Report: FCPS Important Driver of Local Economy

FCPS busA 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.


GMU Report Says New Housing Needs To Keep Range Of Incomes In Mind


Multifamily housing is a growing trend, says the George Mason Center for Regional Analysis. But in order for it to continue to be successful, there needs to enough to appeal to residents at all price points.

The CRA recently issued a new report, Multifamily Housing in the Washington, DC Region: Demand and Supply Trends, which warns that although new rental housing construction has “increased in the region over the past three years, it has been increasingly high-end rental units located in particular submarkets.”

This may be food for thought for local developers who are eying Reston as a place for hundreds, even thousands, of multifamily units as Reston morphs into a transit-oriented community.

New buildings in Reston include The Avant at Reston Town Center (359 rental units), The Harrison (slated to open later this year on Reston Parkway; 362 units) and The BLVD (recently began construction at Reston Station; 450 units). There are also multifamily buildings planned for Reston Heights (498 units) , Fairway (804 units), Crescent/Lake Anne (935 units) and the Lake Anne Fellowship House site (425 units).

Changes to the Reston Master Plan, which were approved by Fairfax County Supervisors earlier this week, allow for up to 27,900 units of residential development (including existing), an increase of 14,695 from the previous plan.

Is Reston ready for that many units, especially if they come with luxury-sized rents? The newer Reston properties are commanding a high price. At the Avant, for instance, amenities such as granite counters and an on-site yoga room start at $2,157 a month for a studio apartment. A two-bedroom costs more than $2,800 a month.

The other buildings under construction are expected to have similar rents.

While a certain number of Reston’s new units will be set aside as affordable housing, the report says developers will need to be more flexible as the needs of those who seek to live in multifamily buildings change. Many middle-income residents and families who may have formerly opted for a single-family home will seek to live in multifamily housing close to a transit station and amenities, the CRA report says.

“Although much of the recent multifamily housing development in the Washington region has focused on one- and two-adult households under 35 years old that have dominated the submarkets in The District, Arlington County, and Alexandria, multifamily housing will need to change in order to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse market,” says the report.

“Multifamily housing, whether rental or owner-occupied, is no longer the housing of last resort. Increasingly, residents choose these options to be closer to jobs, shopping, restaurants, and parks; to reduce maintenance responsibilities inherent in single-family homeownership; or to allow for greater flexibility and mobility in employment. Further, for many households traditional ownership may not be accessible due to wage levels, salary instability, or lack of affordable financing.”

Other findings from the report:

* While newly developed multifamily units have mainly met the needs of individuals and households with above-average incomes, the rising rents and asking prices for these units put them out of reach of many recent college graduates and younger families. As renter incomes decline, and rents and home values increase, fewer housing options are available to middle-income and low-income households. Moreover, the growing number of college graduates moving to and working in the region will need affordable housing options such as smaller units and shared apartments.

* There will also be a growing need to preserve the existing stock of low- and moderate-income housing, especially Class B apartments to provide housing for the growing number of service and health industry workers in the region.

* Region-wide, the demand for multifamily housing will continue to rise, with approximately 66,000 households in need of units. These households will be likely to earn less than $100,000 annually and be younger than 35 years old.

* New multifamily permits peaked in 2012, meaning that new multifamily development will slow after the 19,000 units scheduled to deliver in 2014 are completed and absorbed by the market.

Read the entire GMU CRA report here.


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