Comparing Fayette, Coweta school systems: cost vs. value


A recent analysis correctly noted that the Coweta schools tax millage is below that of our excellent and quality Fayette County Schools even though our board recently announced a potential move to larger class sizes and other cost-saving matters.

First, it’s important to level-set our points of comparison. Coweta County has an area of nearly 440 square miles while Fayette has nearly 200 square miles. However, the gross tax digest shows that even at more than twice the area, Coweta’s gross tax digest is $10.3 billion vs. Fayette at $9.8 billion or almost just 5% less.

Once exemptions such as the senior exemption are considered, the gap grows as Coweta has a net digest base of $8.7 billion verses Fayette at $6.7 billon. The 5% difference grows to over 20%.

Next it is important to note that in Fayette, we have always prioritized smaller class size by both using more teachers than calculated using Georgia’s QBE (Quality Basic Education) formula and using parapros in younger grades.

I have previously referred to this as the “Fayette Advantage” as it is not part of the QBE formula, these are paid from “local funds.” But the value of our excellent schools is reflected in the value of our property and the success of our children.

Over the past three years, local funds (our Fayette school tax money) accounts for an average of 49.61 percent of our school funding, while Coweta taxpayers contribute 44.78 percent.

Costs, such as the “Fayette Advantage” above, are a driver in the difference. In 2022, Fayette spent $12,623 per student FTE where Coweta spent $12,176 or 3.7% less.

Coweta has nearly 12% more student FTE at almost 22,300 while Fayette is almost 20,000, which may dilute some fixed school costs, but another cost difference is the design of the schools.

In Fayette, we have chosen smaller neighborhood schools while our neighbors have chosen larger schools which require a smaller number of schools intuitively reducing some fixed costs.

In the fifteen years I have been discussing our schools in these pages, I have been an advocate for smaller classes producing the results that reflect in the values of our property.

We have seen the results first-hand with our son who started in Peachtree City Elementary and is now starting his sophomore year in college. The investment in our schools provides value to both the taxpayers in home value and our children in education. The FCBOE must protect our Fayette advantage.

Neil Sullivan

Peachtree City, Ga.


  1. I do not agree with your assessments comparing schools. I am a graduate of McIntosh attended Huddleston and Booth as well. Fayette County in particular Peachtree City doesn’t have the diversity that Coweta County has, it’s growing faster than Peachtree City therefore our classrooms are going to be bigger. My children go to Coweta County schools, my son is a senior in college as well…he has consistently been on the Deans list or the Presidents List, he graduated East Coweta with honors! So, Fayette County schools aren’t better than Coweta Schools. At times Coweta County has out scored Fayette in yearly testing. It’s time people in Peachtree City stop considering themselves “better” than Coweta County folks! I grew up in Peachtree City and felt more comfortable raising my children in Newnan vs Peachtree City! I still hear people in PTC refer to folks in Newnan as “rednecks” what makes y’all better than folks in Coweta County?!?!?! Your own city council is trying to screw the citizens of PTC every chance they get! I’m not sure if your editorial was supposed to insult the fine folks of Coweta County but, it does!