16. Kansas: Riverside Unified School District 114
> Location: Doniphan County
> Annual per student spending: $10,748
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 16.8%
Like most of the districts on this list, students in the Riverside Unified School District 114 are more likely to live in poor households with parents who have not received a college education than those in most districts statewide. An estimated 16.8% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree, which is about half the state and nationwide bachelor’s attainment rates.
17. Kentucky: Harlan County Public Schools
> Location: Harlan County
> Annual per student spending: $9,647
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 10.5%
The Harlan County School District, located in southeastern Kentucky, ranks as the worst district in the state. The conditions associated with poverty can detract considerably from overall academic performance. In the Harlan County School District, a staggering 42.5% of children age 5 to 17 live below the poverty line, double the state’s 20.5% child poverty rate.
Students in the district may also be at a disadvantage from lower than average school spending. Per pupil spending in the district is just $9,647 a year, below both the state annual spending per students of $10,121 and the national average spending of $12,201.
18. Louisiana: East Carroll Parish School District
> Location: East Carroll Parish
> Annual per student spending: $11,888
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 8.5%
Louisiana’s East Carroll Parish School District, in the northeast corner of the state, ranks as the worst in the state in our index of student opportunity for success. The district, which is one of the state’s smallest with roughly 1,000 students, has one of the highest student-to-teacher ratios in the state, at 19.3 to 1, and has a high school graduation rate of less than 70%.
The district has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country — almost two-third of district children 5 to 17 live in a household in poverty, the highest child poverty rate in the state and the fifth highest of any district in the United States.
19. Maine: Regional School Unit 10
> Location: Oxford County
> Annual per student spending: $15,388
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 16.9%
Maine’s Regional School Unit 10 district ranks as the worst school district in Maine due in large part to conditions outside the classroom. Children living below the poverty line face a number of challenges that can have a negative impact on their academic performance. In Western Foothills, 29.8% of school-aged children live below the poverty line, the highest child poverty rate of any school district in the state.
Children in the district are also less likely than most in the state to be raised by college-educated parents. Just 16.9% of adults in Western Foothills have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well below the 30.9% bachelor’s degree attainment rate across the state.
20. Maryland: Somerset County Public Schools
> Location: Somerset County
> Annual per student spending: $15,775
> Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 15.7%
In Maryland’s Somerset County Public Schools district, in the Southeast part of the state, less than a third of students tested as proficient in either math or reading.
The district also has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the state. It is also the only district in the state with an adult bachelor’s degree attainment rate less than half the national rate of 31.5%. It has a child poverty rate of 30% — the highest in the state.