The 10 Best School Districts in Georgia

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A good school can lead to a lifetime of opportunities. Myriad data shows that lifetime earnings dramatically increase with every degree obtained. Bachelor’s degree holders will earn an average of roughly $26,000 more each year than high school graduates. And for those who decide that pursuing a college degree is not the best postsecondary option, a good school will provide students with the tools and support to make that choice, and the foundational skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.

For many families, the school district is a top criteria when deciding where to buy a home. But this consideration and ability to choose is not a luxury all families can afford, especially in today’s wildly competitive housing market.

One important proxy of a quality education is per-student spending. According to the most recent Census data available, the national average per-pupil expenditure in fiscal year 2019 was $13,187. Several recent studies suggest that increased spending per student correlates with higher academic achievement, particularly in districts serving predominantly low-income students. Since public schools are largely funded by property taxes, schools in low-income areas suffer the most from a lack of funding for critical expenditures like staff salaries and benefits, transportation, instructional resources, and support services.

There are more than 13,000 school districts in the U.S., each one slightly different, for better or worse, than the next. However, several common denominators exist and, when compared, can serve as indicators of what makes an impactful district.

Stacker compiled a list of the best school districts in Georgia using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks school districts based on a variety of criteria including academics (SAT/ACT scores and state proficiency tests), teacher salaries, expenses per student, and access to extracurricular activities.

#10. Madison County Schools (Danielsville)
– Number of schools: 7 (4,996 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (51% reading proficient and 56% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $54,546 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. Morgan County Schools (Madison)
– Number of schools: 4 (3,196 students)
– Graduation rate: 91% (52% reading proficient and 55% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $57,353 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Carrollton City Schools (Carrollton)
– Number of schools: 4 (5,441 students)
– Graduation rate: 91% (46% reading proficient and 45% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $55,313 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Jefferson City Schools (Jefferson)
– Number of schools: 4 (4,003 students)
– Graduation rate: 96% (68% reading proficient and 71% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $53,382 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Fayette County Public Schools (Fayetteville)
– Number of schools: 24 (20,538 students)
– Graduation rate: 90% (67% reading proficient and 64% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $62,946 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. City Schools of Decatur (Decatur)
– Number of schools: 9 (5,874 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (71% reading proficient and 66% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $53,366 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. Bremen City Schools (Bremen)
– Number of schools: 4 (2,307 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (71% reading proficient and 78% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $57,227 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. Forsyth County Schools (Cumming)
– Number of schools: 38 (50,544 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (73% reading proficient and 75% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $58,901 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Oconee County Schools (Watkinsville)
– Number of schools: 11 (8,140 students)
– Graduation rate: 98% (71% reading proficient and 74% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $57,257 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. Buford City Schools (Buford)
– Number of schools: 5 (5,177 students)
– Graduation rate: 93% (67% reading proficient and 75% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $62,865 (17:1 student to teacher ratio)


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1 Comment

  1. Why is it that where the least amount of money goes into the County School Coffers is where the worst performing schools are at? We need merit based teacher reviews and/or more school choice…..or both. This is absurd.

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