What is the difference between City of Fairfax Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS)?

Fairfax City Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools are two separate school districts with two separate school boards. Fairfax City residents are represented by the City of Fairfax School Board.

In 1962, a School Services Agreement (SSA) was entered with the two school boards. Under this agreement, FCPS is responsible for curriculum, staffing, transportation and school meals while the City of Fairfax is responsible for the management of the four city-owned school building facilities.  The City of Fairfax Schools pays an annual tuition bill to FCPS.


What schools are City of Fairfax Schools?

Fairfax High School (including Fairfax Academy for Communications and the Arts), Katherine Johnson Middle School, Providence Elementary School and Daniels Run Elementary School.


I am a city resident, why can’t I vote for FCPS School Board?

City of Fairfax residents are represented by a five-member City school board. The City of Fairfax holds elections for school board every two years. If you are a city resident, the city school board is your voice to FCPS. County residents vote for FCPS school board and city residents vote for City school board members.


What is the School Services Agreement with FCPS?
In 1962, a School Services Agreement (SSA) was entered with the City of Fairfax Schools and FCPS. Under this agreement, FCPS is responsible for curriculum, staffing, transportation and meals why the City of Fairfax is responsible for the management of the four city-owned school buildings. The City of Fairfax pays an annual tuition bill to FCPS.


Key Elements of the SSA:

  • The City of Fairfax welcomes county students so City schools can offer a wide variety of academic and extra-curricular opportunities.
  • The City Superintendent is responsible for the oversight and management of the SSA.
  • City students are educated in city schools.
  • The City School Board appoints citizen representatives to serve on FCPS advisory committees.
  • The City and County School Superintendents consult on topics such as boundary changes, school closings, selection of principals, citizen participation, special community needs, non-school activities and complaints.
  • The City is responsible for major capital improvements to school buildings.
  • Members of the City School Board collaborate with their County School Board colleagues through regular, ongoing communication, participation in regional and state School Board meetings and conferences, and an annual City/County Board meeting.
  • City students and parents are entitled to all of the services provided at any Fairfax County school.


How much is the annual tuition paid to FCPS? 

Each year, the City of Fairfax Schools pays FCPS a tuition fee based on a number of factors including the number of city students and a percentage of the total FCPS operating budget. For the FY 2024 budget the projected tuition payment to FCPS will be about $55 million.  


How much does the City Schools annually spend on Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)? What CIP projects were completed last year?

The City of Fairfax Schools manages a five-year Capital Improvement Project plan, traditionally spending between $1 million to $2 million annually on facility enhancements, minor renovations and school improvements. This past year, projects included renovating the Fairfax High School track replacing HVAC systems, adding parking spaces at Providence ES, transitioning carpet floors to tile floors at all four schools and roof repairs. Future CIP projects under consideration include stadium and field updates at FHS, HVAC replacements, paving, and updating the orchestra pit at the Fairfax HS auditorium.


How much is the City Schools annual budget? What are some school programs/activities that City School fund?

The FY2024 proposed budget is $60,600,000.  A large percentage of this money (about 85%) is dedicated to the tuition payment to Fairfax County Public Schools. The remaining funds are dedicated to school supports, debt services for bonds from the FHS/KJMS renovations, and City of Fairfax School staff.

Please see our budget page on this website


I have an issue with my child’s school, what should I do?

When parents have questions or concerns about school policies or practices, they are encouraged first to work with school staff to resolve issues. If issues cannot be resolved at the school level, parents will be referred to the Region 5 Office in Fairfax County Public Schools. The Region 5 Superintendent and staff works closely with the City Superintendent to supervise and support the four City-owned schools. 


FCPS is discussing an important issue to me and my family, how can I express my opinion?

The City of Fairfax School Board is your voice to Fairfax County Public Schools. You have two ways to reach FCPS.


Who is on the City School Board?

Our five-member board was elected in 2022.

Carolyn Pitches, Chair

Amit Hickman, Vice Chair

Stacy Hall

Sarah Kelsey

Rachel McQuillen


When are the City School Board elections?

The five at large members are elected every two years in even numbered years. The next election will be in November 2024.


Why do we have county students in city schools?

The Schools Services Agreement, which allows county students to attend city schools and city student to attend county schools (for advanced academics, special education or the IB program) is benefit to both city and county students. By welcoming county kids into our city schools, we are able to offer a number of academic, athletic and extra-curricular opportunities we would not be able to offer independently. We also know we are stronger due to the culturally rich and diverse student body, and we value all of our students attending our schools.


How can I contact the City of Fairfax School Board?

There are a number of ways for you to connect with the City School Board.

Phone: 703-293-7131

Email: [email protected]

School Board Meeting Schedule – link https://cityoffairfaxschools.org/school-board/school-board-meetings/

Follow on Twitter @FairfaxSchools

Facebook / City of Fairfax Schools

Sign up for our monthly newsletter, CloseUp https://cityoffairfaxschools.org/closeup-newsletter/

How can I use the City School facilities for a meeting or event?

Our schools are open to the community to use for meetings or gatherings. For Daniels Run ES, Providence ES and Katherine Johnson MS please visit the FCPS website


Fairfax High School has a dedicated community use liaison. Please visit the FHS website for information about using FHS facilities.


I would like to get more involved in schools, can I volunteer or donate my time/resources?

We welcome community members to get involved in our schools. If you would like to mentor or volunteer on campus, please contact the schools directly and ask about opportunities.