Special Report

Richest and Poorest School Districts

The Richest School Districts

10. Cold Spring Harbor Central School District, New York
> Median household income:
> Student enrollment: 1,977
> State per pupil spending: $19,818
> District per pupil spending: $27,203

Cold Spring Harbor, located on the northern shore of Long Island, is one of the wealthiest school districts in the country. A typical household in the town earns more than $180,000 per year, on average. Not surprisingly, the district spends more on its schools than all but a few other districts. Total annual spending amounted to more than $27,000 for each of the area’s 1,977 students. The district spends $17,538 per pupil on instructional costs alone, or roughly 2.7 times the average national instructional spending of $6,480 per pupil. Likely because of the substantial revenue the district is able to collect through property taxes, less than 10% of the district’s funding comes from state or federal sources. Across the country, an average of 54.7% of school districts’ funding comes from non-local sources, by contrast.

ALSO READ: America’s Most and Least Educated States: A Survey of All 50

9. Edgemont Union Free School District, New York
> Median household income:
> Student enrollment: 1,921
> State per pupil spending: $19,818
> District per pupil spending: $23,677

The typical household in the Edgemont Union Free School District earns about $130,000 more annually than the typical American household, making it the ninth wealthiest school district in the United States. Located in Scarsdale, New York, the district spends nearly $15,600 on instruction per pupil, more than double the amount school districts across the United States spend on average. Only 14.4% of its funding comes from state and federal governments, a significantly lower proportion than the average American school district that receives 54.7% of its funding from state and federal sources. Meanwhile, 83% of the district’s revenue comes from taxes and parent contributions, a much higher share from local sources than the national average. Across the nation, 38.9% of district’s’ funding comes from local sources.

8. Byram Hills Central School District, New York
> Median household income:
> Student enrollment: 2,647
> State per pupil spending: $19,818
> District per pupil spending: $25,763

Across the country, where the median annual household income is $53,046, schools are funded on average by equal parts from state and local sources — 45% each — and about 10% from federal funding. In the Byram Hills Central School District, where the typical household makes more than $185,000 annually, 89.9% of school funding comes from local sources. New York spends more on education than every other state. The Byram Hills school district spends $25,763 per student each year, well above the state expenditure, and about 2.5 times what the rest of the country’s districts spend on average. While the precise link between spending and outcomes in school systems is very controversial, the large investment in Byram Hills may be paying off. In the 2009-2010 school year, the high school graduation rate was 100%.

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