August 2006

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These three polygon layers depict the boundaries of, respectively, the elementary, middle, and high school districts for Massachusetts public schools. At each level, district boundaries may simply be those of a municipality or a district may be regional and cover the geographic area of multiple communities. Some communities are an elementary district or are part of a regional district only at the elementary or middle school level; for those school grades where a community is not a district or part of a regional district, they pay tuition to have a student attend another district. In these cases, a community is not included as part of the district boundary layer because it is not participating in the governance and funding of the overall district. So, for example, Savoy is an elementary school district but the polygon for the town is not part of a middle or high school district because middle and high school students are sent to a nearby district under a tuition agreement. The Town of Monroe is not part of a district polygon for elementary, middle, or high school, because the town provides schooling via a tuition agreement for students in all grades.

The district names are those recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Education.

For profiles of each school district in Massachusetts, see

These layers are stored in ArcSDE and distributed as SCHOOLDISTELEM_POLY, SCHOOLDISTMID_POLY, and SCHOOLDISTHIGH_POLY.


This layer was created by MassGIS from the Towns layer. Staff at the Department of Education (DOE) provided a database that listed each community in Massachusetts.  The record for each community included the "TOWN_ID" from the towns layer, along with the the DOE school district code for each community at each level of school (elementary, middle, and high).  In addition, each district's name and starting and ending grade were provided.  This database was joined to the towns layer on TOWN_ID.  Each district layer was created by "dissolving" on the elementary, middle, or high school district ID attribute, as appropriate for the data layer being created.


Each datalayer's polygon attribute table has the following items:
Unique numeric ID for each district; this number is the numeric portion of the DISTCODE4 attribute
The full DISTRICT name
The lowest grade offered by the district
The highest grade offered by the district
The four character code assigned to each district by the Massachusetts Department of Education
The eight character code assigned to each district by the Massachusetts Department of Education
A polygon will have null values for these attributes where a community does not participate in a particular district.


MassGIS maintains this datalayer in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Education. MassGIS edited the attributes of three district names (fir IDs 139, 182, 184) on October 16, 2006, at which time the shapefiles were replaced on the ftp site.
Also see the Schools layer.

Last Updated 10/16/2006