HUMBOLDT, Kan. (KSNF/KODE) — Every child is born to a unique set of circumstances. And it is these different social, familial, economic, environmental, and many other factors, that help shape who they become. While these conditions are countless, a handful of factors play an outsized role in a child’s development and the likelihood for future success, including academic success.

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Whether or not a child succeeds academically can depend considerably on school quality. A student who falls behind in one school district might have excelled academically in another. And, It’s not always limited to the classroom — many of the strongest influences on a child’s future are in the home environment, and the resources a child may have or not have there.

The Humboldt Unified School District 258 in eastern Kansas ranks as the worst district in the state. Per pupil spending in the distinct totals just $9,187 a year, well below the $11,926 average spending statewide. While higher investment in education is no guarantee of improved outcomes, it can translate to certain advantages, such as small class sizes. In the Humboldt district, there are 22 students per teacher, well above the student-teacher ratio of 14-to-1 across the Sunflower State.

According to neighborhood and school district review site Niche, Humboldt compares poorly to other districts in the state in college prep, academics, clubs and activities, and resources and facilities.

In the following chart, you’ll find the worst school district in every state, according to these four measures: Child poverty rate, teacher-to-student ratio, per-pupil spending, and the share of adults with a college education. All data came from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Education Statistics.


StateDistrictEnrollmentAnnual Per-Pupil Spending ($)Student-Teacher RatioAdults With A 4-Year Degree or Higher (%)
AlabamaEufaula City School District5,427$5,29838:116.5%
AlaskaLower Yukon School District2,006$31,57516:13.8%
ArizonaGadsden School District 325,274$7,64936:1N/A
ArkansasForrest City School District2,531$11,65516:110.2%
CaliforniaMendota Unified School District3,543$12,746N/A2.4%
ColoradoLas Animas School District RE-12,309$8,04960:19.7%
ConnecticutWaterbury School District18,751$18,11013:115.7%
DelawareWoodbridge School District2,526$15,02715:114.3%
FloridaHamilton County School District1,610$11,21220:17.9%
GeorgiaTreutlen County School District1,122$10,63113:112.4%
HawaiiHawaii Department of Education181,278$16,13215:133.0%
IdahoOneida County School District 3512,464$5,34521:117.1%
IllinoisPrairie Hills Elementary School District 1442,802$13,08220:1N/A
IndianaUnion School Corporation3,371$4,18822:116.3%
IowaClayton Ridge Community School District1,020$9,53626:117.7%
KansasHumboldt Unified School District 258955$9,18722:115.4%
KentuckyMcCreary County School District2,878$11,06617:17.2%
LouisianaMadison Parish School District1,243$12,45721:112.8%
MaineSchool Administrative District 681,015$4,45120:123.5%
MarylandBaltimore City Public Schools79,297$15,88816:131.9%
MassachusettsChelsea School District6,088$15,67615:118.5%
MichiganRiver Rouge School District2,279$11,34926:18.9%
MinnesotaWorthington Public School District3,904$10,56622:115.3%
MississippiNorth Bolivar Consolidated School District937$10,19915:116.5%
MissouriHayti R-II School District667$9,94513:15.3%
MontanaBrowning H S Dist 9615$12,46216:1N/A
NebraskaLexington Public Schools3,104$11,97115:112.5%
NevadaWhite Pine County School District1,655$10,54328:113.2%
New HampshireBerlin School District1,159$17,73912:112.4%
New JerseyTrenton City School District14,500$16,79116:112.2%
New MexicoWest Las Vegas Public Schools1,539$12,45516:113.4%
New YorkNiagara Falls City School District7,159$18,52420:118.7%
North CarolinaRobeson County Schools22,044$9,97916:113.7%
North DakotaWilliams County School District 8653$10,22726:1N/A
OhioClearview Local School District1,654$9,77020:111.9%
OklahomaCarnegie Public Schools554$11,06014:114.4%
OregonMarcola School District593$9,52138:119.0%
PennsylvaniaGreater Johnstown School District2,984$13,55815:112.4%
Rhode IslandCentral Falls School District2,695$17,43214:18.1%
South CarolinaDillon School District 44,134$9,51017:110.5%
South DakotaTodd County School District 66-12,099$13,48513:115.6%
TennesseeUnion County School District4,509$7,85220:19.9%
TexasEdgewood Independent School District10,234$9,92216:14.6%
UtahUintah School District7,257$8,36524:115.8%
VermontSt. Johnsbury Town School District1,070$13,18723:1N/A
VirginiaColonial Beach Public Schools671$11,28917:126.2%
WashingtonMary M. Knight School District1,658$10,46939:114.7%
West VirginiaMcDowell County School District3,063$13,07013:15.4%
WisconsinMilwaukee School District75,431$14,14517:124.6%
WyomingNiobrara County School District 1809$14,65613:118.2%

Data Methodology

Data on per-pupil spending in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of School System Finances. Data on the ratio of students to teachers in the 2019-2020 school year came from the National Center for Education Statistics. Data on the percentage of children aged five to 17 living in poverty in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program. Finally, five-year data on the percentage of adults 25 and over with at least a bachelor’s degree by school district in 2019 came from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Only school districts with at least 500 students and at least three of four index data points were considered.