Open enrollment in Florida is here. Your child can attend any public school anywhere, if there is space. Hernando opened up all 5, 8, 11 and 12th grades so children could switch to a school outside their zoned school. Once those grades were filled, they would open up 10th grades as well as others where demand exists.
It was a big shuffle even though parents had to arrange transportation for their children. Not everyone was satisfied. Five schools were overcrowded and could not accept over 500 students who applied.
Open enrollment may not impact some counties too much. They already have allowed students to transfer. Movement across county lines could increase especially where parents work in one county and live in another. Unfortunately, when students leave a school, they take their state funding with them. As a result, schools with declining enrollments have even more problems providing a quality education.
There are cities that try to organize choice in order to balance the school population. In Minneapolis, for example, all students are enrolled in an area lottery. A child may apply to one of three schools that are relatively nearby. The assignment of students and teachers as well as special programs is planned to allow high quality programs at each school. It is a way to balance socio-economic characteristics to ensure there are advanced classes as well as extra support in every school.
Rural schools do not have much choice. Leon county schools does enroll children from neighboring counties, but those rural schools that remain have problems not only with funding, but also with teacher recruitment. The long term answer may be technology, but that too is in scarce supply.