Which North Carolina school districts have the highest per-pupil spending?  That’s a question I hear a lot.

The conventional wisdom suggests that high-income areas would have some of the highest per pupil spending.

The table below lists school districts with the ten highest per-pupil expenditure levels.

What can we learn from the results?

The highest spending school district, Weldon City Schools, spent $28,940 per pupil, a full 129 percent above the statewide average of $12,637.

The top five districts all spent over $20,000 per student.  The average per-pupil expenditure of the top ten school districts was $21,179.

The average per capita ranking of the ten districts on the list is 61. Weldon City Schools (75), Halifax County Schools (75), Graham County Schools (86), and Warren County Schools (100) are some of the poorest counties in North Carolina. Yet, these schools also have some of the highest per-pupil expenditures in North Carolina.

Such results challenge a lot of the current thinking.

It should also challenge parents and taxpayers in these counties — and everywhere for that matter — to ask if they are satisfied with their return on investment in public education?