Three local school districts named to best school districts in Virginia list

Virginia

FILE

A good school can lead to a lifetime of opportunities. Myriad data shows that lifetime earnings dramatically increase with every degree obtained. Bachelor’s degree holders will earn an average of roughly $26,000 more each year than high school graduates.

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And for those who decide that pursuing a college degree is not the best postsecondary option, a good school will provide students with the tools and support to make that choice, and the foundational skills necessary to succeed in the workforce.

For many families, the school district is a top criterion when deciding where to buy a home. But this consideration and ability to choose is not a luxury all families can afford, especially in today’s wildly competitive housing market.

One important proxy of a quality education is per-student spending. According to the most recent Census data available, the national average per-pupil expenditure in fiscal year 2019 was $13,187. Several recent studies suggest that increased spending per student correlates with higher academic achievement, particularly in districts serving predominantly low-income students. Since public schools are largely funded by property taxes, schools in low-income areas suffer the most from a lack of funding for critical expenditures like staff salaries and benefits, transportation, instructional resources, and support services.

There are more than 13,000 school districts in the U.S., each one slightly different, for better or worse, than the next. However, several common denominators exist and, when compared, can serve as indicators of what makes an impactful district.

Stacker compiled a list of the best school districts in Virginia using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks school districts based on a variety of criteria including academics (SAT/ACT scores and state proficiency tests), teacher salaries, expenses per student, and access to extracurricular activities.

#10. Montgomery County Public Schools (Christiansburg)
– Number of schools: 21 (10,016 students)
– Graduation rate: 93% (81% reading proficient and 86% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $52,281 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#9. Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools (Williamsburg)
– Number of schools: 16 (11,639 students)
– Graduation rate: 90% (81% reading proficient and 85% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $65,669 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#8. Albemarle County Public Schools (Charlottesville)
– Number of schools: 26 (14,404 students)
– Graduation rate: 91% (79% reading proficient and 82% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $63,314 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#7. Virginia Beach City Public Schools (Virginia Beach)
– Number of schools: 87 (68,706 students)
– Graduation rate: 90% (85% reading proficient and 88% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $65,902 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#6. Fairfax County Public Schools (Falls Church)
– Number of schools: 221 (188,887 students)
– Graduation rate: 86% (81% reading proficient and 85% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $80,579 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#5. Loudoun County Public Schools (Ashburn)
– Number of schools: 94 (83,606 students)
– Graduation rate: 92% (84% reading proficient and 86% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $73,173 (14:1 student to teacher ratio)

#4. West Point Public Schools (West Point)
– Number of schools: 2 (802 students)
– Graduation rate: 92% (92% reading proficient and 93% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $62,117 (13:1 student to teacher ratio)

#3. York County School Division (Yorktown)
– Number of schools: 19 (12,978 students)
– Graduation rate: 95% (88% reading proficient and 92% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $55,877 (16:1 student to teacher ratio)

#2. Arlington Public Schools (Arlington)
– Number of schools: 41 (28,151 students)
– Graduation rate: 87% (83% reading proficient and 87% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $107,694 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

#1. Falls Church City Public Schools (Falls Church)
– Number of schools: 5 (2,648 students)
– Graduation rate: 98% (91% reading proficient and 90% math proficient)
– Average teacher salary: $95,479 (15:1 student to teacher ratio)

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