School Districts Where Students Are Least Likely to Succeed by State

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Source: Courtesy of Rapid City Area Schools District via Facebook

South Dakota: Rapid City School District 51-4
> Location: Meade and Pennington counties
> Per student spending: $8,537
> High school graduation rate: 75%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.8%

Though high per-student spending in school districts is by no means a guarantee students there will be more successful than those in lower spending districts, schools in poor districts can sometimes struggle to afford to maintain the building and hire as many teachers as are needed. In the Rapid City School District 51-4, schools spend just $8,537 per student, one of the lower per-pupil spending among public school districts both state and nationwide. The district’s high school graduation rate of just 75% is 10 percentage points below the national rate of 85%.

Source: Courtesy of Union County Public Schools

Tennessee: Union County School District
> Location: Union County
> Per student spending: $8,634
> High school graduation rate: 87%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 8.8%

Children whose parents have a college education have been shown to be more likely to do better in school and more likely to attend college themselves. In the Union County School District, however, only 8.8% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to the state’s 27.3% bachelor’s degree attainment rate. Preschool enrollment in the district is also quite low — just 18% of 3- and 4-year olds in the district are enrolled in preschool, less than half the statewide preschool enrollment rate of 39.5%

Source: Courtesy of Donna Independent School District via Facebook

Texas: Donna Independent School District
> Location: Hidalgo County
> Per student spending: $10,339
> High school graduation rate: 87%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 7.2%

Studies have shown that children who grow up in poverty are more likely to struggle in school and less likely to attend college than their peers from wealthier homes. Across the country, 17.3% of school-aged children live in poverty, but in the Texas Donna Independent School District, over half do, one of the highest child poverty rates in the state and the country. Children whose parents have a college education have been shown to be more likely to do better in school and more likely to attend college themselves. In this district, however, just 7.2% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, compared to 29.6% of adults statewide.

Source: Courtesy of Ogden School District via Facebook

Utah: Ogden School District
> Location: Weber County
> Per student spending: $8,396
> High school graduation rate: 69%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 19.8%

Students in school districts with lower per-pupil spending often do not receive the same quality of education as those in affluent, high-spending districts. In Utah’s Ogden School district, schools spend $8,396 per student annually, well below the $11,762 national average. The district’s 69% high school graduation rate is also one of the worst in the country.

Source: Courtesy of Burlington School District via Facebook

Vermont: Burlington School District
> Location: Chittenden County
> Per student spending: $18,804
> High school graduation rate: 84%
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 51.3%

As a whole, Vermont has one of the best education systems in the country, so while the Burlington School District ranks as the worst in the state, it compares favorably to many school districts nationwide. The district has a higher adult bachelor’s degree attainment rate and a lower child poverty rate than the nationwide figures. The district’s per-student spending of $18,804 is also the second highest of any district on this list.