RD375 - State Spending on the K–12 Standards of Quality: 2021 Update – December 13, 2021

Executive Summary:


• In FY21 the state spent $6.6 billion to fund Virginia’s constitutionally mandated K–12 standards of quality (SOQ). This equates to an average of $5,481 for each of the state’s 1.2 million elementary and secondary school students.

• Total state SOQ spending in FY21 was 6 percent more than in FY20, primarily because updating SOQ costs through the rebenchmarking process resulted in higher per student SOQ amounts, and sales tax revenue and distributions to school divisions were higher than anticipated.

• Enrollment in 120 divisions declined between FY20 and FY21. Fairfax County had the largest decline in the number of students enrolled (more than 8,000 students).

• Fairfax County has by far the most K–12 students (172,014, nearly twice as many as the second-largest school division) and received the most SOQ funds, $715 million, in FY21.

• Lee County, which is the locality with the lowest local ability to pay, received the most state SOQ funds per student, $8,182.

• Arlington County, which is among the localities with the highest local ability to pay, received the least state SOQ funds per student, $2,892.