Every class of seniors graduating from Anne Arundel County Public Schools adds more than $1.8 billion in value to the local economy, a study unveiled to the Board of Education today shows.

The study, done by the Business Economic and Community Outreach Network (BEACON) at Salisbury University, examined four factors: the economic and employment impact of school system operations, the economic value of degrees awarded, the impact of the school system on economic development, and the school system’s role in the reduction of public costs such as crime, health-care, and welfare. Among its other conclusions, the study also found that every dollar in operational budget spending results in total local spending of $1.36, and every dollar in capital budget spending results in $1.48 in total local spending and $1.78 in total spending in Maryland.

“In addition to the significant and widespread economic activity generated by the operations of AACPS, the benefits to the county are multiplied when also considering the impact of the educated population produced by the school system, and the added benefits of higher educational outcomes when they are attained,” the study states.

Members of each high school graduating class will earn an additional $1.4 billion over their lifetimes and generate an additional $25 million in county income taxes, according to the study. Each cohort of college graduates will earn an additional $1.95 billion and pay an additional $34.9 million in county income taxes over their lifetimes, the study found.

“Funding directed toward our school system is a solid and sound investment in the future of our county,” Board President Teresa Milio Birge said. “This report clearly and unequivocally underscores the importance of that investment, and the enormous benefit that our graduates are to our county as a whole.”

The study also found that each graduating class saves local government $345 million in public costs: $200 million in public health-care costs; $130 million in crime-related costs; and $15 million in welfare costs.

“There is absolutely no question that a quality school system contributes greatly to the quality of life in a county,” County Executive Laura Neuman said. “Our school system is one of the best in the state of Maryland, and it has a positive impact on many areas, including economic development, increases in revenues, and job creation. Our task is to continue to help our school system get even better, because it makes our county even better.”

Other findings of the study include:

  • Every school system job supports an additional 0.29 local jobs, and every $1 million in capital spending generates an additional 7.6 local jobs.
  • Each graduating class adds $149 million to local real property values.
  • Each graduating class adds $1.41 million to local real property taxes.

The survey was conducted by BEACON Founding Director Dr. Memo Diriker. The organization offers business, economic, workforce, and community development consulting and assistance services to a variety of organizations, including businesses, government agencies, and non-profit community-based organizations. In December 2013, BEACON conducted a similar economic study for the Eastern Shore of Maryland Educational Consortium, which consists of the K-12 school systems in Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.