Equity has long been a buzzword in education, and even topics like school funding aren’t exempt from the conversation. It’s no secret that students in low-income school districts are less likely to have access to high-quality curriculum and digital resources, and in many cases, their schools don’t receive as much funding as those in affluent communities do.
However, a new report from WalletHub gives Western Kentuckians a reason to celebrate: seven of the top fifteen most equitably funded school districts in the state all hail from the West Kentucky Educational Cooperative (WKEC) region.
According to the report, which was based on data taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics, the districts of Union, Ballard, Murray Independent, Muhlenberg, Hickman, Henderson, and Hopkins headline the list of Kentucky’s 173 school districts in equitable funding. While funding is not the only factor that impacts school outcomes, studies have shown that strategic spending can help raise graduation rates and secure new resources for disadvantaged students.
As for how the study was conducted, here’s what finance writer Adam McCann has to say.
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.
As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on and questions concerning school funding continue to be tossed around in the air, this report is certainly good news for the students and families of these seven Western Kentucky school districts.
You can read the rest of Kentucky’s rankings here and check out how they match up with other states here.