Special Report

The Best School District in Every State

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Hawaii: Hawaii Public Schools
> Location: Honolulu County
> Annual per student spending: $16,132 (state: $16,132)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 15:1 (state: 15:1)

The whole of Hawaii is covered by a single school district, and as a result, the Hawaii Public School district, which manages nearly 300 schools and has over 180,000 students, ranks as the best district in the state by default.

By some key measures, public school students in Hawaii are on better footing for success than most public school students nationwide. For example, there are an average of 15 students for every teacher in the district, one fewer than the national average. Additionally, Hawaii’s child poverty rate of 10.5% is well below the 15.8% national average.

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Idaho: Blaine County School District 61
> Location: Blaine County
> Annual per student spending: $15,661 (state: $7,985)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 13:1 (state: 18:1)

The Blaine County School District 61 in south-central Idaho ranks as the best in the state for student success. The district receives high marks on school review website Niche for college prep, academics, and teacher quality. Students in the district also benefit from small class sizes as the local student-teacher ratio of 13-to-1 is below the state average of 18-to-1.

School spending is also higher in the district on a per pupil basis than it is in much of the state. The Blaine County District spends $15,661 per student annually, compared to the average spending across the state of less than $8,000 per student per year.

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Illinois: Lisle Community Unit School District 202
> Location: DuPage County
> Annual per student spending: $27,166 (state: $16,227)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 12:1 (state: 15:1)

The Lisle Community Unit School District 202, located just outside of Chicago, ranks as the best district for student success in Illinois. The district receives high marks on school review website Niche for college prep, academics, and teacher quality. Students in the district also benefit from small class sizes as the local student-teacher ratio of 12-to-1 is below the state average of 15-to-1.

School spending is also higher in the district on a per pupil basis than it is in much of the state. The Lisle Community Unit School District spends $27,166 per student annually, compared to the average spending across the state of less than $16,500 per student per year.

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Indiana: West Lafayette Community School Corporation
> Location: Tippecanoe County
> Annual per student spending: $11,487 (state: $10,397)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 16:1 (state: 17:1)

Students in the West Lafayette Community School District in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, have generally greater academic advantages than those in any other district in the state. Children with college-educated parents are more likely to succeed in school. In the West Lafayette district, 70.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 25.9% bachelor’s degree attainment rate across Indiana.

Additionally, on school review website Niche, West Lafayette gets the highest possible marks for teacher quality, academics, and college prep.

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Iowa: Gilbert Community School District
> Location: Story County
> Annual per student spending: $10,036 (state: $11,907)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 16:1 (state: 14:1)

Conditions — both in and out of the classroom — in the Gilbert Community School District, just north of Des Moines, Iowa, offer students the best chance for success in the state. School review website Niche gives the district high marks for its teacher quality, academics, college prep, administration, and resources and facilities.

Advantages outside the classroom include relative financial security among local families and a well-educated adult population. Only 2.0% of local children live below the poverty line, compared to 11.7% of children in Iowa, and 63.9% of adults in the district have a college degree or higher, compared to 28.2% of adults in Iowa.