Special Report

The Best School District in Every State

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Kansas: Blue Valley Unified School District 229
> Location: Johnson County
> Annual per student spending: $10,500 (state: $11,926)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1 (state: 14:1)

The Blue Valley Unified School District 229 in Overland Park, Kansas, offers students the greatest opportunity for success of any district in the state. School review website Niche gives the district perfect scores for its teacher quality, academics, college prep, administration, and clubs and activities.

Children with college-educated parents are more likely to succeed academically. In the Blue Valley District, 70.9% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 32.9% bachelor’s degree attainment rate across Kansas.

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Kentucky: Fort Thomas Independent School District
> Location: Campbell County
> Annual per student spending: $11,086 (state: $11,291)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 17:1 (state: 16:1)

Students enrolled in one of the five schools in Kentucky’s Fort Thomas Independent School District have a greater chance for success than those in any other part of the state. While the district gets the highest possible marks for teacher quality, academics, college prep, and clubs and activities on school review website Niche, many advantages are outside of the classroom.

Children living in households facing serious financial hardship are less likely to succeed in school than those in financially secure households. Across the Fort Thomas District, just 3.5% of children live below the poverty line, well below the 19.2% child poverty rate across Kentucky.

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Louisiana: Cameron Parish School District
> Location: Cameron Parish
> Annual per student spending: $18,521 (state: $11,755)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 11:1 (state: 18:1)

Cameron Parish School District, located along the Gulf Coast in southwestern Louisiana, offers students the best chance for success of any district in the state. While the relationship between student outcomes and school spending is complicated, student experiences can certainly be enhanced by higher spending. In the Cameron District, annual spending totals $18,521 per pupil, well above the per pupil spending of $11,755 across Louisiana.

The higher spending may allow for the smaller than average class sizes in the school district. The local student-teacher ratio of 11-to-1 is far below the state average of 18-to-1.

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Maine: Falmouth
> Location: Cumberland County
> Annual per student spending: $16,611 (state: $14,614)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 11:1 (state: 12:1)

Conditions in the Falmouth school district, located just north of Portland, Oregon, offer students the greatest chance for success of any district in the state. The district spends $16,611 per pupil annually and has a student-to-teacher ratio of 11-to-1. Meanwhile, across Maine, average school spending totals $14,614, and there are 12 students for every teacher.

Additionally, school review website Niche gives the district perfect scores for its teacher quality, academics, college prep, and clubs and activities.

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Maryland: Howard County Public Schools
> Location: Howard County
> Annual per student spending: $16,084 (state: $15,148)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1 (state: 15:1)

Howard County Public Schools, a large district with nearly 60,000 students, ranks as the best in Maryland. Children of parents with high educational attainment are more likely to succeed academically. Across the district, 62.6% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 39.6% of adults across Maryland.

While the relationship between student outcomes and school spending is complicated, student experiences can certainly be enhanced by higher expenditures. In the Howard County District, annual spending totals $16,084 per pupil, higher than the comparable per pupil spending of $15,148 across Maryland.