Few public services in the United States contain such stark differences in quality as the public education system. While there are several school districts that spend more than $50,000 per student on education each year, in other districts education expenditures amount to less than $2,000 per student.
That difference in spending contributes to major disparities in student outcomes throughout the country. The majority of a school’s budget is spent on staff and teacher salaries. A school that is able to attract the best teachers can give their students a major advantage.
Those advantages are often the greatest in the most affluent parts of the country. Approximately 44% of all school funding in the United States comes from local sources such as property tax. As a result, most of the highest quality school districts are in wealthy counties where a majority of households make more than double that of the typical American household.
To determine the best school district in every state, 24/7 Wall St. developed an index based on various measures of child poverty, per-pupil expenditure, graduation rate, teachers per student, the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree, preschool enrollment, and AP enrollment.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this piece incorrectly labeled Kansas’s best school district as “Wenatchee School District.” The school district’s name is Blue Valley Unified School District 229. The name has been corrected.