Prince William County Near Dead Last in Per Pupil Funding
Posted on 10/30/2019
Child walking down school hallway marked by $ with arrow pointing down

The Washington Area Boards of Education (WABE) released on October 23, its Fiscal Year 2020 WABE Guide. Among the data comparisons found in the report is the cost per pupil. This comparison takes the amount of funding each school division receives from all sources (local, state, federal) and divides it by the enrollment of the division. In this comparison, Prince William County Public Schools (PWCS) continues to fall far behind similar-sized regional peer school divisions, ranking second to last in the region.

At $11,875 per pupil, PWCS is $3,366 per pupil behind Loudoun County, $4,168 per pupil behind Fairfax County, and $8,046 per pupil behind Arlington County. If funded at the rates of these near-by school divisions, PWCS would receive additional annual revenue of approximately $307 million, $381 million, or $736 million respectively. PWCS also falls below the national per pupil spending average of $12,201 (U.S. Census Bureau, May 2019).

“I am immensely proud of our teachers, administrators, and school staff who continue to produce results that lead the region and state in academic excellence and operational efficiency,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Walts. “However, I remain concerned at the continued strain placed on the Division by the lack of resources. PWCS’ low per-pupil funding rate constrains our ability to close achievement gaps, ensure small class sizes, offer competitive teacher pay, and make investments in technology and other classroom support.

“While I am grateful for the unanimous support of our School Board and Board of County Supervisors for this current fiscal year budget, it is my hope that we can work together in the coming months, along with our state delegation, to make significant funding investments for our teachers, students, and schools.”

Per Pupil Expenditure Chart of
The report is compiled annually to provide a comparison of spending and resourcing of Washington area public school divisions including Alexandria City, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Falls Church City, Manassas City, Manassas Park, and Montgomery County, Prince George’s County (Maryland), and Prince William County.

The full report is compiled by Fairfax County Public Schools and is available online.