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More on the WABEs

When we started growling about the Fiscal Year 2010 Washington Area Boards of Education on November 30, we started with the cost per student for the nine school districts in the region. There is a lot more information in the annual WABE guide for FY 2010 that taxpayers can use to evaluate whether government officials are spending tax money wisely.

Take for example, average class size. Obviously, the larger a school district’s average class size, few classrooms and fewer teachers are needed. Page 28 of the FY2010 WABE computes average class for classroom teachers as well as “teacher-scale” positions. In addition, the WABE Guide provides the average class size for elementary, middle/intermediate, and secondary/high schools. For today, let’s look at the average number of students per classroom teacher:

                                    Students per Classroom Teacher
School Distric                Elementary        Secondary/High
            
Arlington County                18.6                    17.6
Alexandria                        19.8                    25.0
Falls Church                      21.1                    20.6
Montgomery County            20.7                    28.5
Fairfax County                   21.2                    24.9
Prince George’s County        17.5                    25.1
Manassas City                    16.0                    21.4
Loudoun County                  22.4                    24.8
Prince William County          22.3                    28.9
                    Average        20.0                    24.1

The numbers seem remarkable. While the combined average for the nine school districts show their secondary/high schools have just over 20% more students in their secondary/high schools than in their elementary schools, the Arlington Public Schools actually have fewer students per classroom teacher in the secondary/high schools than in the APS elementary schools. Although the Arlington Public Schools don’t have the highest beginning teacher salaries, APS has the highest average teacher salaries among the nine school districts. A good life?

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