Disparities in school spending has been a point of contention in the American public education system for decades. Because public schools typically receive the bulk of their funding from local sources such as property taxes, wealthy districts are often better funded than poorer ones.
Though the relationship between school spending and student outcomes is controversial, studies have shown that higher per-pupil spending correlates with a range of improved outcomes – including a reduced likelihood of poverty in adulthood. (Here is a look at the worst school district in each state.)
Still, there are countless variables – both inside the classroom and outside of it – that can impact a student’s likelihood of success. One of them is financial security at home.
A recent report published by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that children from low-income households who receive high scores on standardized aptitude tests in kindergarten have only a 3 in 10 chance of graduating from college and landing a good entry-level job as a young adult. Meanwhile, children from well-off families who score poorly on the same tests have a 7 in 10 chance. For students from low-income families, setbacks can be more difficult to recover from due to limited supporting resources.
This study suggests that even if per-pupil spending were equal across the thousands of school districts in the United States, students in high-income areas would still have a considerable advantage. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and National Center for Education Statistics, 24/7 Wall St. identified the richest school districts in each state. School districts are ranked by average household income in the district, and only districts with at least 100 students and income data were considered.
Among the districts on this list, average annual household income ranges from $90,500 to over $450,000. In the majority of these school districts, graduation rates are 90% or higher.
Notably, despite a strong tax base, per-pupil spending among these districts is not always especially high. Due in part to federal and state subsidy programs that help equalize school funding, per-pupil spending in just under half of the districts on this list falls below the comparable statewide average. (Here is a look at how much each state spends on its public schools.)
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