PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - While many parents may tell you they prefer a medium-sized school district for their children, state data shows it is the smallest and largest districts that do the best when it comes to student success.
Arizona's Family analyzed data collected by the Arizona Auditor General's Office and looked for districts where at least 75% of the schools were ranked "A" or "B" by the Department of Education.
- 54% of very large school districts fit the bill. Those are districts with 20,000 or more students.
- 52% of very small districts also fit the bill. Those are districts with fewer than 200 students.
- 34% of small districts made the grade. Those are districts with 200 to 600 students.
- 30% of large districts made the grade. Those districts have between 8,000 and 20,000 students.
- 21% of medium-large districts came in with those rankings. They have between 2,000 and 8,000 students.
- 16% of medium-sized districts came in with those rankings. They have between 600 and 2,000 students.
Roughly, half the school districts in Arizona are considered medium or medium-large in size.
"We aren't large enough to maybe procure items with the economy of scale," said Mike Westcott, the superintendent of the Mingus Union High School District in Cottonwood.
Westcott says his district often pays more for supplies, from toilet paper to air conditioning units or buses, because he doesn't buy as much as a larger school district. That extra expense adds up and can take away from dollars spent in the classroom.
At the same time, the state gives extra money to small school districts.
"We're too big to receive any benefit from small school funding, but we have the same requirements of a larger or smaller district," said Westcott.