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.
Iowa has the 5th most 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 333 districts in Iowa 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 Iowa
|Rank*||School District||Score||Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools per Pupil||Income by School District|
|1||Odebolt Arthur Community School District||0.05||$12,576||$51,389|
|2||Adair-Casey Community School District||0.08||$12,694||$50,673|
|3||Manson-Northwest Webster Community School District||0.18||$11,439||$57,366|
|4||West Central School District||0.27||$11,278||$58,500|
|5||Woodbine Community School District||0.27||$10,313||$63,693|
|6||Monticello Community School District||0.51||$11,559||$57,132|
|7||North Fayette Community School District||0.66||$12,579||$50,945|
|8||Stratford Community School District||0.8||$11,839||$55,795|
|9||Janesville Consolidated School District||0.8||$9,199||$70,000|
|10||Waco Community School District||0.93||$10,413||$63,542|
|11||Montezuma Community School District||0.96||$10,173||$64,851|
|12||Sumner-Fredericksburg Community School District||1.13||$10,862||$61,250|
|13||Bennett Community School District||1.17||$8,954||$71,538|
|14||Des Moines Independent Community School District||1.36||$12,635||$51,850|
|15||Calamus-Wheatland Community School District||1.47||$11,473||$58,167|
|16||Central Springs Community School District||1.49||$10,739||$62,125|
|17||Kingsley-Pierson Community School District||1.56||$11,017||$58,816|
|18||Schleswig Community School District||1.64||$9,891||$64,821|
|19||Central Lyon Community School District||1.78||$10,706||$62,473|
|20||Cedar Falls Community School District||1.82||$10,902||$61,442|
|21||Eldora-New Providence Community School District||1.84||$11,936||$53,702|
|22||Brooklyn-Guernsey-Malcom Community School District||1.88||$11,583||$55,581|
|23||Humboldt Community School District||2.01||$12,252||$51,903|
|24||Iowa City Community School District||2.04||$11,375||$56,601|
|25||Grundy Center Community School District||2.19||$10,950||$61,406|
|26||East Sac County School District||2.22||$11,600||$55,286|
|27||Vinton-Shellsburg Community School District||2.22||$11,303||$56,883|
|28||Tripoli Community School District||2.54||$10,611||$60,417|
|29||Mediapolis Community School District||2.55||$11,145||$60,572|
|30||Madrid Community School District||2.64||$9,634||$68,750|
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.