The personal finance website WalletHub has determined that Virginia has the 12th least equitable school districts in the United States with Roanoke County finishing as the most equitable school system in the commonwealth and Montgomery County coming in at 27.
As the website pointed out, the U.S. is one of the most educated countries in the world, but 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 do poorer districts.
Discrepancies between the rich and poor have been exacerbated even more this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WalletHub. Low-income students have suffered 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 website says. The difference is dramatic: College graduates have $524 to $1,112 higher median weekly earnings than people with a high school diploma and no college experience, depending on the degree.
Some districts within Virginia are fairer than others. To find out where school funding is distributed most equitably, WalletHub scored 132 districts in Virginia based on two metrics: average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil.
The survey determined that the ten most equitable school districts in Virginia with the amount spent per pupil within the system are (1) Roanoke County Public Schools, $10,475 (2) Henrico County Public Schools, $10,268 (3) Rockingham County Public Schools, $11,829 (4) Louisa County Public Schools, $12,194 (5) Madison County Public Schools, $12,498 (6) Richmond City Public Schools, $14,585 (7) Middlesex County Public Schools, $13,097 (8) Williamsburg-James City Public Schools, $12,457 (9) King William County Public Schools, $11,760 and (10) Colonial heights City Public Schools.