Post Content

Alexandria Mayor urges Richmond to reconsider approach to school funding

Graduates at Alexandria City High School’s graduation at George Mason University’s EagleBank Arena, June 3, 2023 (staff photo by James Cullum)

One month after a study found that the Virginia state government is underfunding schools, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson called on state leaders in Richmond to reconsider their approach.

The core issue identified by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission is that the Local Composite Index (LCI) incorporates local real property, gross income and taxable retail sales to determine how much a locality can fund their school system.

But that calculation for staffing positions doesn’t account for things like regional labor costs, school division size, or students with higher needs, all of which can be higher in Northern Virginia than other localities.

Wilson said in a newsletter that, based on this formula, many Northern Virginia communities are expected to cover 80% of the cost of their schools. Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) receive $63.6 million from the state every year, which amounts to a little less than 20% of the operating costs of the schools, while some localities have 83% of the school budget covered by the state.

Virginia school districts as a whole receive 14% less from the state than the national average compared to what those schools are actually spending, or around $1,900 less per student, according to the Washington Post.

“In Alexandria, we have consistently voiced concerns in Richmond about the LCI as an inappropriate tool given that it puts too much emphasis on the purported wealth of a community and too little emphasis on the costs of services required by the student body,” Wilson wrote. “In the case of Alexandria, with a student body with high levels of poverty, English language learners and special education, the costs of educating our students is not represented by the pockets of wealth in some areas of our City.”

The study found that the current formula does not accurately reflect the local education costs. Wilson said he hopes the General Assembly and Gov. Glenn Youngkin will take steps to address this in the next legislative session.

“Bottom line is that their formula essentially treats Alexandria and Falls Church the same, the school system with one of the highest levels of poverty in the state and the school system with the lowest level of poverty in the state” Wilson told ALXnow. “I don’t think that’s fair to our students or our taxpayers.”

Recent Stories

A 34-year-old Alexandria man has been charged with allegedly attempting to abduct a woman in Old Town earlier this month. At around 11 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1, a 30-year-old…

Is the Alexandria School Board too big? Should their elections be staggered and three-year terms increased? The entire structure of the Alexandria School Board could soon be upended, as these…

The Little Theatre of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street) is hosting a pair of staged reading events over the next two weeks to commemorate the murder of Matthew Shepard and raise…

Alexandria Police are investigating a robbery outside a Bank of America ATM  in the West End. The incident occurred at around 7 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 30) in the 500…

If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).

ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.

This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!

In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!

We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Family Fun Fall Fest

Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!

This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA

2023 Alexandria Fall Festival

Food trucks, bounce houses, pony rides, magic shows and more at the 2023 Alexandria Fall Festival, an Alexandria Living event presented by The Patterson Group. Join us at River Farm on Sunday, Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


Subscribe to our mailing list