Most school districts in the U.S. are independent local governments that have authority to determine their geographic boundaries. These boundaries may or may not be consistent with boundaries for other types of legal and statistical areas like counties, Congressional Districts, or Census tracts. As a result, school districts may have multiple spatial associations with other types of geographic areas e.g., a school district boundary may include territory in two different counties, or intersect three different Congressional Districts. The NCES EDGE school and agency location files and the NCES Common Core of Data (CCD) provides a limited set of geographic associations based on the location of the district administrative office. This information is useful, but not exhaustive.
The School District Geographic Relationship Files (GRF) were designed to provide a complete set of geographic associations between school districts and other types of geographic areas including counties, Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSA), Consolidated Statistical Areas (CSA), New England City and Town Areas (NECTA), Zip Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTA), Urban Areas, Congressional Districts (CD), places, Census tracts, and Census block groups. The GRFs are based on the Census Bureau’s TIGER/Line database, and the tables provide a separate record for each part of a district that is uniquely associated with one of the other geographic areas. The files are designed to help answer spatially-oriented questions like: How many Congressional Districts are represented in a school district? How many school districts in the U.S. serve more than one county? Which ZIP codes or Census tracts are included in a school district? And what portion of a school district is contained within a Metropolitan Area?