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Local school data is often one of the primary criteria that buyers and renters use to guide their home search. With that in mind, SchoolDigger.com is partnering with ATTOM to make sure that this crucial information is as widely available and as up-to-date as possible. Read on to learn more.

Bringing School Data to the Masses

While school and school district data are often considered invaluable information, this information hasn’t always been easy to access. According to Pete Claar, the founder of SchoolDigger.com, it has historically been difficult for the vast majority of people to find the most recent school data sets and use them to make informed decisions.

While the vast majority of school information can be found online, it comes from a wide variety of sources. Some data is released on the federal level while individual states and municipalities manage other datasets. To make matters worse, each entity organizes and presents the information in its own unique way.

Before he launched his website in 2006, there was no central resource that allowed visitors to easily compare all of the available information in one place and in a format that was easy to digest.

“I’m a ‘database nerd’ so compiling the data for the site initially began as a hobby. I was able to write code to help me parse the data easily,” explains Claar.  “But, back then, it would have been pretty hard for the average person to get a complete picture of what each school had to offer.”

Realizing the Limitations of Publicly Available Data

Since its launch, SchoolDigger.com has earned a reputation as a top supplier of free school and school district rankings and supplementary metrics, such as test scores and student/teacher ratios. Notably, the site also offers historical data so visitors can get a sense of how a particular school has performed over time.

However, one of the most popular datasets, especially among those looking for a new home, is the site’s school attendance boundary data. Incidentally, Claar admits that this data was also some of the most difficult to keep up to date, at least when using publicly available sources.

“I started out using a national database of school attendance boundaries years ago,” he says, “but I was frustrated to discover that the updating of the database was discontinued, which became a huge problem for people who visited SchoolDigger. School boundaries change all the time and displaying out-of-date boundaries on my site was unacceptable.”

This became a sticking point for Claar. For him, it’s a point of pride to have his data be fresher than his competitors’.

“Whenever new test scores are released, I have them up on SchoolDigger the same day even though some of my competitors wait weeks or months to update that information. So, it made me really uncomfortable knowing that the boundary data was so dated,” he explains.

Partnering with ATTOM to Provide the Freshest Data Available

Eventually, Claar had enough of the lagging national database and started searching for another data provider. In time, he found ATTOM and began licensing their bulk school attendance boundary data to publish on his site.

“ATTOM’s boundary data is updated quarterly, which makes it one of the most up-to–date products on the market,” says Claar. “Its timeliness makes it more accurate, which is certainly appreciated by everyone who visits SchoolDigger.”

While his first priority is ensuring visitors have the information they need to make informed decisions, the quality of the data isn’t the only reason why SchoolDigger’s relationship with ATTOM has grown into a long-term partnership.

Claar provides ATTOM with other school data as well. In his mind, the two-way relationship he’s formed with the ATTOM team makes all the difference.

“I’ve worked with a lot of people in the company, from accounting to data and sales. They’re all a really great crew and they’re very quick to respond to issues,” he admits.”I have nothing but good things to say about them.”

He feels it’s likely this symbiotic arrangement will only continue to grow over time. As his site expands and so does the breadth of ATTOM’s offerings.

“We’re always talking about new datasets,” he says.” People find great value in this information. There’s a market for it.”

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