While the U.S. is one of the most educated countries in the world, it doesn’t provide the same quality elementary school or secondary school education to all students. In many states, more affluent school districts receive a greater amount of funding per student than poorer districts.
Discrepancies between the rich and poor have been exacerbated even more this year by the COVID-19 pandemic. As states decide whether their school districts will have in-person learning this fall, studies show that low-income students will suffer the greatest “learning loss” due to partial or total remote learning. One contributing factor is that people in low-income districts are less likely to have the technological resources they need.
States that provide equitable funding to all school districts can help prevent poor students from having lower graduation rates, lower rates of pursuing higher education and smaller future incomes than their wealthy peers. The difference is dramatic: College graduates have $460 - $1,154 higher median weekly earnings than people with a high school diploma and no college experience, depending on the degree.
Alaska has the 15th least equitable school districts in the U.S. overall, but some districts within the state are fairer than others. To find out where school funding is distributed most equitably, WalletHub scored 53 districts in Alaska based on two metrics: average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil. Read on for the district ranking and a complete description of our methodology.
Note: For visual purposes, we included only the top 6 school districts by enrollment from each category. Rank 1 on the “Expenditures Ranking” means highest expenditures and Rank 1 on “Income Ranking” means lowest income.
Most & Least Equitable School Districts in Alaska
|Rank*||School District||Score||Expeditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools per Pupil||Income by School District|
|1||Chatham Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||0.35||$26,864||$63,333|
|2||Klawock City School District||1.54||$31,016||$54,821|
|3||Kodiak Island Borough School District||1.59||$20,499||$78,281|
|4||Yakutat School District||2.66||$26,382||$65,833|
|5||Southwest Region Schools||4.11||$35,883||$40,500|
|6||Tanana City School District||4.27||$36,064||$40,000|
|7||Skagway School District||4.95||$24,138||$72,237|
|8||Juneau Borough School District||5.20||$17,035||$88,213|
|9||Lower Kuskokwim Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||5.35||$31,030||$57,131|
|10||Dillingham City School District||6.90||$24,110||$73,500|
|11||Delta-Greely Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||9.43||$15,851||$81,855|
|12||Yukon Flats Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||10.77||$44,423||$30,625|
|13||Anchorage School District||11.24||$14,714||$83,280|
|14||Kuspuk Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||11.42||$39,721||$41,500|
|15||Bering Strait Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||11.98||$32,569||$43,047|
|16||Sitka Borough Schools||13.03||$19,491||$71,534|
|18||Fairbanks N Star Borough School District||13.72||$16,805||$77,095|
|19||Annette Island Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||15.45||$26,960||$53,409|
|20||Hoonah City School District||17.15||$31,314||$63,750|
|21||Pribilof Islands Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||17.35||$32,942||$60,250|
|22||Cordova City School District||17.36||$21,398||$85,970|
|23||Nome City School District||18.00||$23,606||$81,449|
|24||Petersburg City School District||19.51||$19,779||$66,907|
|25||Alaska Gateway Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||19.73||$36,685||$53,375|
|26||Ketchikan-Gateway Borough School District||23.24||$17,203||$70,356|
|27||Haines Borough School District||23.25||$19,900||$64,342|
|28||Matanuska Susitna Borough School District||24.80||$14,282||$75,905|
|29||Denali Borough School District||25.27||$10,430||$84,196|
|30||Northwest Arctic Borough Schools||27.71||$34,590||$62,949|
|31||Kenai Peninsula Borough School District||28.43||$17,417||$66,684|
|32||Southeast Islands Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||28.50||$40,134||$51,083|
|33||Wrangell City School District||28.68||$21,434||$57,583|
|34||Unalaska City School District||29.14||$21,820||$92,273|
|35||Kake City School District||31.95||$39,495||$54,625|
|36||Hydaburg City School District||33.15||$30,773||$34,028|
|37||Lower Yukon Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||33.49||$30,452||$34,535|
|38||St. Mary's School District||34.02||$26,521||$42,969|
|39||Iditarod Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||34.09||$28,828||$37,788|
|40||Kashunamiut School District||35.56||$28,213||$38,250|
|41||Craig City School District||36.56||$15,996||$64,853|
|42||Valdez City School District||43.13||$24,077||$95,847|
|43||Copper River Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||48.24||$18,353||$52,419|
|44||Aleutians East Borough School District||48.65||$37,335||$69,706|
|45||Lake And Peninsula Borough Schools||53.02||$49,000||$46,406|
|46||North Slope Borough Schools||53.33||$36,058||$75,431|
|47||Chugach Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||55.92||$15,477||$54,107|
|48||Bristol Bay Borough School District||58.05||$33,203||$84,688|
|49||Galena City School District||64.56||$6,940||$67,813|
|50||Yukon-Koyukuk Regional Educational Attendance Area (Reaa)||89.02||$12,880||$39,539|
|51||Nenana City School District||91.02||$9,317||$46,250|
|52||Pelican City School District||151.09||$65,250||$70,500|
|53||Aleutian Region School District||160.46||$73,111||$58,750|
In order to rank the states with the most and least equitable school districts, WalletHub first scored 12,919 school districts throughout the U.S. based on two metrics: average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil.
For expenditures, for each 1 percent above the state's average we removed 1 point from a base score of 50 points for each district. For household income, for each 1 percent above the state's average we added 1 point to a base score of 50 points for each district. The inverse was true for each 1 percent below the state's average.
The final score for each district was calculated by taking the absolute difference between the score for expenditures and the score for household income. We then ranked the districts based on the total score, with the lowest value, representing the most equitable, being ranked 1.
Sources: Data used to create this ranking were collected from of the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics.