WAUSEON - Residents of Pettisville Local School District have the highest incomes in Fulton County and those in Gorham Fayette Local and Wauseon Exempted Village school districts have the lowest, according to figures from the Ohio Department of Taxation released recently.
All the districts in Fulton County, however, are in the vast middle class.
Median personal gross income on the Ohio income tax form in 2004 ranged from $34,493 in Pettisville to $29,681 in Gorham Fayette.
The high end of that range is almost double the lowest district in the state which is North Bass Island in Ottawa County at $17,677.
Likewise, Pettisville's median is about half of that in Ottawa Hills in Lucas County, the district with the highest median personal gross income on the Ohio form.
When looking at the average federal adjusted gross income, the difference between school districts in the state is far larger.
On such a comparison, residents of Indian Hill Exempted Village District in Cincinnati have an average income that is more than 10 times that of Gorham Fayette.
The difference in the two scales is primarily because the federal numbers use an average, while the state income tax numbers used a median.
Averages can be distorted by a few people with exceptionally high or low incomes.
Medians, however, are the middle point, with half of the district residents reporting a higher income and half reporting a lower income to the state.
Pettisville residents' incomes have typically been among the highest in Fulton County, according to district Superintendent Stephen Switzer, who included the information in the Pettisville school board agenda for its meeting this week.
He said he didn't know, however, why the district's incomes consistently rank high.
It is the smallest district in the county with 966 personal income tax returns received by the state in 2004.
That's about a fifth the size of Wauseon, which had 4,982 personal income tax returns filed.
The smallest in the state is North Bass Island with 10 filers, which could be why it is also ranked as the poorest.
A few returns can significantly sway both the median and the average in such a small pool.
Contact Jane Schmucker