Fairfax School Budget & Assistant Principals
Last week when the Fairfax School Budget was announced, I asked what would happen if we cut one Assistant Principal from every school. Kiel Stone, who is editor of Bacon’s Rebellion’s E-zine and sits on the Education Committee for the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Associations, has been going through the school budget and let me know of some interesting numbers he found:
Fairfax County has 432 Assistant Principals for 174,365 students for a ratio of 1 AP for every 403.6 students. This is way out of line with surrounding localities:
Arlington: 33 for 18,517 students (a ratio of 1 to 561.1)
Prince William: 124 for 72,654 students (1 to 585.9)
Loudoun: 103 for 57,317 (1 to 556.4)
Montgomery: 247 for 139,000 (1 to 562)
According to Stone:
For the sake of argument let’s take the average ratio of those four, which is 1 to 566. If Fairfax were to meet that ratio we would need only 308 principals, 124 fewer than we have currently. With an outlay of $43,056,674 on Assistant Principals the average salary for that position is $99,668. Reducing the number of Assistant Principals by that 124 number would result in a savings of $12,358,860.
In the proposed budget the cuts in Elementary ($9.51 million), Middle ($3.47 million) and High ($6.61 million) core instruction total $19.59 million, or just $7.2 million more than what is gained by bringing the Assistant Principal ratio into line with the surrounding counties.
Stone concedes that it is possible there is a good reason why the numbers are out of line, though one hasn’t been readily presented to the public. Nonetheless, this is a clear path to save $12 million without touching in-classroom resources. This is the kind of thing the School Board needs to be doing.