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.
Arizona has the 7th 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 204 districts in Arizona 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 7 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 Arizona
|Rank*||School District||Score||Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools per Pupil||Income by School District|
|1||Flagstaff School District 1||0.27||$8,643||$61,245|
|2||Union School District 62||0.29||$7,251||$66,969|
|3||Coolidge School District 21||0.5||$9,709||$57,227|
|4||St. John's Unified School District 1||0.72||$9,531||$58,064|
|5||Tempe Union High School District 213||0.81||$7,825||$64,354|
|6||Canon Elementary School District 50||1.3||$14,275||$38,796|
|7||Maricopa School District 20||1.97||$7,474||$67,146|
|8||Duncan Unified School District 2||2.18||$11,310||$49,329|
|9||Laveen School District 59||2.26||$7,016||$66,982|
|10||Santa Cruz Valley Union High School District 840||2.58||$12,515||$44,167|
|11||Bicentennial Union High School District 76||2.69||$16,468||$30,432|
|12||Red Rock School District 5||2.69||$7,088||$69,087|
|13||Hayden-Winkelman School District 41||2.78||$14,176||$39,922|
|14||Fort Thomas School District 7||2.85||$14,381||$36,349|
|15||Peoria Unified School District 11||2.87||$7,284||$65,585|
|16||Madison Elementary School District 38||3.34||$7,525||$64,363|
|17||Peach Springs Unified School District||4.2||$14,101||$36,845|
|18||Solomonville School District 5||4.22||$10,383||$56,250|
|19||Pomerene School District 64||4.44||$12,290||$48,500|
|20||Sahuarita School District 30||4.52||$7,065||$70,069|
|21||Littleton Elementary School District 65||4.58||$7,545||$63,681|
|22||Saddle Mountain Unified School District||4.74||$8,912||$62,565|
|23||Kayenta Unified School District 27||5.18||$17,186||$23,656|
|24||Buckeye Union High School District 201||5.31||$8,672||$63,832|
|25||Continental School District 39||5.72||$11,444||$52,605|
|26||Window Rock Consolidated School District 8||6.5||$14,632||$33,545|
|27||Kirkland School District 23||6.77||$15,703||$35,565|
|28||Red Mesa Unified School District 27||7.5||$18,534||$24,253|
|29||J.O. Combs Elementary School District 44||7.54||$7,079||$71,475|
|30||Tuba City Unified School District 15||7.56||$13,219||$38,854|
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.