School District Geography
School districts are are geographic areas, polygons, established by corresponding state education agencies. School districts number approximately 13,350 areas across the U.S. and are the dominant type of Local Education Agencies (LEAs) that provide K-12 public education. LEAs also include charter school agencies and area education agencies.
Boundaries for school districts are developed by the Census Bureau under sponsorship of the Department of Education for purposes of developing Federal statistical data and and administering Federal programs. School district boundaries are updated every two years. The digital boundaries are part of the Census TIGER digital map database.
The 2018 TIGER/Line shapefiles (released fall 2018) includes separate shapefiles for elementary, secondary, and unified
school districts on a state by state basis. The 2018 shapefiles contain information from the 2017-2018 school year, i.e. districts in
operation as of January 1, 2018. ProximityOne develops a single U.S. national scope shapefile integrating the three types of districts and assigning a summary level code to each district designating elementary (950), secondary (960) or unified (970). School districts are uniquely defined/identified by a 7-character geocode. The geocode is comprised of the 2-digit state FIPS code and 5-digit within state school district code assigned by the U.S. Department of Education. The value 99997 is the school district code assigned to water or land where the state does not define an official school district defined. In all cases there is a separate state geocode which varies in structure from state to state.
Elementary school districts provide education to the lower grade/age levels and secondary school districts provide education to the upper grade/age levels. Unified school districts provide education to children of all school ages. In general, where there is a unified school district, no elementary or secondary school district exists (there are exceptions). Where there is an elementary school district, the secondary school district may or may not exist.
Warren Glimpse, principal and founder of ProximityOne, developed the first U.S. national scope school district boundary files as part of the School District Special Tabulation in the mid-1990s. Glimpse also developed the Columbia, MO GBF/DIME file that was used as a prototype to developed the TIGER system.
Access and Use. ProximityOne provides access to the school district shapefiles populated with or without subject matter further described in this section.
Field Length Type Description
Field Length Type Description
STATEFP 2 String Current state FIPS code
UNSDLEA 5 String Current unified school district local education agency code
GEOID 7 String School district identifier; a concatenation of the current
state FIPS code and unified school district local
education agency code
NAME 100 String Current unified school district name
LSAD 2 String Current legal/statistical area description code for
unified school district
LOGRADE 2 String Current lowest grade covered by school district
HIGRADE 2 String Current highest grade covered by school district
MTFCC 5 String MAF/TIGER feature class code (G5420)
SDTYP 1 String Current school district type
FUNCSTAT 1 String Current functional status
ALAND 14 Number Current land area
AWATER 14 Number Current water area
INTPTLAT 11 String Current latitude of the internal point
INTPTLON 12 String Current longitude of the internal poin
School District (Elementary) 80 299 1,995
School District (Secondary) 90 214 509
School District (Unified) 872 3,001 10,902