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Virginia school districts

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K-12 Education in Virginia
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Education facts
State Superintendent: Patricia Wright
Number of students: 1,257,883[1]
Number of teachers: 90,832
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:13.8
Number of school districts: 221
Number of schools: 2,170
Graduation rate: 83%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $10,364[3]
See also
Virginia Department of Education
Virginia school districts
List of school districts in Virginia
School boards portal
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Education policy project
Public education in the United States
Public education in Virginia
Glossary of education terms

Virginia is home to 221 school districts, 2,270 schools and 1,257,883 K-12 students.[4]

Quick facts

State school administrators

  • State Board of Education[5]
    • Christian N. Braunlich, President
    • Winsome E. Sears, Vice President
    • Diane T. Atkinson
    • Dr. Oktay Baysal
    • Dr. Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.
    • James H. Dillard
    • Darla Edwards
    • Andrew Ko
    • Joan E. Wodiska


The following table displays the state's top 10 school districts by total student enrollment and per-pupil spending.[6][7]

Enrollment, 2011-2012 Per-pupil spending, 2008-2009
1.) Fairfax County Public Schools 1.) Arlington Public Schools
2.) Prince William County Public Schools 2.) Falls Church City Public Schools
3.) Virginia Beach City Public Schools 3.) Alexandria Public Schools
4.) Loudoun County Public Schools 4.) Surry County Public Schools
5.) Chesterfield County Public Schools 5.) Sussex County Public Schools
6.) Henrico County Public Schools 6.) Charlottesville Public Schools
7.) Chesapeake Public Schools 7.) King and Queen Public Schools
8.) Norfolk Public Schools 8.) Bath Public Schools
9.) Newport News Public Schools 9.) Fairfax County Public Schools
10.) Stafford County Public Schools 10.) Charles City Public Schools


See also: Demographic information for all students in all 50 states

The following table displays the ethnic distribution of students in Virginia as reported in the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data for 2011-2012.[8]

Demographic Information for Virginia's K-12 Public School System
Ethnicity Students State Percentage United States Percentage**
American Indian 4,132 0.33% 1.10%
Asian 75,840 6.03% 4.68%
African American 298,931 23.76% 15.68%
Hawaiian Nat./Pacific Isl. Students 1,762 0.14% 0.42%
Hispanic 149,272 11.87% 24.37%
White 673,363 53.53% 51.21%
Two or More 54,583 4.34% 2.54%
**Note: This is the percentage of all students in the United States that are reported to be of this ethnicity.

In the news

Federal waiver for No Child Left Behind requirements

In July 2014, The U.S. Department of Education granted one-year waivers from some requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act to Virginia and five other states. The Virginia Department of Education first applied for more flexibility under federal education requirements in 2012. The one-year waiver lasts through the 2014-2015 school year and requires the creation of improvement plans to reduce achievement gaps. State education officials need to develop annual objectives for reading and math test scores as well as graduation rates to comply with waiver requirements.[9]

State law

Common Core

Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, is an American education initiative that outlines quantifiable benchmarks in English and mathematics at each grade level from kindergarten through high school. As of 2014, Virginia had not adopted these standards.[10]

School board composition

Virginia school board members are generally elected by residents of the school district, although some school board members are appointed to fill vacancies until the next election for the seat is held. Virginia school board elections typically follow one of these three methods, or a mixture thereof:[11]

  • At-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, regardless of geographic location.
  • Trustee area: Only voters residing in a specific geographic area within the school district may vote on certain candidates, who must also reside in that specific geographic area.
  • Trustee area at-large: All voters residing in the school district may vote for any candidates running, but candidates must reside in specific geographic areas within the school district.

School boards can consists of five, seven or nine members. Board members typically serve four-year terms.[11]

District types

School districts in Virginia are divided into city and county districts. A city district serves students within the confines of a single city, while a county district operates schools within the boundaries of a county.[12]

Term limits

Virginia does not impose statewide term limits on school board members. However, terms limits on school board members can still be imposed on the local level.[11]

School board elections

Upcoming elections

See also: Virginia school board elections, 2014

A total of eight Virginia school districts among America's largest school districts by enrollment will hold elections in 2014 for 29 seats. Chesterfield County Public Schools held a special election on March 18, 2014, for one seat. Three districts scheduled elections for May 6, 2014, while four districts will hold elections on November 4, 2014.

Here are several quick facts about Virginia's school board elections in 2014:

The districts listed below served 272,878 K-12 students during the 2010-2011 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.[13] Click on the district names for more information on the district and its school board elections.

2014 Virginia School Board Elections
District Date Seats up for election Total board seats Student enrollment
Chesterfield County Public Schools 3/18/2014 1 5 59,233
Chesapeake Public Schools 5/6/2014 5 9 39,748
Hampton City Schools 5/6/2014 3 7 21,588
Newport News City Public Schools 5/6/2014 4 7 30,488
Arlington Public Schools 11/4/2014 1 5 21,485
Portsmouth Public Schools 11/4/2014 4 9 14,674
Suffolk Public Schools 11/4/2014 5 7 14,507
Virginia Beach City Public Schools 11/4/2014 6 11 71,185

Path to the ballot

To qualify for the ballot as a school board candidate in Virginia, a person must be:[11]

  • 18 years of age or older
  • A citizen of the United States
  • A resident of Virginia for at least one year prior to the election
  • A current resident of the school district

Each candidate must file a Certificate of Candidate Qualification and a Statement of Economic Interests to the city or county's election office.[11]

Campaign finance

State law requires candidates who receive or spend $1,000 or more in an election cycle to file campaign finance reports. A candidate who does not plan on receiving or spending $1,000 or more during an election must file a pre-election and post-election report detailing large contributions. Candidates who receive or spend more than $1,000 must file detailed pre-election and post-election reports. Reports filed electronically are submitted to the state elections board while paper reports are delivered to city or county elections officials.[11]

See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. United States Department of Education, "2012 EDFacts State Profile," accessed August 8, 2013
  5. Virginia Department of Education, "Board Members," accessed June 13, 2014
  6. National Center for Education Statistics, "ELSI Table Generator," accessed July 11, 2014
  7. Virginia Department of Education, "Table 15 of the Superintendent's Annual Report for Virginia," April 2, 2010
  8. United States Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, "Common Core of Data (CCD), State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey, 2011-2012," accessed May 7, 2014
  9. Washington Post, "Virginia, 5 other states awarded extension to ‘No Child’ waiver," July 3, 2014
  10. Common Core State Standards Initiative, "Core Standards in your State," accessed July 12, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Virginia State Board of Elections, "May 6 2014 Elections: Candidacy Requirements for City and Town Offices," accessed March 17, 2014
  12. Virginia School Boards Association, "VSBA Regions," accessed July 10, 2014
  13. National Center for Education Statistics, "Elementary/Secondary Information System," accessed March 21, 2014