RD149 - State Spending on the K–12 Standards of Quality: 2019 Update – December 16, 2019

Executive Summary:

• In FY19 the state spent $6.2 billion to fund Virginia’s constitutionally mandated K– 12 standards of quality (SOQ). This equates to an average of $4,974 for each of the state’s 1.25 million elementary and secondary school students.

• Total state SOQ spending in FY19 was 3.3 percent more than in FY18, primarily due to increases in salaries and benefits for instructional and support staff because of re-benchmarking for the first year of the biennium.

• For the first time in more than 30 years, the number of K–12 students in Virginia decreased from the previous year, although the decline was only 0.2 percent (about 2,000 students). This contributed to spending per student increasing by a slightly higher percentage than total spending.

• Fairfax County has by far the most K–12 students (179,000, more than twice as many as the second-largest school division) and received the most SOQ funds, $643 million, in FY19.

• Lee County, which is the locality with the lowest local ability to pay, received the most state SOQ funds per student, $7,813.

• Falls Church, which is among the localities with the highest local ability to pay, received the least state SOQ funds per student, $2,488.