A Numbers Game

Public school primary and secondary education in Virginia—by the numbers.


With more than one million students enrolled in Virginia’s primary and secondary public schools, the Virginia Department of Education’s budget clocks in at over $10 billion, with about half of that total allocated to the state’s public colleges and universities and the other half to its primary and secondary schools. 

The state’s funding formula has historically been linked to a teacher student/ratio, however critics say its an outdated approach and one that most states no longer use. The State Board of Education requested that the General Assembly revisit that formula and create one that provides more flexibility based on a more modern per-pupil formula. The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission estimated that if Virginia had used the student-based rather than staffing funding formula, schools would have received an additional $1.17 billion in fiscal year 2023. 

Virginia schools receive 14 percent less state funding than the 50-state average, equal to roughly $1,900 less per student. As a comparison, New York public schools receive nearly $30,000 per student, whereas Virginia’s public schools receive just under $13,000 per pupil. Read on for more of the Commonwealth’s public school education by the numbers:

93,792: Total number of graduates from Virginia public schools, 2022–23.

52: Number of regional and local Governors Schools and Academies in Virginia.

1,296,817: Number of students enrolled in Virginia’s K-12 public schools.

131: Number of school districts in Virginia.

87,166: Number of public school teachers in Virginia.

$12,905: Amount Virginia spent per student, per year (vs. national average of $13,949).

$57,325: Average salary paid to Virginia public school teachers.

#1: Virginia’s #1 ranked public high school: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria (ranked 5th nationally).⁴

1:14.8: Average teacher/student ratio in Virginia public schools.⁵

1,113: Average SAT scores (combined) in Virginia.⁶

49%: Percentage of Virginia public school students who take the SATs.⁶

1984: Year digital learning through Virtual Virginia was established.⁷

14,253: Number of graduates from Fairfax, the Virginia county with the most number of graduates in 2023.

Sources:  Virginia Department of Education, DOE.Virginia.gov   BallotPedia.com   Virginia Education Association, VEANEA.org  ⁴ US News & World Report, USNews.com  ⁵ PublicSchoolReview.com  ⁶ OnToCollege.com  ⁷ VirtualVirginia.org

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