The 10 Richest -- and Poorest -- School Districts in America
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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.
These are the richest school districts in America.
The Richest School Districts in America
5) Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District, N.Y.
> Median household income: $183,148
> Pct. households earning $200,000+: 55.6%
> Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 3.3%
> Expenditure per student: $27,938
> Pct. local funding: 82%
In the Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District, 55.6% of households earn more than $200,000. The median income of the district’s residents is $183,148 — more than three times the 2010 national median of $51,914. From the large property taxes in the region as well as other forms of local funding, the district is able to generate enough revenue from residents to spend as much as $27,938 per student. Briarcliff High School students significantly outperformed statewide averages on New York State Assessment tests. For all 10 sections of the tests, almost 100% of Briarcliff students recorded passing grades.
4) Chappaqua Central School District, N.Y.
> Median household income: $198,382
> Pct. households earning $200,000+: 55.7%
> Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 0.2%
> Expenditure per student: $24,705
> Pct. local funding: 84%
The Chappaqua Central School District in Westchester, N.Y., is regularly listed as one of the best school districts in the country. Chappaqua’s only public high school, Horace Greeley, is currently ranked the 14th-best high school in New York State by U.S. News, based on state test proficiency and college-readiness. The enormous $110 million budget — more than $24,705 per student — is 84% funded by Chappaqua residents’ taxes. The median home value in Chappaqua is $929,700 and the average property taxes are $23,500, according to the New Castle assessor’s office. More than 78% of adults in Chappaqua hold a bachelor’s degree, which is more than three times the national average.
3) Riverdale School District, Ore.
> Median household income: $199,167
> Pct. households earning $200,000+: 59.8%
> Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 1.9%
> Expenditure per student: $16,807
> Pct. local funding: 76%
The only school district outside Westchester County, N.Y., or Fairfield County, Conn, among the 10 wealthiest districts is Riverdale School District, where the median household earns almost $200,000 a year. With a median home value exceeding $1 million, the district is able to collect property taxes as needed to fund its educational initiatives. Though the district spends less per student than any of its East Coast counterparts, this has not limited educational success. Roughly 80% of 10th grade students met or exceeded state standards for math and more than 90% met or exceeded standards for reading. In both cases, Riverdale High School students far exceeded state averages for the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.