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Templeton Unified School District ranks among top 10 most equitable school districts in the state

WalletHub ranked the Templeton Unified School District as 8th most equitable among more than 900 California districts.

Personal finance website WalletHub released a report Tuesday ranking the Templeton Unified School District in San Luis Obispo County among the top 10 most equitable school districts in California.

WalletHub ranked the school district as 8th most equitable among more than 900 California districts.

The study measures fair distribution of funding based on two main metrics: average household income and expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools per pupil.

It’s a measure of income inequality because many districts that are more affluent, receive more school funding.

Jill Gonzalez is a WalletHub analyst. She said true equity means the ratio between income and funding looks the same from district to district.

Gonzalez said we don’t see perfect equity anywhere in the country, but WalletHub ranks California as the third least equitable state overall among 49 measured states in the U.S.

“In California, we see one of the largest gaps between, essentially, lower income and higher income school districts,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said closing the gap in equity among school districts can have long term impacts on students.

“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 like college and smaller future incomes than their wealthy peers,” Gonzalez said.

She said median weekly earnings for college graduates are anywhere from $524 to $1,112 higher than people with a high school diploma and no college experience.

She said the Templeton Unified School District ranked as fairly equitable because there is less of a gap between income and available funding per student.

“Because the income is a little bit higher but the expenditures are not necessarily higher than many other districts, that means that this is more equitable in the broader scope of California schools,” Gonzalez said.

She said the goal of this study is to spread awareness about the funding disparity among California schools. She said WalletHub hopes parents, teachers and administrators can use the information to bridge the gap in equity.

KCBX News reached out to Templeton Unified for comment, but the school district did not respond.

Rachel Showalter first joined KCBX as an intern from Cal Poly in 2017. During her time in college, she anchored and reported for Mustang News at Cal Poly's radio station, KCPR. After graduating, she took her first job as a Producer at KSBY-TV. She returned to the KCBX team in October 2020, reporting daily for KCBX News until she moved to the Pacific Northwest in July of 2022. Rachel spends her off-days climbing rocks, cooking artichokes and fighting crosswords with friends.