SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – A report released this week evaluating where school funding is distributed most fairly ranks South Plainfield as one of the 'Most Equitable School Districts in New Jersey.' The rankings were compiled by the personal finance website WalletHub (www.wallethub.com) based on data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Centr for Education Statistics. 

"It is always good to see studies that support the focus we now have in the financial segment of our school district," said Doug Chapman, president of the South Plainfield Board of Education.

In order to rank the states with the most and least equitable school districts, WalletHub first scored 12,919 school districts throughout the United States based on two metrics – average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil – based on data for the aforementioned agencies. 

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

In terms of expenditures, for each 1 percent above the state's average, 1 point from a base score of 50 points for each district was removed and, for household income, for each 1 percent above the state's average, 1 point to a base score of 50 points was added for each district with the inverse true for each 1 percent below the state's average.The final score for each district was then calculated by taking the absolute difference between the score for expenditures and the score for household income. Districts were then ranked based on the total score, with the lowest value, representing the most equitable, being ranked 1. 

While the research found that New Jersey, with a total of 540 school district, has the 10th least equitable school districts in the U.S. overall, it also determined that some Garden State districts 'are fairer than others.' The South Plainfield School District, which was named the 10th 'most equitable' in the state, received a ranking of 1.22 based on approximately $18,800 is spent per pupil for elementary and secondary education and an average income is just under $101,000. 

"We will continue to focus on using our taxpayers' money effectively and efficiently while providing a quality education for our children," said Chapman, adding, "Things are really strong in the South Plainfield School District right now."

According to WalletHub, 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. 

"The 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," states the report.

One contributing factor, according to WalletHub, is that people in low-income districts are less likely to have the technological resources they need. The report goes on to say that '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, said WalletHub Analyst Jill Gonzalez, 'is dramatic.' “College graduates have $460 [to] $1,154 higher median weekly earnings than people with a high school diploma and no college experience, depending on the degree," Gonzalez said. 

To view the full report, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-equitable-school-districts-in-new-jersey/77108/