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Report: Money May Play Role in Byram Hills Success

ARMONK, N.Y. – Byram Hills High School recently was named one of the top high schools in New York state, and according to some it may have to do with the wealth of the district's residents.

“That’s usually the way it works out,” said Mount Pleasant resident Linda Kammerer, whose relatives live in Armonk.  “The richer the area is the better the school system is.”

A report released in May by US News & World Report of the top high schools in the country ranked Byram Hills as the 35th best high school in New York and 208th in the nation. The study showed that the high school as a whole is 100 percent proficient in both math and English standardized state exit exams.

Following this report, the financial analysis publication 24/7 Wall St. released a study of census information that ranked the richest school districts in the United States based on the average household earnings of the residents in that district. Byram Hills was ranked 6th, behind other Westchester school districts such as Briarcliff Manor, Chappaqua, and Scarsdale.

Armonk resident Jason Robbins said he knew the area was wealthy, just maybe not that wealthy.

“I definitely figured we would be featured in the top twenty,” Robbins said.  “But being number six is pretty interesting though.”

The report by 24/7 Wall St. shows that the median household income for a resident in the Byram Hills district is just over $180,000 and that almost 48 percent of the households in the district earn more than $200,000 a year. The study also shows that the district spends about $24,000 per year on each student.

Robbins, who has two children in the Byram Hills district, said that he believes the district’s success is not so much about the money that goes into it, but where that money is spent.

“It’s really about the quality of teachers that we have,” Robbins said.  “Making sure that the teachers on staff are efficient in their ways and don’t just teach a child for a test.”

Robbins said he believes the district could spend money to improve the district schools on a bigger scale.

“I’d like to see the district start to implement some more programs like Mandarin Chinese and computer-programming courses,” Robbins said. “Because that’s the way our world is going and that’s why on the bigger scale we’re behind other countries in terms of education.”

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