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Arlington Public Schools Continue as Most Expensive

The Arlington Public Schools continues as the most expensive school district in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, according to an analysis of “cost per pupil” data in the Fiscal Year 2013 Washington Area Boards of Education Guide (requires Adobe), dated September 2012. It is available at the Finance & Management Services department on the Arlington Public Schools website.

The cost per pupil for the school districts participating in the FY 2013 Guide:

  • Arlington County -- $18,675
  • Alexandria City -- $17,024
  • Falls Church City -- $16,612
  • Montgomery County -- $14,880
  • Fairfax County -- $13,564
  • Prince George’s County -- $12,296
  • Manassas City -- $12,108
  • Loudoun County -- $11,595
  • Manassas Park -- $10,619
  • Prince William County -- $10,163

Arlington has been the highest cost per pupil school district for all three years (FY 2011. FY 2012, and FY 2013) shown on page 31 of the WABE Guide. In addition, the largest increase from FY 2012 to FY 2013 belongs to Manassas Park (7.39%) while the largest increase from FY 2011 to FY 2013 is the Arlington schools (7.81%).

Below are the cost per pupil numbers for the participating school districts. As noted on page 31, “Uniform formulas were developed by the WABE committee for consistency areawide. These numbers are comparable; however, the cost per pupil reported here may differ from that reported in individual districts' budget documents or other reports.” That said, here are the numbers from page 31:

School Division -- FY 2011/FY 2012/FY 2013
  • Arlington County -- $17,322/ $18,047/ $18,675
  • Alexandria City -- $16,983/ $17,618/ $17,024
  • Falls Church City -- $16,729/ $16,309 $16,612
  • Montgomery County -- n/a/ $14,776/ $14,880
  • Fairfax County -- $12,597/ $12,820/ $13,564
  • Prince George's County -- $11,611/ $11,753/ $12,296
  • Manassas City -- $11,351/ $11,478/ $12,108
  • Loudoun County -- $10,833/ $11,014/ $11,595
  • Manassas Park City --n/a/ $9,888/ $10,619
  • Prince William County -- $9,577/ $9,852/ $10,163

Should Arlington County taxpayers be concerned with APS having the highest cost per pupil year after year. Consider this: If APS management could provide education services for FY 2013 at the same cost as the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS), the would save Arlington County taxpayers almost $112 million dollars, which would significantly drop the average real estate tax bill.

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