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Arlington Public Schools Still Number 1 in Cost to Taxpayers

Virginia has 132 school districts. Information about their enrollment, per pupil spending, and amount per pupil spent on compensation was computed by the Education Intelligence Agency (Adobe required) based upon the Census Bureau’s latest Annual Survey of Local Government Finances – School Systems, March 2006. For the 2003-2004 school-year, 12 Virginia school districts spent $10,000 or more per pupil. Arlington ranked highest, spending $14,273 per pupil. It was followed by Alexandria ($13,730), Falls Church ($13,418), Surry County ($11,240), Bath County ($11,168), and Charlottesville ($11,163). The other six school districts ranged between $10,135 and $10,757.

Between school years 2000-2001 and 2003-2004, nine Virginia school districts spending per pupil increased by 20% or more over the three-year period, However, only two of them increased by 25% or more – Arlington County (25.34%) and Loudoun County (26.58%). When EIA computed the change in per pupil spending on compensation, however, the two schools’ positions changed places – Arlington County (34.51%) was higher than Loudoun County (26.35%).

For comparison, per pupil spending in the United States in 2003-2004 was $8,287, and increased by 13.77% over the three-year period. In Virginia, those numbers were $8,225 and 13.01%, respectively. With an enrollment of 164,235 in school year 2003-2004, Fairfax County has the largest school district in Virginia. Their numbers were $10,159 and 12.40%, respectively.

This is certainly one time when numbers speak louder than words.