Richest and Poorest School Districts

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3. New Boston Local School District, Ohio
> Median household income:
$16,892
> Student enrollment: 444
> State per pupil spending: $11,197
> District per pupil spending: $10,270

The typical American household makes $53,046 annually, more than three times the median household income in Ohio’s New Boston Local School District. Nearly half of the district’s residents live in poverty, and 43.9% of area households receive food stamps. In New Boston, investment in education is on par with the nation. As spending per student in American public schools averages $10,700 annually, spending per student in New Boston is $10,270. Graduation rates in the area also lag well behind national education levels. In the 2009-2010 school year, the graduation rate in New Boston was only 58.1%, an alarmingly low rate.

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2. Cairo Community Unit School District 1
> Median household income:
$16,829
> Student enrollment: 510
> State per pupil spending: $12,288
> District per pupil spending: $13,971

Located in southern Illinois, near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, the Cairo Community Unit School District 1 is one of the poorest in the country. The median annual household income in the Cairo district is $16,829, the second lowest of any school district in the country. Only 75.5% of area adults have a high school diploma, a significantly lower attainment rate than the national rate of 86.0%. While the Cairo district trails the nation in terms of income and education levels, it invests slightly more in education than most of the country. Average spending per pupil in Illinois’ poorest district comes to $13,971 annually, almost $3,300 more than the average nationwide spending per pupil of $10,700.

1. San Perlita Independent School District, Texas
> Median household income:
$16,384
> Student enrollment: 291
> State per pupil spending: $8,299
> District per pupil spending: $11,124

Across the country, where the median annual household income is $53,046, schools are funded on average by equal parts state and local sources — about 45% each — and roughly 9% federal funding. In the San Perlita Independent School District, where the typical household makes just $16,384 annually, just 20.8% of school funding comes from local sources. Scant local funds are supplemented by federal funding, which constitutes about one-fourth of the district’s budget. As a result, about $400 more is spent on average per student in San Perlita than is spent on the typical American student. More than half, 56.7%, of the district’s residents live in poverty, the fourth highest poverty rate of any district. Despite the district’s challenges, San Perlita has relatively good education outcomes. The high school graduation rate was 93.8% in 2010, about 32 percentage points higher than the average graduation rate of the nine next poorest districts.

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