Financing Suburban Enrollment Increases

This report analyzes the varying enrollment changes of the major school systems in Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland between 1995 and 2001. The magnitude of these enrollment increases has put local governments under pressure to find financing to build classrooms and increase operating budgets. The performance of the property tax in Northern Virginia and the property and local income taxes in Suburban Maryland are evaluated relative to the education needs.

The major school systems in Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland added 89,066 students between 1995 and 2001, or a 17 percent increase in six years. At an average 25 students per class, this increase required the addition of 3,565 classrooms and at least an equal number of additional teachers. Increases of this magnitude have put area governments under pressure to find financing to build classrooms and to increase operating budgets. The recent recession may add to the problem.