What is OREd?

The Operations Research and Education Laboratory (OREd) at the Institute for Transportation Research and Education scientifically addresses politically sensitive school planning issues. Using evidence-based approaches, OREd addresses district membership projections, determining the location of new school sites, creating new attendance boundaries, and examining demographic balance.  Founded in 1990 by Dr. Raymond Taylor, Professor Emeritus, College of Education, NCSU, serves school districts with 5,000 to 150,000 students in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi.

What is a Land Use Study?

The OREd Land Use Study is a foundational component of all major enrollment forecasting, school siting, and attendance zone projects. Land Use Studies involve interviews with municipal and county planning agencies as well as advanced GIS (Geographic Information Systems) data collection and analysis. Through these approaches, OREd is able to gain understanding of the key short and long term factors that are or will drive enrollment changes within the district. As part of a Land Use Study, the district has an opportunity to strengthen ties with the municipal and county planning agencies that can yield lasting relational and data-sharing benefits.

What is an SGR?

An SGR (or Student Generation Rate) is the number of students either currently or expected to join a district due to a residential development divided by the number of lots or units in that development. For example, an existing apartment complex may have a current SGR of 0.45 students per apartment unit. That means that for every 100 units, 45 K-12 students reside in that complex. OREd predicts the impact of future single family homes, apartments, and other developments based on the SGRs of similar existing developments within the district that are already producing students.

What is a Planning Segment?

Schools districts and attendance zones are far too large to analyze to create enrollment forecasts. OREd analyses the district carefully and divides it into hundreds of Planning Segments which form the basis for analysis and predictions. They are created so that:

What information does OREd need from the Board of Education?

For any effort involving reassignment, the most critical information OREd needs is a clear set of priorities from the Board of Education. OREd provides attendance zone options (called scenarios) based on these criteria. Balancing facility utilization, maintaining feeder patterns, balancing demographic metrics, and many other factors can create vastly different attendance zone scenarios. Establishing the Board’s priorities early not only aids communication and transparency with the public, but can also support a smooth and timely reassignment process.

What is an “optimal” school site?

The “OR” in OREd stands for Operations Research, a branch of mathematics dealing with solving problems that have many variables.  An optimal school site is one that minimizes student travel distance for all students in the impacted area while also satisfying constraints on building capacity or school demographics.  Optimal school sites generated by the OREd process are particularly useful to school districts that are experiencing growth by locating schools in areas best suited to accommodate future growth.

What is GIS?

OREd planners use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software to analyze the geographic data associated with all school planning projects. Data such as school locations, attendance zones, and new residential developments are spatial data and advanced GIS software can help OREd experts conduct novel analysis and research.

What is a Scenario?

OREd Scenarios are maps showing proposed attendance zones. Often multiple Scenarios are presented which fulfill different Board policy objectives, such as balancing utilization or student testing proficiency. OREd’s Operations Research (OR) techniques form defensible assignment Scenarios that can provide new zones when new schools open, dissolve existing school attendance zones for school closures, or rebalance student populations between existing schools.