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.
Pennsylvania has the 24th 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 499 districts in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania
|Rank*||School District||Score||Expeditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools per Pupil||Income by School District|
|1||Trinity Area School District||0.17||$15,478||$59,431|
|2||Big Spring School District||0.21||$15,135||$60,786|
|3||Catasauqua School District||0.24||$15,769||$58,514|
|4||Central York School District||0.28||$13,207||$68,821|
|5||Leechburg Area School District||0.31||$17,452||$51,803|
|6||Canon Mcmillan School District||0.35||$11,817||$74,439|
|7||Jefferson-Morgan School District||0.41||$15,443||$59,926|
|8||Westmont Hilltop School District||0.42||$13,229||$68,814|
|9||Wilson Area School District||0.47||$13,473||$67,868|
|10||Littlestown Area School District||0.51||$13,103||$68,757|
|11||Middletown Area School District||0.73||$15,985||$57,055|
|12||Harmony School District||0.88||$19,763||$41,806|
|13||Hempfield Area School District||1.2||$14,424||$63,035|
|14||Manheim Central School District||1.26||$14,218||$65,360|
|15||Ligonier Valley School District||1.35||$17,497||$52,252|
|16||Northern York County School District||1.49||$12,683||$71,656|
|18||Bethlehem Area School District||1.89||$14,463||$62,459|
|19||Central Dauphin School District||2.03||$13,925||$67,001|
|20||Reynolds School District||2.09||$16,510||$56,667|
|21||Susquehanna Township School District||2.1||$14,444||$64,959|
|22||Dover School District||2.12||$13,836||$64,833|
|23||Rochester Area School District||2.25||$19,307||$42,800|
|24||Allegeny-Clarion Valley School District||2.31||$17,535||$49,872|
|25||Northwest Area School District||2.42||$15,345||$58,596|
|26||South Butler County School||2.46||$13,599||$65,581|
|27||York Suburban School District||2.48||$13,841||$67,609|
|28||Forest City Regional School District||2.5||$17,369||$53,464|
|29||Gettysburg Area School District||2.53||$15,181||$62,268|
|30||Neshannock Township School District||2.59||$13,157||$70,423|
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.