The similarity of the names often gets us to wonder that what’s actually the connection between the Fairfax City and Fairfax County. So, let’s learn how these two, the city and the county, are connected in the section below.
The city of Fairfax is an enclave surrounded by the separate political entity of Fairfax County. However, Fairfax City also contains an exclave of Fairfax County. The city of Fairfax and the area immediately surrounding the historical border of the city of Fairfax, collectively designated by Fairfax County as “Fairfax”, comprise the county seat of Fairfax County. A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or civil parish. While the city is the county seat, a small portion of the county comprising the courthouse complex, the jail and a small area nearby is itself an exclave of the county within the city. Likewise, Fairfax County’s Government Center is west of the City of Fairfax. Virginia’s largest public educational institution, George Mason University, is also located in unincorporated Fairfax County, along the city’s southern border.
Before the City of Fairfax became an independent city, it was a town in Fairfax County and the schools were part of the Fairfax County (FCPS) system. When the town moved to city status in 1961, state law required that a local school board be organized to govern the schools.
A School Services Agreement was entered into with FCPS to continue to manage and operate the schools; the City School Board and Superintendent oversee this Agreement and are responsible for the management of the school buildings owned by the City.
Thus, though, under Virginia law, the city was separated from Fairfax County yet remains the county seat. Also, the public schools in the City of Fairfax are owned by the city but administered by the Fairfax County Public Schools system under a contractual agreement with Fairfax County.