send their children instead.

Source: Sacramento City Unified

Click here to see graphic if using the Bee's mobile app.

Notes: Changed map at 11:30 AM on 8/27 to fix error related to New Joseph Bonnheim Community Charter. That school was colored red on desktop and tablet versions of the graphic; it should have been colored blue. | Test scores shown are a weighted, three-year average covering 2011 to 2013. Poverty figures are based on the proportion of students on free and reduced lunch in 2014-15.