Special Report

The Best School District in Every State

Source: peeterv / Getty Images

Montana: Frenchtown K-12 Schools
> Location: Missoula County
> Size: 4 schools; 1,345 students
> Annual per student spending: $9,929 (state: $11,988)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 14:1 (state: 14:1)

The Frenchtown School District in western Montana, just outside of Missoula, ranks as the best district in the state. 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 Frenchtown district, 6.6% of children live below the poverty line, less than half Montana’s 14.2% child poverty rate.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Nebraska: Elkhorn Public Schools
> Location: Douglas County
> Size: 17 schools; 10,322 students
> Annual per student spending: $9,672 (state: $12,743)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 16:1 (state: 14:1)

The Elkhorn School District, located just west of Omaha, Nebraska, ranks as the best school district in the state. School district and community data website Niche gives Elkhorn top marks for academics, teacher quality, college prep, and administration.

Children of parents with high educational attainment are more likely to succeed academically. In Elkhorn, 59.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to just 31.3% of adults in Nebraska.

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Nevada: Pershing County School District
> Location: Pershing County
> Size: 5 schools; 674 students
> Annual per student spending: $18,427 (state: $9,344)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 9:1 (state: 10:1)

The Pershing County School District in northwestern Nevada offers students more advantages than any other district in the state. The district gets high marks from Niche for teacher quality, diversity, administration, and resources and facilities.

While the relationship between student outcomes and school spending is complicated, student experiences can certainly be enhanced by higher expenditures. In the Pershing County District, annual spending totals $18,427 per pupil, higher than the per pupil spending of $9,344 across Nevada

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

New Hampshire: Oyster River Cooperative School District
> Location: Strafford County
> Annual per student spending: $19,051 (state: $17,462)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 12:1 (state: 12:1)

There are just over 2,000 students in the Oyster River Cooperative School District in New Hampshire’s Strafford County — which ranks as the best school district in the state. School district and community data website Niche gives the district top marks for academics, teacher quality, and health and safety.

Children of parents with high educational attainment are more likely to succeed academically. In the Oyster River district, 65.4% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, well above the 36.5% share across the state.

Source: SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

New Jersey: Mountain Lakes Borough School District
> Location: Morris County
> Annual per student spending: $29,737 (state: $20,512)
> Student-to-teacher ratio: 9:1 (state: 12:1)

The Mountain Lakes Borough School District in northern New Jersey offers students the best chance for success of any district in the state. Students in the area are far more likely than most other students in the state to live in home environments where education is valued and academics are prioritized as 85.8% of adults in the district have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 38.9% of adults in New Jersey.

Mountain Lakes is also a wealthy area, meaning the district has a strong tax base to fund school operations. Partially as a result, school spending in the area totals nearly $30,000 per pupil, compared to $20,512 across New Jersey.

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