Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Kay A. Keiser


The school choice movement is gaining momentum across the nation. More now that ever, families are looking beyond their local neighborhood schools to find a school that they feel reflects their educational values. Societal structures are changing and families look to the schools to provide resources that were historically outside the school realm. At-risk students, such as students living in poverty and students requiring special education services both require a greater pool of resources. In order to plan for enrollment growth and to meet student needs, educational administrators are faced with the task of predicting needs of students and securing the resources necessary to deliver these resources. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of open enrollment acceptance dates in one urban school district on district planning and resources for services needed for at-risk students, with at-risk being students living in poverty or needing special education services. Students were identified into three categories; in-district students, on time open enrolled students, and late enrollee open enrolled students. Each group was then analyzed to determine if they were congruent or different in two areas. The two areas were the rate of students living in poverty and the rate of students needing special education services. The study gathered enrollment data over four school years from 2012-2016. This study may provide insight into the planning and allocation of resources needed to meet student needs, both of in-district and open enrollment students. Additionally, the study may aid educational administrators in planning for student growth, enrollment practices, and building relationships with school clientele. Given the study outcomes, school assignments for incoming open enrollment students to maximize educational resources and supports.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2016 Heather D. Nebesniak.

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