Monday, June 11, 2012

Richest School Districts in America

Three of the Nation's Poorest Districts in Kentucky
Pineville, Monticello and Barbourville at the bottom

This from 24/7 Wall St:

The average income of Americans differs by state, county, city and ZIP code, obviously. At each level, the amount residents earn every year impacts available government services, health and overall quality of life. This is especially true when education is examined by school district.

24/7 Wall St. analyzed Census data from 2006 through 2010 for each of the more than 10,000 unified school districts in the United States. Wealth appears to have an outsized effect on education at the local level. Residents that live in wealthy school districts have among the best schools in the nation based on graduation rates, test scores and independent ratings of academic success. Children who attend these schools are more likely to earn a college degree than the national average. To illustrate the influence wealth and poverty have on educational attainment, 24/7 Wall St. examined the wealthiest and poorest school districts in the country.

Nearly all of the wealthiest school districts are within a short distance of one of the richest cities in the country. Other than one suburb of Portland, Ore., all of the wealthiest school districts are commuter towns of New York City, located in either Fairfield County, Conn., or Westchester County, N.Y. The poorest districts are rural communities scattered all over the country, from Ohio and Kentucky to Texas and Mississippi.

Compared to the national median income, the families in the most well-off districts are incredibly wealthy. In the 10 richest school districts, median incomes ranged from $175,766 to $238,000. By comparison, the national median household income from 2006 to 2010 was $51,914. Among the 10 wealthiest districts, between 48% and 64% earned $200,000. Nationally, only 5.4% of households earned more than that.

Median income in the poorest school districts was just as extreme. Annual median incomes in those districts ranged from $16,607 to $18,980, well below $22,314, the national poverty line for a household of four. In San Perlita Independent School District in Texas, one of the poorest districts in the country, 30% of residents earned less than $10,000 each year.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, all of the wealthiest school districts spend far more per pupil than the national average. The Darien, Conn., public school district spends $15,433 per student per year, more than 50% above the U.S. average of $10,591. The Edgemont, N.Y., public school spends more than $25,000 per student annually. Barbourville, Ky., the poorest school district, spends less than one-third that amount.

Not surprisingly, the richest schools are considered better than the poorest schools, based on measures used by the media to rank academic success. All of the richest school districts were included in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report Best High Schools list, except for Bronxville, which was ranked fourth in Newsweek’s Top 20 High Schools in the Northeast. U.S. News based its rankings on state test scores and college readiness, while Newsweek’s methodology included graduation rates, college acceptance and AP exams. The poorest school districts did not fare as well. Only two were included in the U.S. News rankings.

On a national level, nearly half of all property tax revenue goes to public school funding. As a result, most districts rely heavily on local funding. In the richest school districts, up to 90% of the school district budget is from residents’ taxes. Homeowners in these regions pay an average of $18,000 in Weston, Conn. to $43,000 in Bronxville, N.Y. Bronxville’s average property tax bill alone is more than twice the median household income of any of the poorest school districts on this list. By comparison, as little as 6% of school revenue is generated by local taxes in the poorest school districts, with state and federal funding making up the difference.

24/7 Wall St. used the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2006 to 2010 to measure the economic conditions of more than 10,000 unified school districts across the United States. After eliminating the districts with fewer than 10 school-aged children, those that are not unified and those that do not provide a K-12 curriculum, we identified the 10 districts with the highest median income among residents and the 10 with the lowest median income. We also considered income distribution, the percentage of children living in poverty, median home values and the percentages of adults holding high school and bachelor degrees in these school districts. From housing information site Trulia, we obtained academic test scores in all of the districts. Information on academic performance for each district also was based on the 2012 U.S. News Best High Schools, the 2012 Newsweek Top High Schools and individual district websites. 24/7 Wall St. contacted assessor’s offices to obtain average property taxes paid in these areas and relied on the National Center of Education Statistics for information on school funding.

The Poorest School Districts in America

10) Centennial School District R-1, Colo.

9) Pineville Independent School District, Ky.
>Median household income: $18,933
>Pct. households earning $200,000+: 1.3%
>Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 16.3%
>Expenditure per student: $9,829
>Pct. local funding: 12%
With a median household income of just $18,933, Pineville households earn more than $30,000 less than the national median. Similarly, the median home value is only $58,600 compared to the national median of $188,400. These low home values have affected the community’s abilities to provide for its own students through property taxes. The Pineville Independent School District spends $9,829 per student, and only 12% of that is provided by local residents. Less than 50% of high school students received proficient scores in writing or social studies on the Kentucky Core Content Tests.

8) San Perlita Independent School District, Tex.
7) New Boston Local School District, Ohio
6) Hayti R-II School District, Mo.
5) Santa Maria Independent School District, Tex.
4) West Bolivar School District, Miss.
3) North Bolivar School District, Miss.
2) Monticello Independent School District, Ky.
>Median household income: $16,778
>Pct. households earning $200,000+: 0%
>Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 18%
>Expenditure per student: $9,964
>Pct. local funding: 8%
With 18% of households earning less than $10,000 annually, and not a single household earning above $200,000 per year, the Monticello Independent School District is one of the poorest school districts in the U.S. Nearly 40% of Monticello household incomes are below the poverty line, and 43.4% receive food stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. In addition, median home value in Monticello is a meager $61,600, which is less than a third of the nation’s median home value. As a result, residents contribute just 8% to funding the district’s schools, or $892 per student. Only 60% of adults in the district have a high school diploma and 6.3% have a bachelor’s degree. On the Kentucky Core Content Tests, Monticello students were well below state proficiency levels on math and social studies.

1) Barbourville Independent School District, Ky.
>Median household income: $16,607
>Pct. households earning $200,000+: 0%
>Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 6.8%
>Expenditure per student: $8,178
>Pct. local funding: 16%
About one-third of households in the Barbourville Independent School District live well below the poverty line, earning less than $15,000 annually. The median home value in Barbourville is just $80,700, compared to the national average of $188,400. Poverty affects children in the district a great deal; an estimated 282 of the 680 children between 5 and 17 live in households with incomes below the poverty line. Surprisingly, U.S. News gave Barbourville’s high school a ranking on the 2012 Best High Schools list, explaining that Barbourville students received scores on their Kentucky Core Content Tests that were higher than state averages, despite the fact that 62% of the student body is “economically disadvantaged.”   
The Richest School Districts in America

1) Scarsdale Union Free School District, N.Y.
> Median household income: $238,000
> Pct. households earning $200,000+: 64.3%
> Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 0%
> Expenditure per student: $26,742
> Pct. local funding: 89%
With a median income of $238,000, the Scarsdale Union Free School District tops 24/7 Wall St.’s list of the wealthiest school districts in the country. In the district, just 35.7% of households earn less $200,000 a year. Because Scarsdale collects an average property tax of approximately $31,000, the district is able to spend a lot on education. Scarsdale provides 89% of funding for its own schools and spends $26,742 per student. The district’s schools are also among the best in the country. About 90% of eighth-grade students at Scarsdale Middle School meet or exceed NYSA’s standards, while in each subsection of the NYSA high school tests at least 90% of Scarsdale High School students had passing grades.

2) Weston School District, Conn.
3) Riverdale School District, Ore.
4) Chappaqua Central School District, N.Y.
5) Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District, N.Y.

6) Byram Hills Central School District, N.Y.
7) Edgemont Union Free School District, N.Y.
8) New Canaan School District, Conn.
9) Bronxville Union Free School District, N.Y.
10) Darien School District, Conn.


Anonymous said...

I think from an idealistic perspective we have held education up as the means by which all children of poverty are theoretically suppose to transend beyond their existing low SES conditions to become successful citizens.

For a pessimist, it would seem that we have the cart in front of the horse in that a student's SES is the actual predictor of their financial and educational future instead of school's being the catalyists.

Anonymous said...

A sad day at the University of Kentucky, when Chester Grundy is laid off.

Hope we can get some coverage and commentary here. UK does not do well with its black faculty and students...has been going on since the admission of blacks to the summer sessions following a court order by H. Church Ford in 1949

Anonymous said...

Though I don't know this individual personally, I find it somewhat disheartening that we should be any more concerned about his lay off than any other person at the University. Having served at UK for a number of years, I imagine that minority staff members of lesser noteriety were also left go among the mass reductions. Equally, I thought decrease in the ever increasing administrative ranks was what faculty have been clamering for. The reduction is due to fiscal reasons not a means of working toward numeric racial equalization. It is understandable that this individual's release may have symbolic implications, however, one must certainly also take into consideration that like all employees and administrators, his tasks responsibilities may have been considered best deligated to others in his department. Hopefully we are not trying to say that individuals of certain races should be immune from cuts