When discussing the best states in the U.S. to raise kids, there’s a strong argument to be had for Illinois, as Chicago area suburbs boast some of the best public school districts in the country, by any measure. Academic achievement, generous funding, superb athletic programs, and great extracurricular activities are all attributes shared by most districts in the region.

Illinois’ best school district is Naperville Community Unit School District 203, which serves central Naperville and parts of Bolingbrook and Lisle in Dupage County. Naperville Central High School, one of District 203’s two high schools, has been listed in U.S. News and World Report’s list of the top high schools in America, while 203’s Meadow Glens Elementary was named a Blue Ribbon School in 2015.

Morton Community Unit School District 709, located in Morton, IL, is Illinois’ second highest ranked school district. Comprising four elementary schools, one junior high and one high school, Morton District 709 schools have repeatedly received medals for their achievements from US News & World Reports, and its students average an ACT composite score 2.5 points higher than the statewide average.

Third in the ranking is Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 serving Wauconda (not to be confused with Wakanda, the fictional African nation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), and other communities in Lake County.

Dunlap Community Unit School District 323 (#4) serving Peoria County, and Barrington Community Unit School District 220 (#5), which earned the highest financial rating in the state, round out the top five.

Top School Districts in Illinois, 2018

State RankSchool DistrictState
1Naperville Cusd 203Illinois
2Morton Cusd 709Illinois
3Wauconda Cusd 118Illinois
4Dunlap Cusd 323Illinois
5Barrington Cusd 220Illinois
6Elmhurst Sd 205Illinois
7Indian Prairie Cusd 204Illinois
8Geneva Cusd 304Illinois
9St Charles Cusd 303Illinois
10Cons Sd 158Illinois
11Lake Zurich Cusd 95Illinois
12Cusd 200Illinois
13Tremont Cusd 702Illinois
14Tri Valley Cusd 3Illinois
15Byron Cusd 226Illinois
16Pleasant Plains Cusd 8Illinois
17Waterloo Cusd 5Illinois
18Mascoutah Cud 19Illinois
19Central Cusd 301Illinois
20Princeville Cusd 326Illinois
21Batavia Usd 101Illinois
22Columbia Cusd 4Illinois
23Rochester Cusd 3AIllinois
24Edwardsville Cusd 7Illinois
25Oswego Cusd 308Illinois
26Monticello Cusd 25Illinois
27Maroa Forsyth Cusd 2Illinois
28Mt Zion Cusd 3Illinois
29Roanoke Benson Cusd 60Illinois
30Mahomet-Seymour Cusd 3Illinois
31Lisle Cusd 202Illinois
32Kaneland Cusd 302Illinois
33Leroy Cusd 2Illinois
34Deer Creek-Mackinaw Cusd 701Illinois
35Pecatonica Cusd 321Illinois
36Eureka Cud 140Illinois
37Cusd 201Illinois
38Scales Mound Cusd 211Illinois
39Mclean County Usd 5Illinois
40Plainfield Sd 202Illinois
41Brimfield Cusd 309Illinois
42Liberty Cusd 2Illinois
43Central Cusd 4Illinois
44Williamsville Cusd 15Illinois
45Yorkville Cusd 115Illinois
46Geneseo Cusd 228Illinois
47Hinckley Big Rock Cusd 429Illinois
48Teutopolis Cusd 50Illinois
49Cissna Park Cusd 6Illinois
50Ball Chatham Cusd 5Illinois
51Galena Usd 120Illinois
52Highland Cusd 5Illinois
53Grant Park Cusd 6Illinois
54Beecher Cusd 200UIllinois
55R O W V A Cusd 208Illinois
56Il Valley Central Usd 321Illinois
57Erie Cusd 1Illinois
58Eastland Cusd 308Illinois
59Indian Creek Cusd 425Illinois
60Macomb Cusd 185Illinois
61Elmwood Cusd 322Illinois
62West Washington Co Cud 10Illinois
63Wesclin Cusd 3Illinois
64River Ridge Cusd 210Illinois
65Rockridge Cusd 300Illinois
66Sangamon Valley Cusd 9Illinois
67Stark County Cusd 100Illinois
68Spoon River Valley Cusd 4Illinois
69Coal City Cusd 1Illinois
70Tolono Cusd 7Illinois
71Lexington Cusd 7Illinois
72Prairie Central Cusd 8Illinois
73North Wayne Cusd 200Illinois
74Meridian Cusd 223Illinois
75Heyworth Cusd 4Illinois
76Chadwick-Milledgeville Cusd 399Illinois
77Panhandle Cusd 2Illinois
78Genoa Kingston Cusd 424Illinois
79Olympia Cusd 16Illinois
80Greenfield Cusd 10Illinois
81Dakota Cusd 201Illinois
82Cerro Gordo Cusd 100Illinois
83Williamsfield Cusd 210Illinois
84Midland Cusd 7Illinois
85El Paso-Gridley Cusd 11Illinois
86Durand Cusd 322Illinois
87Illini Bluffs Cusd 327Illinois
88Knoxville Cusd 202Illinois
89Ashton-Franklin Center Cusd 275Illinois
90Sullivan Cusd 300Illinois
91Deland-Weldon Cusd 57Illinois
92Bureau Valley Cusd 340Illinois
93Pearl City Cusd 200Illinois
94River Bend Cusd 2Illinois
95Putnam County Cusd 535Illinois
96Peotone Cusd 207UIllinois
97Carterville Cusd 5Illinois
98Triad Cusd 2Illinois
99Sycamore Cusd 427Illinois
100Mt Pulaski Cusd 23Illinois

Methodology

The following contributed to the ranking: student performance (math and reading test scores), dropout rates, school funding, and area poverty rates. Data was collected from a total of 9,577 school districts.

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