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Arlington Public Schools Contnue to be Region's Costliest

The Washington Area Boards of Education (WABE) Guide for Fiscal Year 2017 was recently published, and the Arlington Public Schools (APS) remain the costliest on a per-student basis. It is available on the APS website, and can also be found at the Fairfax County Public Schools website.

The WABE Guide compares the school divisions on an "apples-to-apples" basis on such factors as cost per pupil, average teacher salary, enrollment, sources of revenue, class sizes, authorized positions, and SAT scores. The data represents operating budget data, and does not include any capital budget funds.

The WABE Guide compares two Maryland and eight Virginia school districts. The Washington, D.C. school district is not included. The Arlington Public Schools receive 81.7% of its revenue from the local government. That is exceeded only by the Falls Church school district, which receives 82.5% of its revenue from its local government. By comparison, The City of Alexandria receives 79.1%, Fairfax County receives 70.5%, and Loudoun County receives 66.1%. Prince William receives 46.1% and the Manassas City Park receives 30.2%.

Let's take a look, then, at tge cost-per-student, total SAT score, and average teacher salary for the 10 WABE schools:

School Division -- Cost-per-Student; Total SAT Score; Average Teacher Salary

Alexandria City -- $17,008; 1458; $76,096.

Arlington County -- $18,957; 1661; $79,055.

Fairfax County -- $14,432; 1672; $70,813.

Falls Church -- $18,418; 1760; $75,360.

Loudoun County --  $13,121; 1617; $66,213.

Manassas City -- $13,112; 1416; $65,600.

Manassas Park City -- $11,158;1513; $59,686.

Montgomery County -- $15,975; 1631; $77,887.

Prince George's County -- $13,869; 1184; $70,278.

Prince William County -- $10,981; 1507; $65,334.

We growled about the FY 2016 WABE numbers on November 3, 2015.

Let's compare the Arlington and Fairfax County school numbers a bit further. First, the Arlington schools are 31.3% costlier, but the average SAT school is higher in the Fairfax County schools, albeit under 1%. But note there is a cost-per-student difference of $4,525 between the Arlington Public Schools and the Fairfax County Public Schools. In the FY 2017 school year, Arlington had an enrollment of 25,302 students. So consider, the Fairfax County Public Schools educate that same number of students, i.e., 25,302, for more than $112 million less (25,302 student x $4,525 difference per student). To the best of our knowledge, neither the Arlington School Board, nor the Superintendent, have have ever explained the $4,525 cost-per-student difference between the Arlington and Fairfax County public schools.

Given the implications for taxpayers, we urge Growls readers to growl to members of the Arlington School Board about the cost of public education in Arlington County. Tell School Board members there is no need to pay Cadillac prices for a Chevrolet education. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the School Board office at (703) 228-6015

And tell them ACTA sent you.


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