Special Report

The Best School District in Every State

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South Dakota: Harrisburg School District 41-2
> Location: Lincoln County
> Annual per student spending: $9,448 (state: $10,139)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1 (state: 14:1)

Harrisburg School District ranks as the best for student success in South Dakota. While the school system itself is generally well regarded, many advantages local students have are outside of the classroom. For example, children of parents with a college education are more likely to succeed academically, and in the Harrisburg district, 40.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 28.5% share of adults in South Dakota who do.

Additionally, children growing up in households facing serious financial hardship can be at a considerable disadvantage academically, and in the Harrisburg district, 2.7% of children live in poverty, well below the 13.6% state child poverty rate.

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Tennessee: Williamson County School District
> Location: Williamson County
> Annual per student spending: $9,354 (state: $9,868)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 17:1 (state: 16:1)

The Williamson County School District, located just south of Nashville, ranks as the best district in Tennessee. According to the school and neighborhood rating website, Niche, the district excels in a number of areas, including college prep, academics, clubs and activities, and teacher quality.

Children in the district are also more likely than most to have college-educated parents — which is a predictor of academic success. In the Williamson County district, 62.0% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 26.6% share of adults in Tennessee who do.

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Texas: Eanes Independent School District
> Location: Travis County
> Annual per student spending: $10,251 (state: $9,827)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1 (state: 15:1)

Eanes Independent School District, located just outside of Austin, Texas, ranks as the best school district in the state. Class sizes in the district are slightly smaller than they are on average across the state, allowing for students to have more individualized instruction from teachers.

Outside the classroom, many students in the district have college-educated parents — which is a predictor of academic success. An estimated 81.8% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to just 29.3% of adults in Texas.

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Utah: Park City School District
> Location: Summit County
> Annual per student spending: $14,110 (state: $8,014)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 18:1 (state: 23:1)

The Park City School District, located in northern Utah outside of Salt Lake City, offers students the best chance for academic success in the state. The district’s per-pupil spending of $14,110 is well above the average expenditure of $8,014 per student across Utah.

The greater than average spending may partially explain the smaller than average class sizes in the district. There are about 18 students for every teacher in the district, compared to the statewide average student-teacher ratio of 23-to-1.

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Vermont: Hartford School District
> Location: Windsor County
> Annual per student spending: $23,359 (state: $20,315)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 9:1 (state: 11:1)

The Hartford School District, located in east-central Vermont, ranks as the best school district in the state. Students in the district benefit from small class sizes, with an average of nine students for every teacher — a slightly lower ratio than the 11-to-1 average across the state.

Additional advantages outside of the classroom in the district include a well-educated adult population. Children of parents with a college education are more likely to succeed academically, and in the Hartford district, 48.0% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 37.3% share of adults in Vermont who do.