Special Report

The Best School District in Every State

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Colorado: Aspen School District 1
> Location: Pitkin County
> Annual per student spending: $19,901 (state: $11,030)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1 (state: 17:1)

Aspen School District 1 has about 1,650 students across five schools in west-central Colorado. School review website Niche gives the district the highest possible marks for college prep, resources and facilities, and teachers. Children in the district also benefit from small class sizes, with one teacher for every 13 students, well below the statewide average student-teacher ratio of 17-to-1.

Aspen is also a wealthy area, meaning the district has a strong tax base to fund operations. Partially as a result, school spending in the area totals over $19,901 per pupil, compared to $11,030 across Colorado.

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Connecticut: Regional School District 12
> Location: Litchfield County
> Annual per student spending: $35,082 (state: $21,310)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 9:1 (state: 12:1)

Regional School District 12, which covers the towns of Bridgewater, Roxbury, and Washington in Connecticut’s Litchfield County ranks as the best school district for student success in the state. The district’s per-pupil spending of $35,082 is nearly the highest in the state and well above the average expenditure of $21,310 per student across Connecticut.

The greater than average spending may partially explain the smaller than average class sizes in the district. There are about nine students for every teacher in the district, compared to the statewide average student-teacher ratio of 12-to-1.

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Delaware: Brandywine School District
> Location: New Castle County
> Annual per student spending: $17,615 (state: $16,315)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1 (state: 14:1)

Of all school districts in Delaware, students in the Brandywine district in New Castle County have the greatest chances for success. Students in the district benefit from higher than average investment in education on a per-pupil basis.

Children with college-educated parents are statistically more likely to succeed academically than those with parents who have no higher educational attainment. In the Brandywine School District, 44.2% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, the largest share of any district in the state and well above the 31.4% bachelor’s degree attainment rate across Delaware.

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Florida: Sarasota County School District
> Location: Sarasota County
> Annual per student spending: $11,595 (state: $9,645)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 15:1 (state: 17:1)

Sarasota County School District, located along the Gulf Coast just south of Tampa Bay, ranks as the best district in Florida. The greater likelihood of future success for students in the district is largely a product of conditions outside of the classroom. For example, poverty can greatly reduce a child’s chance for academic success, and in the district, 11.0% of children live below the poverty line, compared to Florida’s 16.9% child poverty rate.

Additionally, school review website Niche gives the district high marks for college prep and academics. The Sarasota district also has smaller than average class sizes.

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Georgia: Decatur City School District
> Location: DeKalb County
> Annual per student spending: $12,851 (state: $11,228)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1 (state: 15:1)

The Decatur City School District in DeKalb County ranks as the best school district in Georgia. Students in the area benefit from small class sizes with a student-teacher ratio of 13-to-1, below the state average of 15-to-1.

Outside of the classroom, local students are more likely than most to live in home environments with college-educated adults — making them more likely to succeed academically. In the Decatur City School District, 74.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 30.7% bachelor’s degree attainment rate across Georgia.