A new report from the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University says that Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) has a local economic impact of $2.2 billion, making it one of the most important sources of local economic activity.
FCPS is Fairfax County’s largest employer with more than 27,000 full- and part-time employees.
Report author Stephen S. Fuller found that FCPS accounts for 4.1 percent of the countywide employment base and its budgeted FY 2017 spending accounts for 2.0 percent of county’s gross county product.
That makes FCPS the second-largest source of economic activity in the Fairfax County (following the federal government), says Fuller.
“Dr. Fuller’s report clearly shows how FCPS is a major contributor to the Fairfax County economy and plays an important role in our community’s quality of life, sustainability, and future growth,” FCPS Superintendent Karen Garza said in a release.
“Our primary mission remains ensuring all of our students succeed in the classroom and beyond. This report demonstrates that in fulfilling our mission, FCPS provides a significant economic benefit to the community. Funding from our community provided to FCPS by our local and state partners has a positive impact that goes well beyond our classrooms.”
However, it is somewhat a case of spending money to make money.
FCPS has been caught in perennial budget battles the last several years. About half of the county’s annual budget goes to the schools. This year’s transfer was about $2 billion of a $2.7 billion budget.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors raised real estate taxes 4 cents to $1.13 per $100 of assessed value in 2016 in order to nearly fully fund the $2 billion transfer. Fairfax County residents will vote on a meals tax referendum Nov. 8. The proposed 4-percent meals tax will add about $100 million annually to the county, with 70 percent of that going to schools.
Other key findings in the report include:
Sixty-seven percent of FCPS’ payroll outlays, or $1.15 billion, are made to employees residing within Fairfax County and 51.5 percent of all contractor payments are made to vendors located in or conducting their work in Fairfax County.
FCPS will spend $1.85 billion in Fairfax County during FY 2017, 62 percent of its total budget.
FCPS’ outlays within the Fairfax County economy will support an additional 13,271 full-time, year-round equivalent jobs spanning a broad-base of businesses of which an estimated 57.2 percent or 7,587 would be located in the county and generate $417.3 million in new personal earnings to the benefit of workers residing in Fairfax County.
FCPS’ annual outlays in Fairfax County will support directly and indirectly almost 35,000 jobs in Fairfax County, accounting for 5.3 percent of the county’s total jobs for residents and non-residents in 2016 with a combined payroll (personal earnings) totaling $1.6 billion to be recycled and re-spent in support of the local economy.
The report concludes that FCPS’ economic impacts are far more broadly distributed across Fairfax County’s economy than are the economic impacts generated by federal government employment and procurement spending.
FCPS’ economic benefits are realized by a wide cross section of local-serving business establishments patronized by the more than 18,000 FCPS employees living in Fairfax County and the additional 7,587 other local jobholders whose employment depends indirectly on or is induced by the outlays of FCPS in Fairfax County.
Additionally, FCPS’ contractor outlays support a wide range of locally based businesses that provide the goods and services needed to operate and maintain the county’s public schools and FCPS’ capacity to educate the county’s workforce of the future.
See the entire report on FCPS’ website.