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And Here Are This Year’s WABEs

The latest Washington Area Boards of Education (WABE) annual report is out, and once again, the Arlington Public Schools lead the nine area school districts when considering the cost-per-pupil. The WABE report also tracks sources of revenue, authorized positions, and salary, among other information.

School District            FY2010 Cost-per-Pupil

Arlington County               $18,569
Falls Church                       $18,116
Alexandria                          $18,003
Montgomery County          $15,490
Fairfax County                   $12,898
Prince George’s County     $12,267
Manassas City                   $12,192
Loudoun County                 $11,997
Prince William County         $10,383

Scott McCaffrey of the Sun-Gazette uses part of his editorial space this week to give a “thumbs up” to “the brutal honesty of the data” that is contained in each year’s WABE. In addition, he implicitly gives a “thumbs down” to Arlington’s high cost-per-pupil, noting:

“It always astounds us that county residents either don’t know, or don’t care, that it costs taxpayers 44 percent more to educate each and every public-school student in Arlington than it does in Fairfax County. Or 54.8 percent more than in Loudoun. Or a whopping 78.9 percent more than in Prince William County.

“Granted, those larger communities do benefit from some economies of scale. But that hardly accounts for all of the difference.”

McCaffrey also opines that for a good part of his tenure, former superintendent Robert Smith had been given “a blank check by School Board members (and never met a tax dollar he wasn’t eager to plow into something or other). In addition, McCaffrey said that Smith “used to intimate that it was somehow a point of pride that the district spent so much money.” An early practitioner of “spread the wealth,” we presume.


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