Some large DC-area districts: Per-pupil spending is widely discussed but is sometimes poorly understood.
In yesterday’s Washington Post, Ovetta Wiggins offered an intriguing report about per-pupil spending in some large Washington-area school districts.
In the states of Maryland and Virginia, school districts are operated on a county-wide basis. For that reason, the DC area has some of the largest public school systems in the entire country.
Wiggins reported per-pupil spending for the Washington, DC schools and for three large suburban systems in the DC area.
This is the way the spending looked for the 2011-12 school year. In DC itself, the public charter schools spent more than the traditional public schools:
Per-pupil spending, Washington-area school systemsAt present, close to half of all DC kids attend its public charters. As you can see, the DC schools, traditional and charter, spent more per-pupil than any of these large suburban systems, all of which are numbered among the nation’s largest districts.
2011-2012 school year
Washington, D.C. traditional public schools: $15,743
Montgomery County, Md.: $12,649
Fairfax County, Va.: $11,704
Prince Georges County, Md.: $10,408
Washington, D.C. charter schools: $18,150
Fairfax County and Montgomery County are among the nation’s wealthiest counties. Prince George's County is the nation’s wealthiest African American-majority county.
The D.C. schools, charter and traditional, outspent them all. This is part of the crazy-quilt pattern of per-pupil spending which obtains across our sprawling, educationally decentralized nation. “This land is each small local school district's land,” as Woody Guthrie once said.
We thought this was an intriguing report. Instead of complaining about something else, we thought we’d just throw it in.
For more detail concerning the study and the districts, you can just click here.